A Polish court ruled that Roman Polanski shouldn’t be extradited to the U.S., where a humiliated Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office continues to demand he return to the U.S., a nation he fled after am arrogant judge breached an agreement he had made with that same D.A.’s office.
Polanski had pled guilty to a chrge of statutory rape for the a 1977 drug-and-alcohol fueled encounter with a 13-year-old photographic model in the home of actor Jack Nicholson.
Then-prosecutor Roger Gunson, defense attorney Douglas Dalton, attorney Lawrence Silver representing the young woman, and Judge Lawrence Rittenband all agreed that Polanski would undergo a psychiatric at the state prison in Chino, and then be released from custody.
As we have written previously, the judge had violated judicial canons by asking friends and at least one reporter [your humble blogger] what to do with the case. While we declined to provide advice, others did, and the judge reneged on the plea bargain and demanded Polanski spend more time behind bars, at which point the director fled.
Rittenband’s about-face angered all the lawyers involved, and led authorities first in Switzerland and later Poland to seize the director, moves rejected by Swiss justice department in the first instance and a Polish court in the second after examination of the facts.
With that by way of preface, more on the Polish decision, via the Guardian:
The film-maker Roman Polanski has won the latest round of his battle to avoid extradition to the United States over a 1977 child sex abuse conviction, after a Polish court rejected a US application.
Judge Dariusz Mazur, at Kraków district court, said he accepted claims from Polanski’s lawyers that the application was in breach of the European convention on human rights because Polanski has admitted guilt and served a prison sentence for the offence. The case is open to appeal.
Polanski was not in court to hear the decision, but later said he was “very happy” and could “breathe now with relief”. Asked at a press conference whether he thought his battle to avoid extradition was over, he said: “I don’t know. I am tired. It takes so much time. I have lost so much time. At my age a year is a long time.”
He said he had no hard feelings against the United States. “This is issue is just about one court: Court 100 in Los Angeles. You can’t blame a whole country for one court.”
NBC News reported on the reaction of the woman at the center of the case:
“I believe they did the right thing and made the right decision given all the facts,” she told NBC News in an exclusive interview. “Since I’m well aware of how long this has been going on, I’m very pleased and happy.”
Geimer, 52, said that’s partially for “selfish” reasons — the media attention around each twist and turn of the nearly 40-year saga has been horrible for her and her family. “Everyone wants to use the most sensational words they can,” she explained in a phone interview. “It’s unpleasant to be talked about in those terms.”
As for Polanski, Geimer said:
“I’m sure he’s a nice man and I know he has a family and I think he deserves closure and to be allowed to put this behind him,” Geimer said. “He said he did it, he pled guilty, he went to jail. I don’t know what people want from him.”
Sadly, the Polish case may not be over, as the Los Angeles Times reported:
However, the ruling can be appealed, and the district attorney’s office said Friday it would continue to seek his return to Los Angeles. “Obviously, I’m disappointed, but we’ll keep pushing,” said Dist. Atty. Jackie Lacey.
If Friday’s decision is appealed, the further hearings would take place in a new political environment in Poland that could be detrimental to Polanski’s case. The conservative Law and Justice party just won power after an election campaign in which its leader openly called for Polanski to be extradited, to show there was no favoritism under the law for the rich and famous.