Swiss authorities announced this morning that Roman Polanski has been set free from house arrest and will not be extradited to Los Angeles, citing a flaw in the U.S. extradition request. Polanski had been in Swiss custody since last September, after his arrest at the request of DA Steve Cooley on decades-old charges of sex with a minor. “He’s a free man,” Justice Minister Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf told a news conference in Bern. From the L.A. Times:
In its decision Monday, the Swiss justice department said it could not exclude the possibility that the extradition request was "undermined by a serious fault," because the U.S. had failed to turn over certain documents requested by the Swiss with regard to the case.
Specifically, the Swiss wanted to determine whether the 42 days Polanski already served in a Los Angeles jail would have been considered sufficient time served for having sex with a minor.
Also, Swiss authorities said the U.S. had known since 2006 that Polanski regularly visited Switzerland to stay in his chalet in Gstaad yet did not file any action against him until last year. That gave Polanski a reasonable expectation that Switzerland was a safe place for him to be.
"Roman Polanski would not have decided to go to the film festival in Zürich in September 2009 if he had not trusted that the journey would not entail any legal disadvantages for him," the Swiss justice ministry said.