(LOS ANGELES, CA) – (Marketwire) – The Swiss government’s decision not to extradite Mr. Polanski resulted directly from the unjustifiable refusal by U.S. law enforcement to provide critically important evidence requested by the Swiss. That evidence was not insignificant and the failure to produce it was neither accidental nor a “technicality,” as some have said.
The evidence was the sworn testimony of the former prosecutor in the case — given in February and March of this year — which proved that the original trial judge in 1977 agreed that Mr. Polanski’s time served in Chino State Prison was his entire punishment. On behalf of Mr. Polanski, we had repeatedly asked both the Los Angeles District Attorney and the U.S. Justice Department to agree to provide this testimony to the Swiss and we were rebuffed, as was the request by the Swiss government.
The District Attorney’s motive in refusing to cooperate was clear: the testimony would have shown that the extradition request itself was untrue in material respects in that it asserted the false premise that Mr. Polanski had only been ordered to undergo an appropriate diagnostic study. The truth, if revealed, could have undermined the legality of the extradition request, and the District Attorney knew that. Nevertheless, the Swiss should have been told the true facts.
The California Court of Appeal stated in this case that the prosecutor’s role in our justice system is to be the “guardian of systemic integrity.” The District Attorney has not fulfilled that role here. Instead, he has refused to investigate and remedy what the Court of Appeal called “highly improper” and “profoundly unethical” prosecutorial and judicial misconduct in this case. Back in December 2009, that same Court held that “the investigation of the alleged misconduct should occur immediately, regardless of Polanski’s custody status.” It has not taken place. That investigation can and should be conducted now by a fair and impartial third party, including even a commission appointed by the Governor’s office or the Attorney General, and the results should be made public.
As officers of the court, we again urge that a thorough investigation of the facts and circumstances of this case take place now, including into the reasons why the specific request for information made by the Swiss was not honored.
Nothing less is at stake than the preservation of the integrity of our state’s criminal justice system — which the District Attorney is sworn to protect — and our country’s credibility with its treaty partners who must rely on the truth of sworn statements in extradition requests.