Swiss officials said Monday they would not allow the filmmaker to be extradited because U.S. authorities failed to provide confidential testimony pertaining to the case.
The 76-year-old Oscar winner had been under house arrest at his Swiss chalet since December 2009 while he awaited the decision regarding whether he would be extradited to the United States in the decades-old case in which he was accused of drugging and raping a 13-year-old girl. He was held in a Swiss jail for nearly two months before he posted bail and was placed under house arrest.
The filmmaker, who had been living in France but was in Switzerland to attend a film festival at the time of his arrest last year, has not traveled to the United States since he pleaded guilty in Los Angeles to having unlawful sex with a minor. He fled the United States before he could be formally sentenced.
Polanski's lawyers have alleged misconduct on the part of the Los Angeles criminal justice system at the time of the plea deal and fought extradition from Switzerland to the United States.
"We will discuss with the Department of Justice the extradition of Roman Polanski if he's arrested in a cooperative jurisdiction," TVGuide.com quoted Los Angeles District Attorney Steve Cooley, who's running for California attorney general, as saying.
Describing the Swiss decision as a "disservice to justice and other victims as a whole," Cooley added: "To justify their finding to deny extradition on an issue that is unique to California law regarding conditional examination of a potentially unavailable witness is a rejection of the competency of the California courts ... The Swiss could not have found a smaller hook on which to hang their hat."