Calls for Full Disclosure in Extradition Request
May 12, 2010: Roman Polanski is determined to assure that the United States’ extradition request submitted to the Swiss Government is based on a complete and truthful statement of the facts of his case. Presently, it is not.
Indeed, just today, Swiss officials have announced that « Switzerland is still awaiting supplementary information from the Americans [and …] have not received it. » This statement directly contradicts representations made by the District Attorney’s Office to the California court this past Monday.
The fact is that the formal extradition request, prepared for the U.S. Justice Department by the L.A. District Attorney, does not disclose that the original trial judge in the case, Laurence Rittenband, committed that Mr. Polanski’s term in prison, undergoing what the Judge said publicly was a « diagnostic study, » would be his entire sentence in the case.
All we ask on Mr. Polanski’s behalf is that the Swiss be informed of this fact by the United States, a fact confirmed by every prosecutor in charge of this case up to now:
In his 2005 interview for the documentary film about the case, retired Deputy District Attorney Roger Gunson (who was the lead prosecutor on the matter for more than 20 years) stated that the trial judge « had promised that the 90-day diagnostic study was going to be his sentence.”
Mr. Gunson later confirmed in his Declaration under oath, last year, that: « After Mr. Polanski’s plea in August 1977, Judge Rittenband informed both Mr. Polanski’s lawyer, Douglas Dalton, and me that Mr. Polanski would be sent to Chino State Prison under Penal Code Section 1203.03 as his punishment. At that time, I told Judge Rittenband that the diagnostic study was not designed to be used as a sentence, but Judge Rittenband said: ‘I’m going to do it anyhow.' »
Mr. Gunson affirmed those statements in his recent conditional examination that unfortunately remains sealed. The District Attorney has fought to keep this testimony secret.
In his February 2005 interview for the same documentary, current Los Angeles Deputy District Attorney Richard Doyle, who took over the Polanski prosecution from Mr. Gunson and investigated the facts at the request of District Attorney Steve Cooley in 2002 stated: “There were many things that Judge Rittenband did that were inappropriate in my view in this case from what I have been told such as his use of the 1203.03, not for diagnostic purposes but for punishment. [. . . .] His promise was that he would not sentence him to prison after the 1203.03 was completed. »
Contrary to the District Attorney’s public contention that our statements about this are “baseless and reckless,” in fact, they have been confirmed by the prosecutors in their own Office. None of this was disclosed to the Swiss in the extradition request. We can only suspect that the reason for the District Attorney’s deliberate omission of this information from the extradition request is that he expects that this undeniable fact, if disclosed by the United States to the Swiss, would cause them to conclude that extradition is not legally justified.
Last December, the California Court of Appeal wrote:
If Polanski presents admissible evidence leading the trial court to conclude that Judge Rittenband committed to the diagnostic study as Polanski’s entire punishment, it is difficult to imagine that the trial court would not honor that commitment today [. . . . ] If, after taking evidence, the trial court finds that Polanski’s allegations are true and that the original trial judge agreed that the prison stay for the diagnostic study would constitute Polanski’s entire punishment, a condition Polanski fulfilled, the trial court could find that justice requires that the trial court’s commitment be honored and that Polanski should be sentenced to time served [. . . . ] We are confident that the trial court could fashion a legal sentence that results in no further incarceration for Polanski.
Our country’s Treaty with the Swiss requires that any further custodial term be greater than 6 months.
If, after a fair hearing in Switzerland at which the entire record of this case is truthfully presented, the Swiss determine that extradition is justified, Mr. Polanski will of course comply with a lawful extradition order and return to California to litigate the issues of prosecutorial and judicial misconduct and be finally sentenced under the law. Such a lawful order should be based on the entire record of the California proceedings, not the misleading and incomplete record provided to date.
We stand fully prepared immediately to discuss this issue with representatives of the Swiss or U.S. governments and to present all the evidence.
Statement by Roman Polanski’s U.S. Legal Team: Doug Dalton, Bart Dalton and Chad Hummel