Southern California -- this just in

« Previous Post | L.A. NOW Home | Next Post »

Roman Polanski faces 2 years in prison if returned to L.A., Swiss officials say

Swiss authorities said that director Roman Polanski could spend up to two years in prison if he was extradited back to the United States for sentencing in a sexual assault case.

Officials said in a statement earlier this morning that U.S. officials formally asked Swiss officials to extradite the famed director, 76, to Los Angeles, where he sexually assaulted a 13-year-old girl more than 30 years ago. Polanski fled to Europe just before sentencing for that crime.

Los Angeles County prosecutors have refused to say what kind of sentence they would seek for Polanski if he returns to Los Angeles, and they could not immediately be reached for comment today.

Last month, prosecutors said the proceedings should pick up exactly where they left off in 1978 -- with a judge sentencing Polanski for a statutory rape charge. "He will appear before the court and the court will decide what his sentence is," said Sandi Gibbons, a spokeswoman for the district attorney's office, told The Times in late September, after Polanski was arrested in Zurich.

Legal experts, however, said Polanski has options beyond begging for leniency. There are a number of legal maneuvers, such as withdrawing his guilty plea, that could result in the case being dropped entirely or in a sentence of no prison time.

Polanski's attorney have said he will fight extradition from Zurich.

--Shelby Grad

More breaking news in L.A. Now:

Uncertainty over whether Richard Ramirez would face trial in new slaying cases

L.A. Police Commission conceals the identities of 2 outside candidates applying to be next LAPD chief

Two California soldiers killed by bombs in Afghanistan

'Night Stalker' named as suspect in girl's 1984 slaying [Updated]

PR firm with ties to governor won’t bid on rail contract

Comments () | Archives (50)

A slight edit to the lead sentence of the story . .

Swiss authorities said that director Roman Polanski could spend up to two years in prison if he was extradited back to the United States for sentencing in a sexual assault case where he drugged, raped, and sodomized a young 13 year old girl.

You fail to mention that because he fled his plea agreement becomes null and void and he will be faced with all charges or counts again.

You fail to mention that because he fled his original plea agreement becomes null and void and he faces all original counts or charges.

Why would the D.A. let it be know that Polanski will face two years in prison before Polanski is back at U.S.? With Polanski indicated that he might be willing to come back earlier now with the two years in prison thing he will fight the extradition to the bitter end.

It's hard to withdraw a knowing guilty plea, and the transcript shows Polanski pleaded guilty knowingly. If he did succeed in withdrawing the plea, and the DA decided to try him, the DA still has plenty of solid evidence, including admissible, sworn testimony from the victim. A trial would be very embarrassing to Polanski; a lot of facts that are now semi-buried would be made public.

Correction: That was the deal under his plea agreement, however when he ran away his plea deal was vacated and is not likely to be offered again. If/When he returns he will face 1 count of sex with a 13 year old, as well as some counts of failure to appear. The catch is, he can only face penalties as they were back in 1977 MINUS the 42 days he served back in 1977. It will then be up to the DA on *IF* he chooses to count Polansky's time in swiss jail towards his sentence. Trust me when I tell you that he won't, he's up for re-election and Polanski is not well liked amongst the common folk.

I hope he gets here and then let the Courts do their work. Bubba is anxiously waitng for a new mate. Roman wouldn't like the role of wife but what can he do?

2 years????? What an insult to the American public as well as the girl whom he raped.

Two years??? That's it? He has sex with an underage girl then flees the country and all he may get is two years?

Anyone else would get at least twenty -- or more.

The real criminal here is the Los Angeles DAs office and the CA justice system. Polanksi already admitted to the crime and went to jail for 45 days for a court-ordered psychiatric evaluation which rendered him as NOT a sexual predator. He had entered into a plea agreement that would have freed him based on those exact evaluation results as time served (the 45 days). The unethical judge, a publicity seeking hypocrite ahole, reneged on the plea deal at which time Mr. Polanksi fled. This was a despicable act on the judge's part. Furthermore, the young ladies mother admitted to having an ulterior motive - a potential part in one of Mr. Polanksi's movies - and put her daughter up to it (what normal parent would allow a 13 girl year to venture into a hot tub with older men using drugs?) yet she was never charged. She'd be in jail for the same action today. The victim herself has publicly requested the charges be dropped and if the plea bargain is now void and the LA DA wants to refile charges, they will need the testimony of the victim who may not testify. Given the scope of other, more serious criminals, running amok in Los Angesles, its time for the stubborn (and politically motivated) DA to let go of the 30 year old bone they've been vindictively clenching and start paying attention to the current affairs that affect each and every one us us. Except for the DAs office. things change - Mr. Polanski has changed, the victim has forgiven him, and that's the end of that. The LA DA needs to stop being a puritanical hypocrite and acting like a 5 year old having a temper tantrum.

I say that once he gets back, the district attorney should takes he's time to figure out how to proceed, and since this guy ran already, while they are deciding, he will definitely be given no bail so he can waste away in jail while a decision is made. If fact, the Swiss should also take their time extraditing him too!

Who cares if a rapist, pedophile, and sex predator spends a whole lot of time in different jails before a decision is made. Stretch out the legal time allowed for this animal! An example must be made of him for doing what he did, and then running...............

up to two years in jail would include the 42 days he spent in jail back in the 70s, plus the time in the Swiss jail, time off for good behavior and early release due to over crowding.

What the ???? Treating a sexual assault so leniently!
you get 2 years for a class A misdemeanor.

He should be locked in for 20.

please let them throw him in genpop where everybody will know he's a childrapist. he needs a taste of his own medicine badly.

How is it NOT rape when someone drugs another and proceeds to sodomize them when the other keeps stating no?

Only 2 years for what he did???

I bet that if someone had done the exact same thing to his daughter, he'd be screaming for that person to receive the death penalty.

It's just a fact of life that people like Polanski feel that there are two types of people. Those that are like him that have fame, money, and power, and the rest of the world that they can use and abuse then discard. I'm sure that that's why Scorsese feels that Polanski shouldn't be punished. There are real human beings like he and Polanski, then there are disposable goods like Polanski's victim and the rest of us.

Dropping his plea agreement isnt possible at this time. He has to be sentenced and then he can file an appeal with the courts. In this appeal, if the courts wished to drop his plea agreement, then it would go back to the 6 original indictments that was handed down by the GrandJury in this case. Those charges carry the possiblity of Life in prison.

But the process for appeals and all that cant take place till he is back on USA soil.

Thanks Swiss :)

Child rapers should be executed, it just doesn't seem morally right to me. Just because he is famous doesn't mean he should be allowed to rape children. If he got caught doing it once that means he's probably done it a hundred times.

Part of Polanski's "fame" is his fleeing.

Polanski would be a fool to withdraw his original plea because then he would be charged with the original crimes he committed! Those charges include rape and sodomy of a minor, contributing to the delinquency of a minor, and illegal imprisonment. It's about time he finally paid for his immoral behavior. And for those who seem to think he is being persecuted and should not be held accountable because he is rich and famous, they should think about how different they would feel about him had it been their teenage daughter!


I don't think the DA has jurisdiction over whether to count Swiss jail time; moreover, the Interpol arrest warrant was activated by the DA's office per their request to the Swiss authorities. It would be hard to imagine, insofar as the Swiss acted upon the DA's request pursuant to an Swiss/USA extradition treaty, that the time in Swiss jail is not countable.

As a matter of fact, such details are explicitly governed by the extradition treaty.

Sexual intercourse by a 'grown man' with a 13 y/o girl is rape. It is never consensual. As far as I'm concerned, if any country/state gives any man who does that only two years in lock up, the 'authorities' who do that deserve the same time in the pokey that the man deserves, which is at least 7 to 10 years as far as I'm concerned.

my, my, my, mr. polanski sure isn't fairing too well with all this "legal nonsense", is he? at least that's what he called being on the run in 1980. {oct. 7th, l.a. times}

i'm sorry that prison was a hard and heavy thought for him to have to contemplate all those many years ago, but there are laws.....yes even for him.

if the d.a. in l.a. sees fit to bring him to justice even 30 years later for the crime he plead guilty to - i think the justice system is doing so for a very good reason. not because this is all " legal nonsense". polanski {on this matter} always sounds like he did no wrong and -if i did...so what. talk about feeling like your above the law.

his supporters have a black eye now, and i don't feel sorry for them.

The Los Angeles District Attorney may face it's greatist fiasco since the Mc Martin Pre School abomination.
The District Attorney may wind up with as much egg on it's face as when OJ Simpson was released.

I really don't care about the fate of Polanski, I do care about grandstanding and overreach by the Office of The Los Angeles District Attorney. If it hadn't taken the Federal Governent to deal with the Ramparts Scandal I might have more faith.

Roman Polanski has paid the victim and the victim has forgiven Roman Polanski. I consider the need to extradite Roman Polanski back to L.A. for a continuation of an old case which the victim has forgiven is a waste of taxpayer money. The need to pursue this man, Polanski, seems to be rooted in an antipathy for the movie industry in general.

I wonder if Polanski is kicking himself now for fleeing the US. All of this would be behind him now if he'd just done his time in the 1970s.

1 2 | »


Recommended on Facebook


In Case You Missed It...


About L.A. Now
L.A. Now is the Los Angeles Times’ breaking news section for Southern California. It is produced by more than 80 reporters and editors in The Times’ Metro section, reporting from the paper’s downtown Los Angeles headquarters as well as bureaus in Costa Mesa, Long Beach, San Diego, San Francisco, Sacramento, Riverside, Ventura and West Los Angeles.
Have a story tip for L.A. Now?
Please send to newstips@latimes.com
Can I call someone with news?
Yes. The city desk number is (213) 237-7847.


Get Alerts on Your Mobile Phone

Sign me up for the following lists: