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Polanski stays in Switzerland until L.A. courts resolve legal issues, justice ministry says

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/.a/6a00d8341c630a53ef0120a757db52970b-800wiIn a victory for Roman Polanski, a Swiss justice official said Friday  that authorities there won't extradite the director to the United States until L.A. courts determine whether Polanski should serve time for having sex with a 13-year-old girl more than three decades ago.

The official said Polanski should remain under house arrest at his Alpine lodge until the courts in California resolve various legal issues.

Last month, a judge rejected Polanski's request to be sentenced in absentia, scuttling the director's latest bid to end his three-decade-old child sex case.

The judge hoped that such a sentencing would allow his lawyers to lay out evidence of judicial misconduct in his case and secure him a sentence of no further time behind bars. Although a state appeals panel had suggested that Polanski be sentenced in absentia as the director is facing extradition proceedings in Switzerland, Judge Peter Espinoza said he was not bound by the higher court's suggestion.

Polanski's defense quickly vowed to appeal. 

"When the question is still open, why should he be extradited?" Swiss justice official Rudolf Wyss told  Associated Press. "As long as the question is still open, our decision depends on that."

Polanski fled the U.S. just before he was set to be sentenced for having sex with the girl, contending that the original judge in the case, the late Laurence Rittenband, reneged on a promise to count the time the director spent in state prison before sentencing as his entire punishment.

Swiss officials have said Polanski faced two years in prison if sent back to L.A.

--Shelby Grad

Photo: Associated Press

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Comments () | Archives (26)

YEAH!!! Roman Polanski drinking hot cocoa eating danish in the swiss alps. Thats the life of a serious and powerful film director.

He has servered his time since his arrest in Switzerland plus the 40 days he was in Chino. I hope after a reasonable time Seitzerland release him from house arrest too.

The corrupt LA DA's office needs to finally own up to their foolishness and ineptitude in regards to this (and many other) cases. The case was settled. The publicity-hungry judge was pressured and cajoled by a member of the DAs office to reject the settlement and impose a much harsher sentence. That former DA now claims he was lying about his conversations with the judge (uh, okay...). The case is tainted. It's over. All this is just more chest-thumping political theatrics. Why do we always have idiots for DAs in Los Angeles?

Whats the big deal this guy is a pedophile and a rapist . He didn't have the courage to stand trial so he ran , another crime , international flight to avoid prosecution . What ever court misconduct he is whining about didn't come to fruition , he ran , so in reality it didn't apply . This guy has committed multiple crimes and just because it happened years ago doesn't lessen the fact of those crimes . Some would use his standing in society as an excuse to pardon , how do you draw the line , and how much of a charade do you want our legal system to be ?

This case is an embarrassment for California. They have mishandled it at every step with incompetence and corruption.

Dismiss the case and get it over with - as even the supposed victim wants.

YEAH!!! Roman Polanski drinking hot cocoa eating danish in the swiss alps. Thats the life of a serious and powerful film director. OOps you forgot coward and child rapist.

Getting away with a sex crime against a 13 year old. Isn't it good to be rich.

This is nuts. He fled the jurisdiction. He should be granted no latitude. If he hadn't done that, all of this would have been over years ago. He shouldn't be allowed to benefit from breaking the law.

In all of this, no one blames the girl's mother...who left a 13 year old girl alone with Polanski in hopes of the celebrity jackpot. IMHO she's equally as guilty as he is. Then, you have the girl...who is now being forcibly raped by the media in pursuit of the story. She has come to terms with Polanski, will not testify against him, has forgiven him, and just wants to be left alone. Whatever trauma she suffered as a girl, she's suffering 10 times over as the media and the public demand to relive all the sordid details...I say, "Have you no shame?"
In Polanski's defense, 1) this happened shortly after his wife (Sharon Tate) was murdered by the Manson clan, and 2) He's European...and they have a different level of tolerance for older/younger sex. We may not like it, it may not be American...but just let it go already...and 3) They made a deal, then the Judge decided to change the deal...that's it. Judicial misconduct right there, and he was 100% right to flee. If the Judge was going to sentence him to more time, he should have done it BEFORE the plea bargain. Then everybody would know where everybody stood and Polanski could have gone to trial or not. The way this has played, it's a waste of taxpayer money Not justice.

"If you are under 13 years of age you may read this message board, but you may not participate."

.... if you are exactly 13 years of age, Roman Polanski might drug and rape you.

The man pleads down sodomy and rape with a 13-year-old after drugging her and people think he should be let loose on the streets of America simply because he is a great creative mind/film director. He is a sexual predator and rapist first and foremost. As such he should never have been allowed to plea down with reduced sentence. Finally, flee-ing to avoid a potentially similar fate in prison for himself hardly makes him a great anything. A rapist is a rapist and the body of evidence is that for that here is no real cure or rehabilitation. Lock him up in house arrest forever in Switzerland and keep America's children safe.

He drugged and then had sex with a 13 year old child. There was nothing conscentual about this!
Lets just pick our battles and he is not one of them.

He is more innocent than the "Lolita" he had sex with, justice is kinda funny in this country where at 18 you cannot legally have a beer, but you can enlist and go kill people in Irak

To the poster named "Maurice Klezmer", please... Please... PLEASE remember to take your meds first thing in the morning. Yes, before you go online and rant against the LA Times. These comment blogs (courtesy of the LA Times) are a marvelous community forum in which no one should be looked down upon, but everyone should be looked up to. In Jesus' name, brother... take those meds! Amen.

Polanski needs to face the court on U.S. soil. Right now he is hiding behind the skirts of the Swiss and what a disappointment they are. Polanski raped a female child. He drugged this child to have sex and sodomize her. He needs to stand up and face a judge for sentencing, even if he gets off for time served. Polanski is a pedophile. Period. He can never give back to his victim what he took. He is low life 100%. Time to be a man, Polanski.

The case is tainted? You mean by Polanski bribing the witness with hundreds of thousands of dollars before the case was settled? Steeve Cooley needs to get on the record and charge Polanski with his illegal flight, and make it clear there are crimes that have not yet been prosecuted or adjudicated.

DA Steve Cooley wants to yank Polanski back to America to await the court's decision just to create a spectacle for HIMSELF as he runs as a Republican candidate for state Attorney General.

After 30 years and with Polanski having lived openly in Switzerland in the same house he's in now, Cooley decided NOW to drag back the old "profligate dwarf" as Polanski referred to himself, to make a show trial of "being tough with immoral Hollywood elites."

Polanski did get too little time in jail before he fled, but the DA's office was corrupt then and wanted a show trial for the DA's publicity and is behaving NOW again in a way where Cooley's political ambition is clearly at stake.
The amount of money WE taxpayers are spending on this shameless grandstanding for his political ego while REAL RAPISTS ARE ON OUR STREETS IN LA NOW POSING A DANGER, THEIR DNA KITS HAVE GONE UNTESTED BY BOTH HIM AND SHERIFF LEE BACA WHO CLAIMED 'WE DIDN'T HAVE MONEY' when each kit at $1000 could get a criminal off our streets. SHAMEFUL.

Once again, this is a terrible misjudgment by the Swiss government and it sends a horrible message to women around the world that money and celebratory status can exonerate you from rape. Shame on you Johnny Depp; and Duane "Dog" Chapman if you get a chance to read this blog, go redeem yourself and get Roman Polanski and bring him to the US for prosecution.

This is the only time Polanski got caught. How many other times did he get away with it?

I wish you people who are trying to destroy one of Hollywood's beloved icons, would get a life. Get over it. Whatever happened nearly 40 years ago is history. The so-called victim has been more than compensated for what was a basically a mostly consensual and perhaps foolishly romantic social indiscretion.

This sort of thing goes on all the time in France where they don't make such a fuss about it.

Mr. Polansky has paid his debt to this woman, and he's more than paid his debt to society.

As many other readers are saying, why isn't the DA going after the mother?
Why isn't the DA using the money to process rape kits instead of wasting money on persecuting a Hollywood legend who survived extermination by Hilter in the Holocaust, and who narrowly escaped becoming a victim with his wife Sharon Tate?

It is time to move on and allow Mr. Polansky the respect and courtesy that he deserves.

The case is tainted? You mean by Polanski bribing the witness with hundreds of thousands of dollars before the case was settled?

RobertinElMonte, the girl's parents filed a civil suit against Polanski on behalf of their daughter. Based on his admitted guilt Polanski settled the suit. Settling the civil suit was part of the plea bargain. Polanski lived up to part of the agreement but, the court/judge failed to live up to his part of the agreement. Polanski has served his time. It is time to set him free.

Now the ball is in the state Court's hands. Lets see how long it takes to fumble it.

Thank goodness we live in such a wonderful country, where our criminal justice system has the leisure to pursue cases like this.

The judge and the D.A. in this case are accused of unethical conduct which has tainted this case. Most readers don't know this or don't understand this. If these charges are proved, then Polanski needs to be free. Why? Because only in this way can the fair administration of justice be maintained.

Here is a good example of this point: Just a few weeks ago, a federal judge in Los Angeles dismissed a case against Henry Nicholas. Broadcom co-founder and former CEO Henry Nicholas was indicted on charges of illegal stock-option backdating, which resulted in the largest financial restatement (a write down of $2.2bn in profits) in US history — and that's the boring part. A second indictment charged Nicholas with maintaining and distributing drugs from his various homes, supplying hired prostitutes with controlled substances, spiking customer and employee drinks with ecstasy, and other surprising drug-related charges.
One incident alleges Nicholas and others smoked so much marijuana during a flight on his private plane between Orange County and Las Vegas that the pilot had to put on an oxygen mask.

The Judge in the Nicholas case dismissed the charges because the prosecutor was intimidating witnesses, thereby tainting the whole case.

By the same token, in the Polanski case, the justice system itself is on trial. Get the facts before the lynch mob shouts for blood.

This statutory rape case has been inflated completely out of proportion. No one is saying that Polanski did not commit a crime by having sex with a very young, sexually active teen, but he is not a predator or a pedophile, and it was not forcible rape. Furthermore, as attested by all the main players in the case, including the main prosecutor, the victim, and her attorney, the judge made a back-door deal where Polanski's Chino stay was going to be the unofficial jail sentence. So when the director was released early (and with yet another medical recommendation that he be given probation), the judge threatened to put him back for another 50 years or more. Due to this judicial misconduct and because he may well have been killed in prison because the media incorrectly painted him as a celebrity pedophile, Polanski fled. Afterwards, the judge was removed from the case at the motion from both the defense AND the prosecution. Most people who know Polanski believe that he's not the sort of person who would intentionally harm anyone and that it is high time that he be forgiven. It should be clear to all that he does not pose any sort of threat. The victim, who has been already compensated by Polanski, has in recent years said that what happened wasn't forcible rape, and wants this matter dropped. LA courts should swallow their pointless pride and just fine him. At a time when we are considering releasing actual dangerous criminals from CA jails because of financial problems, it seems that this pursuit of Polanski is seriously misguided.

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