Roman Polanski must be biting his nails this month. In fact, we'd be surprised if he had any left. His freedom, or lack thereof, is coming down the wire. On Wednesday a Los Angeles judge scheduled a hearing for Jan. 22 on whether the fugitive director could be sentenced from afar — and possibly let off the hook for time served. Now Swiss officials say they could decide on whether to hand him over to Los Angeles authorities as early as this month.
If that happens, and Polanski hasn't received a time-served sentence by then, he could be behind bars in Los Angeles in time for Valentine's Day. The Swiss Justice Ministry states, however, that its decision on the Los Angeles District Attorney's request to extradite the director could also come in February.
Polanski was convicted in 1977 for having sex with a minor, a 13-year-old girl who claimed she was drugged and raped. He served 42 days of “psychiatric evaluation” and says that he expected that would be the end of it until a judge in early 1978 indicated he could be sentenced to some time behind bars.
Polanski took off for France and has been there pretty much ever since … until September. He left for Switzerland to pick up an award. The District Attorney caught wind of the trip and had the director picked up by Swiss authorities. He's now under house arrest at his Swiss chalet.
Last month an appeals court judge suggested the director could be sentenced from afar, “in absentia,” and his lawyers made a request for just such a decision Wednesday. The appeals court stated that it was possible that the director could get off for time already served — the psychiatric evaluation — but the Los Angeles Times noted that older men convicted of having sex with a minor today often receive sentences of a year or more behind bars.