Polish court won’t extradite Roman Polanski to U.S.

31 Oct 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

District attorney: Polanski case won’t end despite ruling.

LOS ANGELES — A lawyer for the woman who was sexually assaulted by Roman Polanski praised a Polish judge’s refusal Friday to send the director to Los Angeles, while the city’s top prosecutor said she would not drop the case against the Oscar winner.

Poland cannot extradite filmmaker Roman Polanski to the U.S. on a charge that he had sex with a minor nearly four decades ago, a judge ruled Friday, a decision that could finally close the case in the country where the Oscar-winning director grew up and still makes movies. “I can breathe now with relief,” Polanski told reporters in Krakow, where the case was heard. “I pleaded guilty. At a hearing in Krakow, Judge Dariusz Mazur ruled in the filmmaker’s favour, after lawyers for Polanski and for the government made their closing arguments in a year-long proceeding, the latest chapter in a 38-year legal battle. State Department officials to decide whether to appeal Friday’s ruling in Krakow, but she vowed to keep pursuing Polanski as long as she’s district attorney “because justice has never been served.” Mazur said he believed Polanski had fulfilled his sentence by spending time in a California prison and in home confinement in 2009 and 2010 during a failed attempt to extradite him from Switzerland. “I sent a letter of congratulations to Mr.

Polanski’s lawyers in Poland for being able to demonstrate to the judicial system of Poland that this case, which is 38 years old, should be ended,” Silver said. “Both the judicial systems of Poland and Switzerland are able to do what the judicial system of the United States seems unable to do, and that is put the matter behind us,” Silver said. Polanski’s attorneys had argued that the U.S. request was legally flawed and contended he had already served prison time under a plea-bargain deal with a Los Angeles judge. Olszewski, in his arguments to the presiding judge, pointed to the extraordinary nature of the long-running case. “The victim in this case did not want jail time for Polanski,” he said. “She forgave him. Polanski was initially charged on six felony counts, including rape by use of drugs, but was allowed to plead guilty in 1977 to one count of unlawful sexual intercourse with a 13-year-old girl during a photo shoot in Los Angeles. Mazur found that U.S. judges and prosecutors violated legal procedures, broke the 1977 plea deal, denied Polanski the right to a proper defense and appeared biased.

In contrast, Danuta Bieniarz, a regional prosecutor, kept her argument quite brief. “In our opinion, there are no legal grounds to stop the extradition,” she told Mazur. “The case has not expired under American law, and we do not think that the extradition is unlawful, on the basis of Polish law. The 83-year-old appeared exhausted and thin when he spoke to reporters afterward. “I am glad that I have trusted Poland’s justice system,” he said. “I knew it would end well … His father helped him escaped the Krakow ghetto, but then was an inmate in the Nazi German Mauthausen concentration camp, while his mother died in the Auschwitz death camp. Public opinion in Poland has been mostly in Polanski’s favor, and many politicians have indicated reluctance to hand him over, arguing he has already paid a heavy price and repented for what he did. Even if the judge had ruled against him, he likely could have continued traveling between Switzerland and France, but losing access to a country where he stills feels at home would have been a heavy blow.

Polanski won an Academy Award for best director for his 2002 film “The Pianist” that he filmed in Warsaw and was nominated for 1974’s “Chinatown” and 1979’s “Tess.” The motion also cited internal court emails that Dershowitz contended were evidence that a Superior Court judge in 2009 unethically prejudged issues related to the case. After the retirement of Polanski’s longtime lawyer, Douglas Dalton, Braun was recruited for the job by the Hollywood filmmaker and power broker Brett Ratner. Since 2012, Polanski has talked of directing a film about Captain Dreyfus, a Jewish officer in the French army, whose 1894 trial for treason caused political scandal.

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