LOS ANGELES – District Attorney Steve Cooley said today that although Switzerland refused to return Roman Polanski to California for sentencing, extradition will be sought if the fugitive is arrested elsewhere. “I am deeply disappointed that the Swiss authorities denied the request to extradite Roman Polanski,” Cooley said in a prepared statement. “Our office complied fully with all of the factual and legal requirements of the extradition treaty and requests by the U.S. and Swiss Departments of Justice and State.
“We will discuss with the Department of Justice the extradition of Roman Polanski if he’s arrested in a cooperative jurisdiction,” the District Attorney added.
Cooley took issue with a statement that the District Attorney’s Office had failed to file a formal extradition request prior to 2009.
“We only formally request when we are notified by a government that the fugitive is in their country,” Cooley said. “The request was filed immediately by this office after the Swiss notified us of Polanski’s expected arrival at the Zurich film festival in September 2009.”
Failure to extradite Polanski for sentencing is a “disservice to justice and other victims as a whole,” the District Attorney said. “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.”