Los Angeles state Sen. Gloria Romero and several Sacramento colleagues signed a letter supporting county District Attorney Steve Cooley's efforts to extradite Roman Polanski, who admitted to having unlawful sexual intercourse with a 13-year-old before fleeing to France in 1978.
Polanski was nabbed nearly a month ago en route to a film festival in Switzerland, and Cooley wants him back in town to face the music. The show of support, including the signatures of state Sen. Leland Yee, Assemblywoman Mary Salas, and Speaker Karen Bass, is part of a counter-tide against the auteur director, whose encounter with the girl was often seen as nothing more than a slight lapse in judgment in ever-liberal Hollywood.
Romero argues in the letter that, on the occasion of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, "it is important to document the Polanski case because of the documented correlation between domestic violence and sexual assualt."
Polanski "should be returned to face sentencing as well as face his past," Romero writes. "Anything short of this undermines a fundamental premise that justice is blind and no one is above the law."
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Social standards have changed, and a director caught having sex with a 13-year-old girl today would likely face tougher public scrutiny. But some in Hollywood (Woody Allen, Jonathan Demme, Michael Mann, Sam Mendes, Mike Nichols, Martin Scorsese and Steven Soderbergh) still support the director, whose films, including Chinatown, are considered by many to represent the summit of the industry's artistic output.