Calif. pols support Polanski extradition

Oct. 29, 2009 at 1:32 PM
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LOS ANGELES, Oct. 29 (UPI) -- Fifteen California legislators have signed a letter to Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley in support of Roman Polanski's extradition.

Polanski, 76, was arrested Sept. 26 in Zurich, Switzerland, for his decades-old child-sex conviction in Los Angeles.

The famous filmmaker, who lives in France but was in Switzerland to attend a film festival, has not traveled to the United States since he pleaded guilty in a Los Angeles court in 1978 to having unlawful sex with a minor, then fled the country before he could be sentenced. He was accused of drugging and raping Samantha Geimer when she was 13.

Polanski's lawyers have alleged misconduct on the part of the Los Angeles criminal justice system at the time of the plea deal. They have said they plan to fight extradition from Switzerland to the United States. Swiss authorities have denied Polanski's request for appeal.

Since Polanski's arrest, Geimer, who has long been hounded by the media, has publicly said she doesn't think the filmmaker should face jail time for what he did to her.

"Like any other person, he should be returned to face sentencing, as well as face his past," the Los Angeles Times quoted the California legislators' letter to Cooley as saying. "Anything short of this undermines a fundamental premise that justice is blind and no one is above the law."

"Despite the debates about Mr. Polanski's extradition, I am struck by how magnanimous his victim was by her forgiveness of his crime against her and, certainly, her words will carry weight in a court of law," state Sen. Gloria Romero, D-Los Angeles, told the Times. "But, nonetheless, closure is expected and needed."

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