Swiss Put Polanski Extradition On Hold

Swiss officials have put extradition proceedings against Roman Polanski on hold until a California appeals court decides on whether the director can be sentenced from afar in his 1977 prosecution for having sex with a minor.

The Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office requested extradition after the Swiss nabbed Polanski last summer. The director fled to Europe in 1978, claiming that an L.A. judge reneged on a deal that would have sentenced for the light time (42 days of psychiatric evaluation) he had already served. His lawyers recently appealed to have the state's 2nd District court rule that he should be sentenced "in absentia."

"The [Swiss] Justice Ministry will decide on the extradition only after the California Court of Appeal has decided whether to hold proceedings in absentia," Justice Ministry spokesman Folco Galli told Associate Press. "This action allows the extradition process to adapt to the U.S. proceedings."

Polanski's lawyers argue that alleged improper contact between the now-deceased judge in his 1977 case and a prosecutor should discount the D.A.'s case. But the modern-day D.A.'s office maintains that Polanski is a fugitive who should come to L.A. to face the music.

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