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Justice Delayed: Polanski Updates

By Tanya Roth, Esq. on April 23, 2010 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Yesterday was a productive day for the 2nd District California Court of Appeals. In addition to whatever civilian cases the court in all its wisdom addressed, the on-going Hollywood court saga of Roman Polanski saw more action than Jerry Bruckheimer's last outing. In a strictly legal manner, of course.

On Thursday, it was reported that the court declined Polanski's latest motion to be sentenced to time already served and thus eliminate the need to be extradited to the U.S. to be sentenced. The court also denied the motion by the woman Polanski was convicted of sexually assaulting as a 13 year-old to dismiss the case. According to Reuters, Samantha Geimer petitioned the court to dismiss the case against Polanski. To her, the case is, "stale of fact and devoid of current purpose except to advance a political career." 

"Whatever harm was done to her 33 years ago by Polanski is now a memory," her lawyer, Lawrence Silver, wrote in his March 23 filing. Unfortunately, this case, unlike a civil case is not only about the harm caused to one individual. When a person breaks the law, we are all harmed. That is why criminal cases are titled "The People v. Accused." A cliché right out of Dragnet? Perhaps, but still true. The court denied the petition.

As noted, the court has also denied Polanski's latest motion to sentence him to time already served. Since his confinement under house arrest in Gstaad in December of last year, the Swiss authorities have said they are waiting until the California courts resolve issues around whether Polanski could be sentenced in absentia before they would address any question of extradition. According to the New York Times ArtsBeat Blog, the court's latest refusal to sentence Polanski to the time served (he spent time under psychiatric evaluation circa 1977) makes it clear Polanski is expected to face the court in person to deal with whatever justice may or may not finally be coming his way. 

Which additional cliché is more applicable to this case, "justice delayed is justice denied," or "anything worth having is worth waiting for?" Whichever you favor, we must all wait a bit longer as it is now up to the Swiss authorities to take the next step and move forward (or backward) on Polanski's extradition.

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