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Tate's sister defends Polanski

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Jan 07, 2010 | 4:00am EST

Lawyers for Polanski are seeking to have him sentenced while under house arrest in a ski chalet in Switzerland, where he is battling extradition to the U.S. to face sentencing over a 1977 charge of unlawful sex with a minor.

He pleaded guilty to the accusation but fled to France before he could be handed his punishment.

And Debra Tate, whose actress sister wed the filmmaker in 1968 before her tragic murder a year later (69), is hoping Polanski will be granted his request to be sentenced in absentia.

Tate wants the case to be concluded before it becomes too costly and garners the victim, Samantha Geimer, who was 13 years old at the time, any more unwanted publicity.

She tells U.S. talk show host Larry King, "She's (Geimer's) a mother. She's got her own children. This has got to put her in a very uncomfortable position at best. And I think that it's very inappropriate on behalf of the L.A. D.A.'s (District Attorney's) office to pursue this case, especially in this fiscal climate. Perhaps there is an end we can reach without spending two million dollars on a trial, which is what it would usually cost."

And Tate argues that Polanski has suffered enough throughout the decades-long ordeal, adding, "I think in France it's a normal way of life. It's very well known that it's a right of passage. Younger women with older men, older women with younger men... To tell you the truth, I believe that at this point in time there are victims on both sides of the fence. There's victims in our legal system that have been taken advantage of on both sides...

"I catch a lot of riff (criticism) for taking the position that I take. However, people weren't around at that time (in the 1970s). I was. I do know the details and the circumstances. I do believe that there were exceptions that a fair court should take into consideration. And even as a victim's right advocate, I'm not necessarily in line with the current three strikes laws, the way they are. I think that we are definitely over-penalised in the state of California. And we need to recheck things. Incarceration is the number one business in the state of California now."

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