BEL AIR—Lis Wiehl is the famed radio and television legal analyst who is seen regularly on Bill O’Reilly’s “The Factor” on Fox News and on O’Reilly’s radio program. Just before Lis went on “The Factor” on Tuesday, the beautiful former prosecutor, who is also a best selling author, had a chat with me and offers our readers her opinions about the latest legal salvo in the case of the State of California vs. Roman Polanski. By now everyone knows the Swiss authorities decided not to live up to their side of the extradition treaty they have with the U.S.
Wiehl also breaks news on a new novel she’s writing, which will be released in April 2011. You hear it from her own words first! Lis is constantly in town to promote “Triple Threat,” her most recently released novel, which is available at bookstores across the nation and also on Amazon. Lis is the wife of a defense attorney and CNN and CBS legal analyst, who also has become an author of the book, “How Can You Defend Those People?”
Lis remains a tireless advocate for the rights of victims of domestic violence, and she talks about the sobering effect the Polanski case may have on victims in the future who may fear reporting crimes of violence against them and others, if the alleged perpetrators are wealthy and/or famous.
Q-Lis, I am sure you are just as surprised as I am about the turn of events and having the Swiss authorities refuse to extradite Roman Polanski to the United States to face sentencing for a crime he pleaded guilty to. What do you think will be the future of extradition treaties between Switzerland and the U.S.?
A-“The treaty will probably remain unchanged. In Switzerland, 95 percent of extradition requests are granted. Switzerland is not supposed to evaluate the merits of the request, but only on technical and administrative grounds. Swiss officials wanted paperwork concerning 42 days that Polanski has already served in prison counting towards more jail time he may face. But the reason they couldn’t get the paperwork is because Polanski fled before he was sentenced”¦how flawed is that?”
Q-Can Polanski be picked up again if he goes into another country that the U.S. has an extradition treaty with?
A-“Yes, he can still be arrested. He remains a fugitive. Switzerland found the U.S.’ request to be faulty, so Polanski cannot be arrested there. As long as he remains in Switzerland or France, he won’t be extradited, but if he goes elsewhere, U.S. treaties dictate that he be arrested and extradited back to the U.S.”
Q-Do you think this will have long term repercussions on victims of sexual abuse in the future, fearing that someone’s fame, wealth and notoriety could make them choose not to report crimes?
A-“Yes, and in some ways that’s the real tragedy of this.”
Q-How is the book promotion going? Our readers have been very interested in your recent book. Are you going to be doing fiction again in the future?
A-“Oh , yes, ”˜Heart of Ice’ comes out next April”¦and the ”˜Triple Threat’ is at its very best!”
Q-Any chance we may see this very story we are discussing play out in one of your upcoming novels?
A-“Could be. Of course I will change the names to protect the guilty.”
More from Lis in future editions of Canyon News.
Photograph Courtesy: Kyle Widder Photography