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Sarkozy criticizes arrest of Roman Polanski

The arrest of Roman Polanski was "not a good administration of justice," French President Nicolas Sarkozy said.

Sarkozy is the latest -- and most senior -- French official to raise questions about the case against Polanski, who was taken into custody in Zurich, Switzerland, earlier this month for extradition to Los Angeles. Polanski fled L.A. three decades ago to avoid sentencing after pleading guilty in the sexual assault of a 13-year-old girl.

In an interview with Le Figaro, Sarkozy noted Polanski's age.

"I understand that people are shocked by the gravity of the accusations against Roman Polanski," he told the paper. "But I add that it is not a good administration of justice to do this 32 years after the facts when the person concerned is today 76 years old."

Attorneys for Polanski are lobbying U.S. officials not to extradite him.

A team of American attorneys for Polanski met with a deputy assistant attorney general and other Justice Department officials Oct. 2 and presented them with arguments against returning the director to the U.S. to face sentencing, according to a letter included in an appellate court filing.

His supporters have questioned the timing of the arrest, noting that Polanski has been to Switzerland many times and even has a chalet at a Swiss resort.

But Swiss Justice Minister Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf insisted that authorities never knew Polanski traveled to Switzerland until L.A. prosecutors informed them that the director planned to attend the festival.

--Shelby Grad

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Comments () | Archives (37)

32 years of good administration of injustice by the french...

According to Sarkozy, "...I add that it is not a good administration of justice to do this 32 years after the facts when the person concerned is today 76 years old."

I find it ironic that the French are still trying to capture Nazi's who are mostly in their 80's and 90's today for crims that were committed over 60 years ago.

We keep hearing the complaint that you can’t arrest someone for a crime that occurred 30 years ago. It’s not right to arrest someone so late in life. To that I ask, whose fault is that? Who fled the country and eluded taking personal responsibility for his crime? Justice delayed is justice denied. It is the rape victim and law abiding citizens of the U.S. who have been denied justice. Polanski did the delaying. Apparently, becoming a fugitive is an acceptable way to attain forgiveness in the eyes of many. Let’s see how fervently you hold to that opinion when YOUR thirteen year old daughter is raped by a 43 year old man.

"I understand that people are shocked by the gravity of the accusations against Roman Polanski"

What is seems everyone is forgetting is that this isn't about accusations. He plead guilty to charges, and fled before sentencing. He's not being accused of anything, he was already convicted.

Would Sarkozy like Obama to start criticizing the French justice system? He needs to shut his trap and stop defending the pedophile.

So Sarkozy is suggesting that criminals, as long as they evade punishment until old age, should be left alone?

So Sarkozy is suggesting that criminals, as long as they evade punishment until old age, should be left alone?

I'm Fench and GOD! I don't agree with the President of my country. He is speaking in such bad faith. Unbelievable. Despicable. Unworthy of a leader.
He has NO sens of justice whatsoever. He is absolutely unworthy of being the French's President. He is a fraud and a shame. When you represent authority: you must defend it. The only things he can defend are his own little privileges and narrow views. His wife is unbearable as well, she's behind protecting Polanski. Why isn't she protecting people really suffering from injustices? And then she plays being the new Lady Diana, with her semi-fake charity programs.

American justice is doing THEIR job. Flying the country was Polanski's responsibility, obviously not the local authorities', so be it: he has to face charges 30 years later!!!

I dislike Sarkozy so much. Please, don't thing all French are such morons.

Plus I suspect Sarkozy te be DEAD-JEALOUS of Obama, who, he, has class, and does (Sarkozy) everything he can (yes he can...) to go the opposite way:
to work against Obama's politicies etc... He just wants to discredit the American system. It goes well beyond the Polanski case.
Mental age: not even 2yo. Let's kick him out.

What I find shocking is that people believe that because the Polanski's victim does not what Polanski in jail, then we should let him go.

Apparently the victims should be able to set the punishment. Let's try this for awhile. My guess is there would be very few convicted rapists still in full position of the tools of their trade.

Put it another way. If the victim in Polanski's case wanted to put him in jail for life instead of set him free, would that be okay?

There is no expiration date in administering justice to a crime, even if it was committed 32 years ago. Although I respect Polanski as a great artist and director, it does not give him any special privileges to evade the law. He deserves a fair trial and to be convicted as any violator of the justice system should. Sarkozy's statement is ridiculous and biased based on the admirations of Polanski by the French people.

I'm absolutely disgusted with ANYONE who thinks that a time frame should be placed on R.P. He plead guilty then fled the country like a coward to avoid paying for his crime AND IT IS A CRIME!

Seriously, anyone who thinks he should not have to pay for his crimes needs to look themselves in the mirror and get a major reality check. I'd like to hear what all of his supporters would say if it was their child who at 13 was raped and drugged?

I don't give a crap how long after a crime has been comitted. Just because a criminal is lucky enough to escape or hide does not give them the right to be free. Should we give up looking for Bin Laden cause years have gone by? I think not!!!

I believe the French President is right. I found the right words. It is not a good administration of justice. Oh please, the victim wants him freed. She received $500,000. Leave this out of the courts.

I think President Nicolas Sarkozy was very diplomatic when he said that the arrest of Roman Polanski was not a good administration of justice. He could have said alot more...

This article also says "His [Polanski's] supporters have questioned the timing of the arrest, noting Polanski has been to Switzerland many times and even has a chalet at a Swiss resort."

Yes it is very strange that Roman Polanski's arrest occurred on Sept 26th 2009- only two days after Susan Atkins the murderer of Roman Polanski's American family, died in a California prison.

It is also a pity that the media is not educating the current general public on this historical matter.

Susan Atkins was a California teenage girl who in 1969 murdered Roman Polanski's American wife Sharon Tate and his unborn child in a gruesome manner.

In the summer of 1969, Susan Atkins stabbed Roman Polanksi's wife, pregnant actress Sharon Tate 16 times. There was no compassion, no mercy from the California teenage girl Susan Atkins towards Polanski's American family.

Polanski was in Europe filming otherwise he might have been murdered too.

After killing Polanski's wife Sharon Tate, prosecutors said Susan Atkins tasted the actress' blood and used it to scrawl “PIG” on her and Roman Polanski's front door. The whole world heard about this and was horrified in 1969.

Is it possible that the Los Angeles Prosecutors waited until Susan Atkins (the murderer of Roman Polanski's American wife and unborn child ) was dead before actively pursuing Roman Polanski? Or is the fact that she died two days before Polanski was arrested in Switzerland coincidental? After all the Swiss did not act until the Los Angeles authorities acted.

If Los Angeles had managed to arrest Polanski when his wife's and unborn child's murderer was still alive, then there would have been even more uproar in arresting Roman Polanski for his later alleged faux pas with an underage girl, than there is now.

Also was it calculated that with the murderer of Polanski's American wife and child dead and no longer VISIBLE - that the Los Angeles authorities and the press and other media can ignore this horrendous event was perpetrated in Los Angeles against Roman Polanski and his American family. Or that this event did not scar and traumatize Roman Polanski ever since the Summer of 1969.

Compassion is not something that the Los Angeles Authorities have extended in this case so far. It is not compassion to be given because he is a film maker. It is compassion because of what he has lived through in his life, with multiple murders of his family, first by the Nazis, then by the "Manson "family" and yet somehow he managed to carry on, not give up, and continue to be very successful.

Shouldn't there be some admiration given to Roman Polanski's trait to carry on and be successful regardless of what he has been through. Others would have given up along time ago.

When are they going to give this 76 year old European man, who is not a repeat offender, a married man with kids of his own, some peace and a break?

don't make false comparisons ...

lets not make false comparisons ...

I live in Paris. The French for whom Sarkozi has so little respect are dusting off the Guillotine.


France protected Polanski from extradition to the US for 30 years and is now complaining that the justice is delayed?

Has Sarko gone totally mad?

Sarkozy joins Harvey Weinstein and Debra Winger as this years winners of the Nobel Prize for What A Moron. The LA District Attorney and the US Justice Department need to get this criminal back to California, where he can be tried for his crime of fleeing justice for 32 years and, if there really is any justice, a full trial on all of the counts of the original indictment.

This is the most silly thing I have ever heard of! If we were going to extradite, it should have been 32 years ago. This is a waste of taxpayers money! This isn't good administration policy! I am not french, have never been to france, but their is a huge difference between capturing nazi's and what this is about!

Shelby, pardon me but you made a mistake in your comments. At the end of your sentence ...thirteen year old daughter is raped by a 43 year old man...instead of using the word MAN, you should have used the word MONSTER. HOLLYWOOD...there are centers at various hospitals throughout the Los Angeles area where rape victims are brought after they are tortured by monsters. Volunteer some of your precious time HOLLYWOOD and learn the real story from Victims of what rape is really about. Pathetic support for a monster, HOLLYWOOD, absolutely pathetic.

Polanski isn't being arrested, he plead guilty and was convicted. There is no statute of limitations on a conviction. He needs to be extradited as soon as possible and sent to prison. Otherwise, why have a justice system? Would't you want someone to go to jail if they had sex with your THIRTEEN year old daughter, sister, niece, or granddaughter?

What Kind of Administration of Justice?????

Polanski served 42 days in Chino, probation was recommended then the judge let him go to make a movie in Europe, and no sentence was given by Judge Rittenband???.

And regarding Prosecutor David Wells who was the original prosecutor in the Roman Polanski case in 1977…

Since Roman Polanski’s arrest in Oct 2009, BUT NOT BEFORE, David Wells is denying that he influenced Roman Polanski's 1977 judge, Laurence J. Rittenband by advising him to put Roman Polanski in prison for psychiatric review which Polanski could not appeal, which Wells indicated when he appeared in the 2006 movie Polanski - Wanted and Desired.

Former Los Angeles prosecutor David Wells's justification to be dishonest revealed ONLYAFTER POLANSKI WAS ARRESTED was that Wells was informed by the film’s makers that the documentary was only going to air IN FRANCE.

However David Wells’s (post Polanski arrest) justification to be dishonest in the movie Polanski Wanted and Desired, does not pass muster since prior to Polanski’s arrest, David Wells also gave the identical story to the New York Times over the telephone from his home in July 2008, and THE NEW YORK TIMES IS NOT BASED IN FRANCE.

so he is 76 he RAPPED a 16 year old girl Included a "back door assult"
Do you think if his name was willie , a black in south centeral, would he be given the same forgiveness

Wait, wasn't is France specifically that sheltered Polanski all those years? Is he saying the administration of justice would have been better if France extradited him decades ago?

What kind of Justice Minister Swiiss have? She doen't know what going on in country, she doesn't read a newspapers?

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