LAPD Det. Philip Vannatter Angry That Roman Polanski Won't Face Music In L.A.
Following this week's news that Swiss authorities won't extradite Roman Polanski to the United States to face sentencing in Los Angeles for his 1977 sex-with-a-minor conviction, the detective who originally arrested the director expressed anger over the 33-year-old case's apparent end.
"He should be in jail," former Los Angeles police Det. Philip Vannatter told the New York Daily News. "I don't care that he won an Oscar. He's still a bad person for raping a 13-year-old girl."
Swiss authorities argued that testimony from a former prosecutor that could have indicated Polanski already served time under a deal with the District Attorney's office and the late judge in the case was not forwarded to them -- so they had to decline extradition.
Polanski was convicted of having sex with a minor as part of a plea deal, but prosecutors argued he actually raped a 13-year-old girl after getting her intoxicated. Sensing that he might face more time than the 42 days he spent in "psychiatric evaluation" as part of the purported deal, the director fled to France in 1978. He was nabbed traveling to Switzerland last summer and was being held under house arrest while Swiss officials considered extradition.
"He should have been tried 33 years ago for rape and sodomy and juvenile drugs instead of plea bargaining down the charges and getting a chance to run" the 69-year-old Vannatter told the Daily News. "I was against that from day one."
Meanwhile Polanski's attorneys on Tuesday called once more for an investigation into alleged prosecutorial misconduct in the case. The lawyers want in inquiry into how Polanski's purported plea deal apparently fell apart, possibly at the hands of a prosecutor, and why the D.A.'s office refused to turn over testimony to Swiss authorities.
"That investigation can and should be conducted now by a fair and impartial third party, including even a commission appointed by the governor's office or the attorney general, and the results should be made public,'' according to a statement by the attorneys.
-With reporting from City News Service. Got news? Email us.