Efforts by Southern California authorities to bring back Roman Polanski to punish him for having had sex with a 13-year-old girl in 1977 suffered a major setback Tuesday when the Polish Supreme Court rejected a request by Poland’s government to extradite the Oscar-winning filmmaker.
Polanski was arrested in 1977 on charges that included the rape of a 13- year-old girl at the home of actor Jack Nicholson. He left the United States in 1978 before he could be sentenced under an agreement calling for him to plead guilty to statutory rape.
According to reports from Europe, Judge Michal Laskowski ruled Tuesday that a lower court’s verdict was not a “flagrant violation of the law,” as the government contended. “The regional court of Krakow considered and verified all evidence exceptionally carefully,� Laskowski said.
Tuesday’s ruling came six months after Justice Minister Zbigniew Ziobro asked the court to overrule a verdict issued in October 2015 by a judge in Krakow. That judge ruled that turning over Polanski would be an illegal deprivation of liberty because the state of California was unlikely to conduct a fair trial and provide humane detention conditions.
The Krakow prosecutor痴 office, which had sought Polanski’s extradition on behalf of Los Angeles County, later said it would abide by the ruling. But the central government then submitted an appeal to the Supreme Court on grounds that the lower court ruling breached an extradition agreement between Poland and the United States.
The Supreme Court ruling means that the 83-year-old Polish-born Polanski, a citizen of France, which does not extradite its citizens, is free to work in Poland. He was in France Tuesday.