Senior Editor
10.23.09 16 Comments

The U.S. formally filed a request for Roman Polanski’s extradition today, and only a whole month after they requested his arrest.  The Swiss authorities, who, to reiterate, arrested Polanski a month ago, will now be holding a hearing at an unspecified future date to decide whether to send him back to Los Angeles, even though, again, I’m just reiterating the facts here, him being wanted in Los Angeles was the entire reason they arrested him in the first place.

If extradition is approved, Polanski may appeal the decision to Switzerland’s top criminal court and, theoretically, to the Federal Supreme Court.
That means the could remain in a Swiss jail for months more of legal wrangling, even though legal experts say he has little chance of avoiding a return to the U.S. after 31 years as a fugitive.
The maximum sentence Polanski can receive in California is two years, the Justice Ministry said.
“In the American case, he declared himself guilty of having sexual relations with a minor,” spokesman Folco Galli told Europe-1 radio. “According to American law currently in force, the maximum penalty for the crime in question is two years in prison.”
Galli said the sentence couldn’t be longer because Polanski could only be punished for the crime that is the basis of his extradition. He didn’t say specifically whether Polanski was being pursued for fleeing justice in 1978, and Los Angeles authorities couldn’t immediately be reached for verification. [Variety]

Of course they couldn’t be reached.  You probably have to fax them a formal request to be reached, then they schedule a hearing at an unspecified date on whether to approve that request, and after a few weeks of the lawyers playing XBox and eating Cheetos out of their briefcases, they decide whether to comment.  This is just how the legal system works.

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