Roman Polanski Doesn’t Show Up for Latest Court Hearing

30 Oct 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Polish Court Rules That Law Forbids Extradition of Polanski.

A court in Poland ruled Friday that the law forbids the extradition of filmmaker Roman Polanski to the U.S., where he pleaded guilty nearly four decades ago to having sex with a minor.The next chapter in Roman Polanski’s decades-long extradition saga will play out Friday in a Polish courtroom — but it’s not quite the Academy-Award winning director’s day of reckoning. But an appeal — if successful — could make an extradition likely, because the new Law and Justice party government to be installed in November has indicated there will be no leniency for Polanski, as it makes a point of applying laws strictly and equally to all. Should the court make a legally binding decision to grant the US request, it will be up to the justice minister to decide on whether to hand Polanski over.

It’s the latest in an epic international battle in which Polanski has been accused of portraying himself as the victim — and U.S. authorities have refused to let the case drop. He served 42 days in jail as part of a 90-day plea bargain, but fled the country for France the following year, believing that the judge hearing his case could overrule the deal and impose a longer prison sentence. The director — who won Oscars for the 2002 film “The Pianist” and was nominated for 1974’s “Chinatown” and 1979’s “Tess” — was not in the Krakow district court on Friday morning, according to The Associated Press. Polanski — a Holocaust survivor — garnered fame for his films but also for personal tragedy: his first wife Sharon Tate was murdered by Charles Manson’s followers in 1969. The judge presiding over that case said the court could not make a ruling because it still had to consider extra documents submitted by Polanski’s lawyers.

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. Swiss officials at the time cited a possible fault in the extradition request as the grounds, saying the U.S. had failed to provide confidential testimony to refute defense arguments Polanski had actually served his sentence before fleeing Los Angeles. Olszweski and another defense lawyer, Jerzy Stachowicz, repeatedly cited the 2008 documentary “Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired,” which suggested prosecutorial overreach in the United States. And we think it sends a very important message regarding how women and girls are treated around the world.” A month later, lawyers for Polanski tried to request an evidentiary hearing in Los Angeles in hopes of having the charges against him dismissed due to prosecutorial misconduct.

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 Judge 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. U.S. authorities took another shot at Poland for an extradition in early 2015 once Polanski started traveling to Krakow to prepare for a new film based on the Dreyfus Affair scandal. Polanski’s victim, Samantha Geimer, suggested in a series of Facebook posts that officials were pursuing the case to “cover up their own misconduct” and using “a teenage rape victim until their dying breath” to get press. “Justice is NOT something they seek for victims,” she wrote. “If they were smart, they’d stop trying to bring him back.

Polanski have repeatedly been rebuffed by the courts, as they argued that improprieties by Judge Rittenband and others had violated the defendant’s rights and corrupted the case. 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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