Fingerpointing in Polanski Case Between DOJ and LA Prosecutors

The Swiss asked for the sealed transcripts of former district attorney in the Roman Polanski case. DOJ says it consulted with the LA District Attorney's office and denied the request. It was the denial that prevented the Swiss from getting to the heart of the issue: did the judge intend for Polanski only to serve 42 days? If so, then extradition isn't allowed under the treaty. The Swiss Statement denying extradition said:

The Swiss government said it had sought confidential testimony given Jan. 26 by Roger Gunson, the Los Angeles attorney in charge of the original prosecution against Polanski. The United States rejected the request.

The LA District Attorney's office told the judge in May the Swiss never made the request. Now they say they were never notified by DOJ that one had been made.

District attorney's spokeswoman Sandi Gibbons said Wednesday that Los Angeles prosecutors were never notified of the request. But the Justice Department said Thursday the Los Angeles District Attorney's office was fully informed and approved the denial.


The Swiss had said from the beginning that their extradition laws allowed Polanski to be sent to the United States only if he was going to be required to serve at least six months in prison. They sought the testimony of original prosecutor Roger Gunson to clarify the matter.

The letter added, "Under these circumstances it cannot be excluded with certainty that Roman Polanski, who was imprisoned in the Chino State Prison for 42 days, has not already served the sentence imposed on him."

The Swiss have changed their extradition procedures as a result of the Polanski case.

In response to issues raised by his case, it was decided extradition proceedings may be started only with the approval of the director of the justice ministry. In the past, a purely technical procedure allowed low-ranking officials to initiate proceedings once a valid request had been received.

The change was made so that the “the procedure may be opened for larger judicial considerations and political considerations,” Mr. Balmer said. “There was no political pressure” in this case, Mr. Balmer said.

More on who knew what when here.

< Let The Fingerpointing Begin | Judiciary Committee Releases Bybee Deposition Transcript >
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    His own daughter's about 17 now. (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Thu Jul 15, 2010 at 12:49:51 PM EST
    I hope that he understands, now, what all the hoopla is all about...

    now? (none / 0) (#4)
    by Capt Howdy on Thu Jul 15, 2010 at 12:50:55 PM EST
    wouldnt that have happened when she was 13?

    Polanski (5.00 / 1) (#28)
    by lc on Thu Jul 15, 2010 at 03:00:39 PM EST
    No, Roman Polanski hadn't been sentenced, and the judge didn't renege on anything.  The judge wasn't a participant in the plea negotiation and he wasn't bound by it.

    Yes but (none / 0) (#29)
    by nyjets on Thu Jul 15, 2010 at 03:05:09 PM EST
    There is some indication that there was collusion between the DA and judge and that is why Polanski fled.
    Therefore, the fact that Polanski escaped any kind of justice can be laid on the feet of these 2 individuals.

    fingerpointing. (none / 0) (#2)
    by Capt Howdy on Thu Jul 15, 2010 at 12:48:31 PM EST
    what fun!

    Actually, the unlikelihood (none / 0) (#5)
    by MKS on Thu Jul 15, 2010 at 01:00:18 PM EST
    he will do it again is why the concern is not as great as it might be.

    Polanski is in his 70s....and he is so well-known for this incident that he wouldn't be able to surprise many....

    I was gonna say (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by CST on Thu Jul 15, 2010 at 01:08:52 PM EST
    if it hasn't happened since this incident occurred (has it?) - there's no reason to believe it would happen again in the future.  It's not like he's been sitting in jail away from the general population since then and now all of a sudden is free.

    Don't spoil the narrative... (5.00 / 0) (#7)
    by kdog on Thu Jul 15, 2010 at 01:22:14 PM EST
    with all that pesky common sense you guys...don't you wanna protect kids?  So what if we have to pervert the law, there's a pervert on the loose!!!

    At least now I know what will make a law-n-order worshipper throw their precious law-n-order right under the bus...a sex offender left unpunished to their satisfaction...when that happens they're are no rules, no common sense, no decency...just get 'em.


    got busted by parents, etc., for doing something, like, say, throwing light bulbs from my neighbor's x-mas decorations in the street to hear them 'pop', we all always claimed to have never done it before, that we'd only done it once and this the my first time. Yadda yadda. When, of course, we had did it before we got caught and would certainly have continued doing it had we/I not been caught.

    Geimer was not the only underage girl who wanted a part in his movies, and Polanski did not invent the casting couch, but there was certainly more  opportunity for him to use it than just this one time. There will always be doubt, in my mind anyway.


    Actually, I think I misread your comment. (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Thu Jul 15, 2010 at 01:26:00 PM EST
    You were talking about whether he did this again, or would likely do it again, after he got busted - not has he ever done it other than Geimer. I read your comment too quickly...

    would you continue (none / 0) (#10)
    by CST on Thu Jul 15, 2010 at 01:28:15 PM EST
    to throw x-mas lights after you'd been caught?

    I guess all I am saying is, there is no reason to believe the next 10 years will be any different from the last 10.


    I have to ask (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by jbindc on Thu Jul 15, 2010 at 01:42:34 PM EST
    If he was not "Roman Polanski" but instead "Roman Catholic priest", would you (or any if his worshippers out there who feel he's being overpunished for being famous) feel the same way?

    From many of the comments here over the years regarding priests (not necessarily yours), my guess is the responses would be totally different.  


    would it make any difference to you (5.00 / 1) (#13)
    by Capt Howdy on Thu Jul 15, 2010 at 01:44:08 PM EST
    that most of those boys are not giving press conferences saying leave the priest alone?

    No (5.00 / 2) (#18)
    by jbindc on Thu Jul 15, 2010 at 01:59:58 PM EST
    Especially as this site does not advocate for the victims' feelings in criminal cases, and in fact holds the position that they should not matter, or at least should be minimized.  If their feelings should not matter to help convict someone
    or enhance a sentence, why should it matter if she just wants this episode put behind her?

    that's funny (5.00 / 1) (#14)
    by CST on Thu Jul 15, 2010 at 01:53:26 PM EST
    because I think this might be the first time I've commented on a Roman Polanski thread - I've generally stayed out of this argument - so I'm not sure how you get that I "worship" him or think he's being "overpunished".

    All I said was, I don't see why the next 10 years would be any different from the last 10.

    Honestly, I think the guy's a total creep.  But it is what it is.

    As for the Roman Catholic priest issue... I think it's a different situation in that there was widespread systemic abuse that went on for a very long time and was covered up by a hugely powerful organization.  I can't really compare that to the Roman Polanski situation.


    Please reread (none / 0) (#16)
    by jbindc on Thu Jul 15, 2010 at 01:56:21 PM EST
    I said you OR one of his worshippers.  I deliberately did not include you in that list.  I was asking for more than just your thoughts.

    your use of the word (5.00 / 2) (#17)
    by Jeralyn on Thu Jul 15, 2010 at 01:59:52 PM EST
    worshippers is baiting.

    well (5.00 / 1) (#19)
    by CST on Thu Jul 15, 2010 at 02:07:50 PM EST
    and I gave you a very clear reason why the Catholic Priest issue is vastly different.

    Another thing to consider about the "difference", is that if this had happened in the Vatican city, there would be no case - because the age of consent is 12.  So under the rules of that country, what Roman did was just fine.


    Let's change the scenario a bit (none / 0) (#20)
    by jbindc on Thu Jul 15, 2010 at 02:17:14 PM EST
    A Roman Catholic priest with one kid.  But it was 30 years ago.  Would you be willing to let bygones be bygones?

    And your Vatican City example doesn't apy.  The age of consent may be 12, but Polanski's victim was plied with drink and did not consent.


    It's the cover-up (5.00 / 1) (#21)
    by MKS on Thu Jul 15, 2010 at 02:22:18 PM EST
    by the Church that is a huge distinguishing feature...

    Which has nothing to do with (none / 0) (#23)
    by jbindc on Thu Jul 15, 2010 at 02:30:08 PM EST
    The individual actor.

    Oculus can correct me if I'm wrong, but because he fled before sentencing, Polanski still has the original 6 felony charges pending against him.

    Seems pretty serious to me - at least as serious ad individual getting his crimes covered up by his boss.


    what you keep missing here (5.00 / 1) (#25)
    by CST on Thu Jul 15, 2010 at 02:34:46 PM EST
    is that it was not an "individual getting his crimes covered up by his boss".  It was widespread, systemic, abuse and cover-up.

    To pretend like this was a lone wolf or even make comparisons to that scenario just doesn't add up.


    I thought he was sentenced (5.00 / 2) (#26)
    by MKS on Thu Jul 15, 2010 at 02:46:14 PM EST
    and the judge and prosecutor reneged....

    One felon fleeing versus the systemic abuse of thousands of children by priests protected by the Church?

    Not at all the same thing.

    As far as we know, the Polanski issue involved only one girl many, many years ago....


    I believe there have been allegations (5.00 / 1) (#33)
    by Anne on Thu Jul 15, 2010 at 03:35:40 PM EST
    that Geimer's rape is not the only instance of Polanski forcing himself on underage girls, but whether she was the only one, or only one of many, it neither excuses nor exonerates him, does it?  I have to think that if the "only once" had been my daughter, I would not be feeling so cavalier.

    I don't think the Catholic Church situation was the best analogy, nor do I think that the victim asking that this not go any further should be a factor in deciding whether "enough is enough."

    There was a lot wrong with how this entire case was handled, but none of it should be allowed to obscure the crime(s) committed.


    It depends on what (5.00 / 1) (#36)
    by MKS on Thu Jul 15, 2010 at 05:05:49 PM EST
    the primary concern is.  If punishment is the chief objective, then the fact that only one girl was involved may not matter at all.

    If preventing further problems, protecting society, is the issue, then of course that there is only one victim that we know of many years ago is significant.  That tells us the current danger is likely very low.

    I incline to protecting society rather than punishment as the chief objective.  And as to punishment, that the victim does not want it, and more important--would not be a cooperative witness to obtain it--is significant.

    It is not a cavalier response.....


    Geimer a hefty sum of money, $600K+ iirc, as a settlement for what he did. By not pushing for any more legal action against him she's merely holding up her end of the deal.

    So, was it money she was really after? (none / 0) (#39)
    by Untold Story on Fri Jul 16, 2010 at 10:54:43 AM EST
    Did she accept the offer?  Then, how could money truly compensate for such a violation?

    Is that what you got from my comment? (none / 0) (#40)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Fri Jul 16, 2010 at 11:00:28 AM EST
    That "it was money that she was after?" Wow...

    Anyway, yes, she took the money. She even had to take him to court becuase he was slow in paying, iirc.


    You have your opinion as to what money (none / 0) (#45)
    by Untold Story on Fri Jul 16, 2010 at 04:03:16 PM EST
    would pay for - but to me, if I were violated in such a fashion there is no amount of money that would not criminal charges as my thoughts would be for the next person.  The money I received in lieu of prosecution would not protect anyone else from similar violation.

    That is what I meant - if you are okay with money, fine.  And, a diligent payer simply goes with the territory - and, oddly, she did get herself to court on that it seems from what you said.


    Fair enough. (none / 0) (#46)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Fri Jul 16, 2010 at 04:42:25 PM EST
    BS (none / 0) (#41)
    by squeaky on Fri Jul 16, 2010 at 01:44:13 PM EST
    That is your fantasy, and it is obviously fueled by your own demons.

    LOS ANGELES -- The woman who was the teenage victim in the Roman Polanski sex case says he is not a threat to anyone and charges should be dismissed.
    Samantha Geimer, who long ago identified herself, told the Los Angeles Times in a story posted Tuesday that the case should have been resolved 33 years ago when it happened.

    "Enough is enough," she said of the continuing efforts to prosecute Polanski. She was barred from talking about her civil suit settlement with the director but said it didn't influence her views. "I've felt this way from the beginning."

    But hey, speculating on a confidential agreement is fun.. you get to make up whatever you want and no on can prove you are FOS.....


    In an effort to preserve her anonymity, (none / 0) (#42)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Fri Jul 16, 2010 at 01:49:08 PM EST
    In an effort to preserve her anonymity, Geimer's attorney arranged a plea bargain which Polanski accepted, and, under the terms, five charges from the indictment were to be dismissed.[65]

    Geimer sued Polanski in 1988, alleging sexual assault, intentional infliction of emotional distress and seduction.

    In 1993 Polanski agreed to settle with Geimer, however in August 1996 Polanski still owed her $604,416.

    Geimer and her lawyers would later confirm the settlement was completed.[74][75] In

    Please Explain (none / 0) (#43)
    by squeaky on Fri Jul 16, 2010 at 02:09:29 PM EST
    Sorry I am not getting your point. What does her claim that the plea bargain was offered in order to preserve her anonymity have to do with your claim that her sentiments about the case have are not credible,  because she is bound by a confidentially agreement.

    The fact that she sued Polanski and settled, and that Polanski was not quick to pay, means what?



    Innuendo? (none / 0) (#35)
    by squeaky on Thu Jul 15, 2010 at 04:46:25 PM EST
    Or just feeding the rumor mill?

    The crime has hardly been obscured (none / 0) (#44)
    by sj on Fri Jul 16, 2010 at 03:04:17 PM EST
    Look at all the focus being placed on it even now.  I don't believe in bending the application of the law to get a conviction in a specific crime.  If we turn a blind eye to the bending of the law in cases we agree with, it's the height of hypocrisy to then decry it later.

    Yes, were it my daughter my rage would be great.  But in the end, I truly believe in Blackstone's formulation

    it is "better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer"

    The law will always be weighted in favor of the prosecution.  That's why we have defense attorneys.

    As to those other allegations, let them stand or fall on their own merits.  This is about this case.


    A Roman Catholic priest with one kid (5.00 / 1) (#24)
    by CST on Thu Jul 15, 2010 at 02:32:23 PM EST
    is not the situation.  If it was, I would say it's about that individual priest not the organization.  I think the vast majority of the comments you see about the Catholic priest issue come from the systemic nature of and coverup of abuse rather than commenting on the individual priests themselves.

    And again, nowhere do I mention letting 'bygones be bygones' regarding Polanski, you are making that up.  I just don't think it's reasonable to start freaking out about the fact that this guy is free and we need to keep our kids at home - since he's been free for years.  That's all I said.  You keep trying to lump me in with comments that aren't mine.


    Covered up, lied about, denied, . . . (none / 0) (#31)
    by Untold Story on Thu Jul 15, 2010 at 03:10:37 PM EST
    In this case, it is either the prosecutor or the judge that is covering up, lying or denying that a plea was agreed upon or not agreed upon --

    Whether he did it before and or did do it again, it is the case itself that has to be considered, and if it is dirtied than the guilty go free!


    Well, I did. Not sure about anyone else. (none / 0) (#11)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Thu Jul 15, 2010 at 01:34:14 PM EST
    I was just more careful.

    Get a message to the FBI (none / 0) (#30)
    by Untold Story on Thu Jul 15, 2010 at 03:07:04 PM EST
    he needs to be apprehended immediately for destruction of property!  He confused, right, so no need for them to wait years and years for action!

    he or she confessed - to damaging neighbors lights (none / 0) (#32)
    by Untold Story on Thu Jul 15, 2010 at 03:16:18 PM EST
    Action was taken, believe me, (none / 0) (#34)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Thu Jul 15, 2010 at 04:06:53 PM EST
    action was taken...

    the comment you were replying to (none / 0) (#15)
    by Jeralyn on Thu Jul 15, 2010 at 01:56:15 PM EST
    was deleted for stating as fact something not proven or admitted to.

    Age (none / 0) (#37)
    by Socraticsilence on Fri Jul 16, 2010 at 07:25:56 AM EST
    doesn't excuse civil rights era crimes why should excuse crimes from the late 1970s.

    what is it (none / 0) (#22)
    by Capt Howdy on Thu Jul 15, 2010 at 02:24:50 PM EST
    about Roman Polanski and Sara Palin that brings out the worst in people?

    what their domestic law is, (none / 0) (#27)
    by cpinva on Thu Jul 15, 2010 at 02:53:42 PM EST
    is irrelevant to the case at hand:

    The Swiss had said from the beginning that their extradition laws allowed Polanski to be sent to the United States only if he was going to be required to serve at least six months in prison.

    what is relevant is what the extradition treaty, between the US and Switzerland, requires. unless this was just a misstatement, that pretty much indicates the decision, by the swiss ministry of justice, was wrong, and it was a political, not legally, driven determination.

    i kind of hope he gets charged with something there, and then skips town. be interesting to see how other countries react to a swiss extradition request.