Crime & Justice

Los Angeles prosecutor says Polanski case won't be dropped

Roman Polanski attends a press conference after the announcement at the regional court in Krakow on October 30, 2015 not to extradite him to the United States to face sentencing for raping a 13-year-old girl in 1977.
Roman Polanski attends a press conference after the announcement at the regional court in Krakow on October 30, 2015 not to extradite him to the United States to face sentencing for raping a 13-year-old girl in 1977.
Janek Skarzynski/AFP/Getty Images

Updated 1:30 p.m.: Prosecutor says Polanski case won't be dropped 

Los Angeles' district attorney says a Polish court's refusal to extradite director Roman Polanski is disappointing, but her office will continue to seek his return on a fugitive warrant.

District Attorney Jackie Lacey says it's up to U.S. State Department officials to decide whether to appeal Friday's ruling by a judge in Krakow.

However, she says it is unfair that Polanski has remained free after fleeing Los Angeles on the eve of sentencing for having unlawful sexual intercourse with a 13-year-old girl.

Lacey says she will continue to seek Polanski's return as long as she is in office.

Polanski and his lawyers have cited misconduct by a now-deceased judge and prosecutors as the reason the Oscar-winning director will not return to Los Angeles to end the case.

-Brian Melley, AP

10:14 a.m.: Polish court forbids extraditing Roman Polanski to the US 

Polish law forbids the extradition of filmmaker Roman Polanski to the United States, where he pleaded guilty nearly four decades ago to having sex with a minor, a judge ruled Friday.

"I can breathe now with relief," Polanski told reporters in Krakow, where the case was heard.

"I pleaded guilty. I went to prison. I have done my penalty. The case is closed," said the 83-year old director, who appeared thin and exhausted.

Judge Dariusz Mazur said the case is very complicated but an extradition procedure would violate the human rights of the 83-year-old Polanski because he could be subjected to confinement.

"I find no rational answer to the question: what is the real point of the U.S. extradition request?" said Mazur, who spent more than two hours explaining his reasoning to the court in Krakow.

The decision could close the case in Polanski's favor. The Polish prosecutor who argued the case for extradition on behalf of the United States did not immediately say whether there would be an appeal.

Mazur insisted that Polanski served his punishment in confinement in the U.S., and later for 10 months — partly under house arrest — in Switzerland in 2009-2010 when the U.S. unsuccessfully sought his extradition there.

Mazur said U.S. judges and prosecutors in the case violated legal procedures, broke the plea bargain in 1977, denied Polanski the right to proper defense and appeared biased.

The Oscar-winning director was not in court for the ruling.

An attorney for the woman who was sexually assaulted by Polanski when she was 13 is praising the decision.

Lawyer Lawrence Silver, who represents Samantha Geimer, says he has already sent a note congratulating Polanski's lawyers in Poland.

He also called Friday for Los Angeles prosecutors to end any efforts to extradite the director, who fled the U.S. in 1978 on the eve of sentencing after he pleaded guilty to an unlawful sexual intercourse charge.

Geimer, who long ago identified herself as Polanski's victim, has said she forgives the director. She was attacked in 1977 after a photo session.

- Monika Scislowska, AP 

This story has been updated.