Likelihood Of Film Director Roman Polanski’s US Extradition On Rape Charges Continues To Dwindle

The controversy continues over film director Roman Polanski and his failed extradition to the U.S. over charges of having sex with a 13-year-old girl.

This news comes per the New York Times, which reported on Tuesday that Poland’s Supreme Court rejected a government request to extradite the Oscar award-winning film director Polanski back to the U.S. to face his now “decades-old” charges.

Roman — who is a dual citizen of France and Poland — is now back home in France, a country that does not extradite its own citizens. In other words, the 83-year-old film director appears to be in the clear despite the statutory rape charges that continue to loom over him in the United States.

Poland’s Supreme Court ruling came down just months after Justice Minister Zbigniew Ziobro requested that the courts overrule a prior decision and allow the talented film director to be extradited, which the U.S. government has requested for decades.

At the time, Ziobro would classify the rulings related to the film director’s potential extradition as “incomprehensible” and a “serious breach” of the current extradition pact between the two countries.

In May, Ziobro told Polish state radio, also per the Times, that Polanski has received, and continues to receive, preferential treatment because he is so well known and loved as a film director.

“If [Polanski] was just a regular guy, a teacher, doctor, plumber, decorator,” said Ziobro, “then I’m confident that [Roman would] have been deported from any country to the U.S. a long time ago.”

Despite this innate feeling by Ziobro, the Krakow, Poland prosecutor’s office — which had sought Roman Polanski’s extradition on behalf of Los Angeles County, California — said that their office would fully abide by the judge’s ruling.

In particular, one Ministry of Justice spokesperson, per the Times, said that although Ziobro now “accepts and respects” the Supreme Court’s Tuesday verdict regarding Polanski, he “takes the position that proceedings concerning sexual abuse of minors should be enforced consistently,” even in nearly 40-year-old cases.

Roman was 44 in 1977 when he was arrested on charges of the rape of a teenager while staying at the Los Angeles residence of actor Jack Nicholson.

His alleged victim, Samantha Geimer, would release her own detailed memoir of the account in 2013. According to the Hollywood Reporter, Geimer’s book, The Girl: A Life in the Shadow of Roman Polanski, features an unsettling picture taken of her by the famous director, presumably just before the assault.

Samantha Geimer
Polanski's alleged victim, Samantha Geimer, starred in "Roman Polanski: Wanted And Desired" at the Paris Theater in 2008, and followed that up with the release of her own memoir in 2013. [Image by Bryan Bedder/Getty Images]

One year later, Polanski — who is known for his successful film career in the U.S., the U.K., Poland, and France — would leave the U.S. on what the New York Times called the “eve of [the film director’s] sentencing” under the pretense of returning to “plead guilty to a count of statutory rape.”

At the time, it was believed that Polanski would face a reduced sentence in exchange for his full cooperation.

The film director would never again return to U.S. soil.

“Mr. Polanski didn’t flee, as it is believed,” said one of Roman’s lawyers, Jerzy Stachowicz, of that time in his life. “He simply bought a plane ticket, checked in his luggage and boarded a plane. It was not fleeing.”

Roman Polanski's Lawyers
Attorneys Jerzy Stachowicz (L) and Jan Olszewski (R) represented Polanski in the case. [Image by Adam Nurkiewicz/Getty Images]

In fact, contrary to Ziobro’s belief, Stachowicz noted that Polanski is only on trial because of his fame as a film director.

“If Mr. Polanski were not a celebrity, a famous filmmaker, but he was an average Joe,” he argued in court, “[then] this case would have been over long ago, and nobody would have ever heard of it.”

And it is this belief of Roman’s that he would not be treated fairly in a trial that has prevented him from ever returning to Los Angeles.

Polanski’s position that he should not be forced to return to the U.S. was bolstered by a Krakow lower court ruling in October of 2015 that determined Roman would be subjected to an “obviously unlawful” disregard for the fair trial process should be shipped back to the U.S. to stand trial at his advanced age.

This judge, the Times would note, believed that the U.S. would feel little to no obligation to give him a fair court date or provide “humane conditions of confinement.”

Meanwhile, Poland’s Supreme Court ruling will allow Roman Polanski to continue to work as a film director in Poland and France.

Roman’s upcoming French film, The Dreyfus Affair, will portray the life of Alfred Dreyfus, a French Jew who was unjustly accused of spying in the late 1800s.

Originally, it was to be shot in Poland before being relocated to France.

[Featured Image by Adam Nurkiewicz/Getty Images]