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Technicalities Underlie Swiss Decision On The Film Director

Publication Date: 
July 13, 2010
Los Angeles Times
Jack Leonard and Andrew Blankstein

Professor Robert Weisberg is quoted in the Los Angeles Times on the Swiss government’s refusal to extradite Roman Polanksi:

In the end, the move by Swiss authorities to free Roman Polanski did not come down to whether he drugged and raped a 13-year-old girl.

Instead, the Swiss government's refusal Monday to extradite the director centered in part on a controversial 1977 backroom meeting that a Los Angeles judge held with the prosecutor and defense attorney on the case.

Polanski's lawyers say the judge made it clear at the meeting that he intended to send the director to prison for a 90-day psychiatric test as his full sentence behind bars. They say that Polanski completed his punishment when prison authorities released him after 42 days and that the filmmaker fled the country when the judge indicated he would send him back to prison.


Robert Weisberg, a Stanford law professor, said that Polanski's three-decade-old criminal case raises a host of complicated legal issues and that the extradition request may have been "hopeless from the start."

"Switzerland apparently decided, 'We will not extradite someone back into this legal morass,' " Weisberg said.