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Roman Polanski: L.A. County district attorney 'surprised and disappointed' by Swiss action


Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. Steve Cooley told The Times on Monday that he was "genuinely surprised and disappointed" that Swiss authorities decided not to extradite Roman Polanski to the U.S. to face sentencing for having sex with a teenage girl three decades ago.

Cooley, who led the effort to extradite Polanski years after he fled the U.S. to avoid jail time, said he would have more to say on the matter later Monday. It's unclear what legal options L.A. prosecutors now have in their attempt to bring the famed director back to L.A.

"Mr. Polanski is still convicted of serious child sex charges," Cooley said.

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/.a/6a00d8341c630a53ef0120a757db52970b-800wiThe Swiss Federal Department of Justice and Police said a flaw in the U.S. extradition request could not be ruled out and that Polanski, who maintains a vacation home in Switzerland, could reliably expect not to be arrested and deported since the U.S. knew of his frequent presence there over the last few years but never acted on it.

Polanski, 76, has already been released from house arrest, the justice department said.

The director has been in Swiss custody since last September, when police in Zurich arrested him on his arrival in the city to accept a lifetime achievement award at a film festival. The arrest was made at the request of authorities in Los Angeles.

The U.S. lodged a formal extradition request at the end of October. Legal experts said that, by law, Swiss justice officials were obliged to rule on the request only on technical and administrative grounds, examining it to see that all proper procedures were followed, rather than on the actual merits of the case against Polanski.

In its decision Monday, the Swiss justice department said it could not exclude the possibility that the extradition request was "undermined by a serious fault," because the U.S. had failed to turn over certain documents requested by the Swiss with regard to the case.

Specifically, the Swiss wanted to determine whether the 42 days Polanski already served in a Los Angeles jail would have been considered sufficient time served for having sex with a minor.

Also, Swiss authorities said that, until 2009, the U.S. had not filed any extradition request against Polanski "for years," even though U.S. officials knew he had bought a house in Switzerland in 2006 and was a regular visitor there. That gave the director a reasonable expectation that he was not under threat of arrest and deportation from Switzerland.

-- Richard Winton and Henry Chu

Photos: L.A. Times file

Comments () | Archives (29)

The good ol U.S. of A. assumes that all other countries will do what they say, just because they say it. http://bit.ly/aJocm2 Polanski going to Switzerland was not a mistake.

The L.A District attorney should not be surprised at all. Polanski pleaded guilty and as a deal to get him to plead guilty, he would be sentenced to 90 days in a psych facility. The judge, on his own, decided not to honor the deal.

If he were sent to jail , he would not have served the 45 days he did serve and he would have been a free man.

The courts wanted it both ways. They wanted to expedite the system (Avoid a trial and putting the child through the process) but when it didn't work out they way they wanted, they unilaterally decided to change the deal. It blew up in their face and now the L.A. Court system is not trusted in Europe. Good luck trying to extradite anyone else from Europe.

Does this mean hopefully that someone will molest Steve Cooley forthwith?

Yes - well - I see from other news reports that the Swiss did consider accepts of the case, such as the "time served" in the mental facility and the idea (a good one too) that Polanski did not expect to be detained for deportation. He bought a house in Switzerland and had lots of friends there.

This points to Steve Cooley and the likelihood that Polanski was the "big fish" for which he intended to pad his political career. Still, American prosecutors, being the political animals that they area (remember Mike Nifong?), So, this Cooley character is probably not done going after Polanski. Polanski needs to realize that many European governments have a "please America first" mentality, so he needs to watch his travels. I believe the Swiss see this - and took action against it - good for them!

It is about time that especially European government check into the aspects of cases when extradition requests come from the United States. A land-mark decision out of the European Court of Human Rights the other day when it forbid the UK government from extradition of four "terrorist suspects" back to the US on the likelihood they would spend the rest of their lives in solidarity confinement- a violation of Article 3 the European Convention of Human Rights. The rest of the international community know solidarity confinement to be damaging to mental health and most regard the practice as a form of torture.

It's good that American criminal justice system gets this kind of rebuke from the international communities. We seriously need international interventions like this in American criminal (in)justice system- and its good to see them coming!

At least Switzerland has the good sense to quit trying to beat this dead horse. Only the lawyers still trying to profit are continuing to push this. Tremendous waste of Taxpayer dollars. Irresponsibility at it's peak!

and in other news:

If you're stinking rich, you can get away with anything!

Why did the Swiss even arrest this guy last year only to have him freed today? Hogwash!

Polanski is a pervert.Sex with a 13 year old.l realize the lady is now 43 and did forgive him.What about the fact that he jumped bail.Looks like he bought his freedom by forfitting his bail.Stay where you are and never return to the USA.

I hope that Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. Steve Cooley helps with the US Federal Government lawsuit against the State of Arizona

If this guy was a minority or latino... he would have been jailed and put away for 25 years! The fact that this is a rich white man, along with the fact that Hollywood and Swiss gov't have his back... he gets off with no jail time! This is BULLSH_T!!!!!

The USA thought that the Swiss didn't support child rape, but I guess we know now that they do. Polanski is clearly representative of the moral standards that represent Europe's elite and by that same link, the citizens who do nothing to denounce them.

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

...Yeah, but can you have consensual sex with Roman Polanski?

Seriously, they're still trying to extradite him? Let it go already.... As heinous as his crime is/was, it's now, unfortunately, in the past. Stop wasting money that the county/state doesn't have. Even the victim has said not to pursue this any longer.

What does that comment mean? It wasn't the good ol USA requesting he be extrdited to face the sentence he deserves for a crime, Paedophilia, he plead guilty to. It was the city of Los Angeles.
Anyway just goes to show if you groom the whole of society to think that sex with youngsters is OK then you get decisions like this.

No child right up to and often beyond the age of 18 is mature and aware enough to choose to have sex with an adult man. A thirteen year old who was barely into puberty shouldn't even raise an eybrow when the man is charged yet in Europe he has defenders. Would he allow a thirty year old man to rape his daughters and say it was natural or normal? I think not. He ran because he realized after the fact of pleading guilty, how serious his crime was, or at least how seriously that crime was taken in LA at the time. We take it much more seriously now. Coward that he is, he didn't want to do the time he imagined he would get. I think that gets him 5 years for escape w/o even being sentenced for his crime which he would probably have gotten a few months for. What a coward. And he's not at all contrite, from his work that I recall he still thought young girls at the dawn of womanhood are viable candidates for sex with adult men decades after his escape.
He's a pervert and he has to pay.

Nice work L.A. District Attorneys Office.

Does a near bankrupt city really have the funds to go after an old man in a foreign country who can put up an expensive defense for a crime committed almost a lifetime ago?

Moreover, failing to get extradition after spending millions or tens millions of city money? Google's first five links for "Steve Cooley" are for his California District Attorney race. Perhaps more time & money should have been dedicated to the city then big egos.

Oh well Steve is going to have to find some other tactic to get elected in November.
Start looking Steve you dont have alot of time.

Let's not elect this Cooley guy to any office again.

Cooley is a joke. He is on the wrong side of everything. I can't wait until his term is up and we have someone in office who actually represents the culture of L.A.

Cooley, your one stupid man. You must feel like a total idiot, AGAIN ! The little
Pollack beat you again. I guess the long arm of the law can only reach the closest donut. The rest of world does not bow to american laws.

This makes the Swiss Government child rapists as well.
Give one minor girl a date rape drug, have sodomy sex with her and get out of jail free.
Wow. So it must be ok.

It is truly frightening how easily many of you supposedly sane adults on this comment thread dismiss his crime so lightly.

"...it was soo long ago."
"...the victim wants to put it behind her."
"...it is a waste of taxpayer money to go after him...."

He gave alcohol to, and drugged a 13 year old girl, orally and anally raped her, and he plead guilty. He knew he broke the law, but the cowardly pervert illegally fled the country instead of facing any time in jail with fellow prisoners who might dish out the same treatment he dished out to that little girl.

It is now clear the swiss government hack had no intention of ever honoring their international commitment to extradite Polanski. They waited long enough for people to lose interest, and came up with a lame excuse for letting him go. But by international law, the swiss courts had no right to decide if he spent enough time in jail, or if it happened too long ago, or if the judge promised... what? He plead guilty to the rape. This is not about the original crime. This is about his fleeing the punishment. Before he was sentenced, he ran away. Why should he not have to answer for this horrendous crime?

I am appalled at you sniveling euro-sympathizers who think the US needs to be put in its place. So this is how you do it? You excuse a child rapist? Wow, with friends like you who needs enemies?

Steve Cooley = a major joke!

A) Steve Cooley is running for higher office so winning this case will
probably not be good for his political aspirations. Cooley needs the big
names of Hollywood behind him.
B) Polanski is a Jew. Cooley's bigotry is against Catholics so Polanski is
C) Chances are that lots of very rich people in Hollywood have hidden
money in Swiss vaults so Polanski is very safe.

Now go after the big fish here, the corrupt Mayor of LA.

Of course Cooley is 'surprised and disappointed'. Polanski wasn't represented by the most useless organization god ever created, the public defenders office, the only lawyers his rabid crew of deputies can every post a victory against. So sorry your political grandstanding was for naught.

Hey Cooley, there's an old expression you might want to learn.

You gotta, know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em.

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