Why did Switzerland refuse to extradite fugitive rapist Roman Polanski back to America? Apparently, because of a paperwork mistake.

Swiss officials tell the AP that they wanted to know whether Polanski had already served his sentence. So they asked the US Justice Department to send them some transcripts from his case. But, in what was apparently a mix-up, the US judge in the case "was told that the Swiss did not request that information." And, voila:

The letter [from Swiss officials] blamed the denial of extradition solidly on the refusal by the Justice Department to show transcripts of testimony by the film director's original prosecutor to Swiss officials.

"Since the additional documents requested were not transmitted in full, extradition of Roman Polanski to the United States of America is thus denied," said the letter.

So, it now appears that Roman Polanski was not freed due to his great art, or to make some statement about US justice; but rather, because somebody fucked up on sending some paperwork. Oh well. Richard Cohen will take whatever he can get.