Roman Polanski is likely to remain in jail for several months as he fights deportation to the U.S. after being arrested for a 3-decade-old sexual assault case.
His Swiss attorney, one of the country's top criminal lawyers, filed a request in court Tuesday that Polanski be set free while his extradition case winds its way through the judicial system.
But such releases are rare for nonresidents in Switzerland, who are generally deemed to be flight risks. And given the lengthy extradition and appeals process, Polanski faces jail time far in excess of the 42 days he spent behind bars in Los Angeles back when the charges against him arose.
"We are talking about three, four months easily," said Peter Cosandey, a former prosecutor here with extensive experience in extradition cases. "If he's not released on bail as requested by his lawyers, then he has to remain in prison," The Los Angeles Times reports.
Meanwhile, last spring, Polanski’s lawyers appealed to have the sentence dropped. While the presiding judge acknowledged that there was “substantial misconduct” in the trial, he rejected the appeal because the defendant refused to appear in person.
Polanski is the director of classics including “Repulsion,” “Rosemary’s Baby” and “Chinatown” and is the husband of actress Sharon Tate, who was murdered with their unborn child by the Manson family. In 1978, after pleading guilty to having sex with a 13-year-old girl in the home of his friend, “Chinatown” star Jack Nicholson, he spent 42 days in a prison undergoing psychiatric evaluation. He cut a plea deal with prosecutors that he would receive a sentence of time served. While awaiting sentencing, Polanski was told that the judge was going to refuse to honor the plea agreement. He then jumped bail and fled to France.
His victim Samantha Geimer came forward years ago to publicly identify herself and say she had forgiven Polanski, Boston Herald reports.
It was also reported, Woody Allen and Martin Scorsese are among the directors who have signed a petition calling for release. Debra Winger has issued a statement. L.A. Times columnist Patrick Goldstein compares his story to Jean Valjean's in "Les Miserables." Washington Post columnist Anne Applebaum blogs that his arrest is "outrageous."
A French minister goes further and calls it "sinister," although apparently many people in France are outraged that the minister is outraged, meaning you may not want to break out the freedom fries just yet. Of course, Polanski was born in France, ran to France, lives in Paris and calls French fries "pommes frites," Denver Post reports.