Appellate Practice

Roman Polanski’s Lawyers Reportedly Provoked His Arrest

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Court filings by lawyers representing Roman Polanski apparently gave piqued prosecutors the incentive to seek his arrest, according to a published report.

In two documents filed with a California appeals court, the lawyers alleged that the District Attorney’s office had not sought to have Polanski extradited in the 30 years since he fled the country. Polanski fled before his sentencing for having sex with a 13-year-old girl in 1977.

Two law enforcement sources told the Los Angeles Times that the accusation led prosecutors to look for a new opportunity to extradite the director. He was arrested at an airport in Zurich on Saturday as he entered Switzerland to receive an award at a film festival.

The lawyers made the accusation in a suit seeking to overturn Polanski’s guilty plea on the ground that the trial judge was allegedly coached to impose a higher sentence by a prosecutor not involved in the case. In one of the filings, the lawyers wrote that “no effort” has been made to extradite Polanski. The filing claimed prosecutors were seeking to benefit by their own inaction by arguing the effort to overturn the plea could not be pursued without Polanski’s presence.

The lawyers representing Polanski in the appeal are Chad Hummel, Douglas Dalton and Bart Dalton, the story says.

Prosecutors counter that they have pursued Polanski. To prove it, they released a list of actions showing they have been monitoring the film director’s travels in at least 10 countries, “including what appeared to be a near miss,” the New York Times reports.

“In the department of interesting connections,” the prosecutor who wrote a letter seeking extradition was Nicholas Marsh, the federal prosecutor who pursued Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens, according to the New York Times Media Decoder blog. The case was abandoned amid allegations that prosecutors failed to disclose evidence.

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