By Mark Memmott

France and Poland want Switzerland to release 76-year-old film director Roman Polanski, who was arrested Sunday in Zurich on an international warrant stemming from his 1977 California conviction for having unlawful sexual intercourse with a 13-year-old girl.

Polanski (Chinatown, Rosemary's Baby) has dual French-Polish citizenship and has been a fugitive from the U.S. since shortly after his guilty plea 32 years ago.

As the Associated Press says, Polanski's victim long ago stepped forward to identify herself and to say she wants the case against him dismissed. Samantha Geimer and Polanski earlier reached a financial settlement of an undisclosed amount.

In the Los Angeles Times today, columnist Patrick Goldstein makes the case that:

With the state legislature forced to make dramatic cuts in the prison budget and a three-judge federal panel having recently ordered California lawmakers to release as many as 40,000 inmates in response to the scandalous overcrowding of the California state prison system, it seems like an especially inauspicious time for the L.A. County district attorney's office to be spending some of our few remaining tax dollars seeing if it can finally, after all these years, put Roman Polanski behind bars.

Yesterday, the Times detailed the steps that the Los Angeles County district attorney's office took to secure the cooperation of Swiss authorities and get Polanski's arrested.

Earlier today on Morning Edition, NPR's Allison Keyes filed this report on the case:

Here's a question for the group:

Update at 11:02 a.m. ET: Polanski's lawyer says the director will fight extradition to the U.S., the AP reports.

categories: Crime

8:50 - September 28, 2009