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April 22, 2010

Some notable new developments in the Polanski prosecution

As detailed in this AP article, "An appeals court on Thursday denied a petition by Roman Polanski's victim to dismiss the three-decade-old sex case against the director."  Here's more:

The California Second District Court of Appeal denied the petition by Samantha Geimer without comment. 

Geimer's attorney petitioned the court on March 23 to dismiss the case against Polanski, arguing recent changes to California's constitution gave her more rights as a victim to influence the case. "She is a person who is harmed by the maintenance of the prosecution and she wants it to end," Geimer's attorney wrote in the petition for dismissal. "She has not been treated fairly."

Prosecutors argued in a filing last week that voters' decision in 2008 to include a victim's bill of rights in the state's constitution didn't grant Geimer or other crime victims the authority to end prosecutions.

Thursday's ruling is unlikely to have any immediate bearing on Polanski's status.  The Oscar-winning director remains on house arrest at his chalet in the Swiss resort of Gstaad.  The appeals court has not yet ruled on another petition his attorneys filed earlier this year, records show.

Though this ruling is not unexpected, I was somewhat suprirsed by this news report, headlined "Roman Polanski asks President Obama for clemency." Here are the details:

French President Nicolas Sarkozy has hand-delivered a letter to President Obama from fugitive director Roman Polanski, according to a new report. The Daily Beast website claims a French political magazine has published a report stating that Polanski made the private plea for clemency.

The website writes: “In an astonishing act of backroom international diplomacy, French President Nicolas Sarkozy hand-delivered a letter from fugitive Oscar-winning filmmaker Roman Polanski to President Barack Obama last week on the sidelines of the international anti-nuke proliferation summit in Washington, according to a small and little-noticed article embedded in the prestigious French political magazine, L'Express.”...

The letter, which is not directly quoted in the L'Express article, is said to suggest that the two months the aging director spent in a Swiss prison, in addition to the 47 days that he spent in detention in California in 1977, should suffice for the crime of unlawful sexual intercourse he pled guilty to.

April 22, 2010 at 05:51 PM | Permalink


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I was unaware the President has authority to grant clemency in a state case, cf. Medellín v. Texas, 552 U.S. 491 (2008), but, you know, whatever.

Authority or not, I dearly hope our President takes time off from accepting campaign cash from Goldman, running up the debt and bowing to the latest potentate to "grant" clemency to a fugitive child rapist. I was looking forward to a nice mid-term in November, and that would sure help things along.

Hope and change! Go for it, Mr. President.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Apr 22, 2010 6:53:25 PM

The president doesn't have any direct control over state prosecution choices but I would think he would have near complete authority over the extradition process. If Obama were to choose to halt that I doubt there is anything California could do. That function might be so quintessentially foreign relations based that even if Congress were to act I'm not sure they could overrule the president on such a choice.

And if a president were to halt the extradition process I doubt any other country would accede to a later president trying to restart it.

Posted by: Soronel Haetir | Apr 22, 2010 11:16:09 PM

Soronel --

In my dreams, but unfortunately only in my dreams, does Obama intervene in Polanski's behalf.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Apr 22, 2010 11:35:00 PM

doesn't matter now that the LA courts have denied any review of the many problems with this case even after their own state supreme court said the case was full of them. I'll be taking bets the swiss refuse to extradite.

they will in fact use this case to show the rest of the world they can and will stand up to the U.S using it as a way to recope some fact after laying down and rolling over in the banking records mess.

while using the calif courts refusal to look at the truth in this case as their excuse.

of course it think IT'S A GOOD ONE!

Posted by: rodsmith | Apr 22, 2010 11:41:17 PM

FWIW, the White House denies that Sarkozy passed along anything re: Polanski.


Posted by: JDB | Apr 23, 2010 10:59:30 AM

lol JDB all that proves is that is did in fact happen. Anything a govt officer speaks i figure the exact opposite is a lot closer to the truth.

Posted by: rodsmith | Apr 23, 2010 11:59:38 AM

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