Los Angeles judge denies Polanski bid to close 1977 child sex case

Wed Dec 24, 2014 3:47pm EST
 
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By Alex Dobuzinskis

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A Los Angeles judge has declined a bid from attorneys for Roman Polanski to close the 1977 child sex case against the Oscar-winning director, a court spokeswoman said on Wednesday.

The decision by Los Angeles Superior Court Judge James Brandlin on Tuesday is the latest defeat for the filmmaker in having the case dismissed without returning to the United States.

Polanski's attorneys had filed court papers last week seeking an evidentiary hearing on what they called prosecutorial and judicial misconduct in the case in a bid to have it dismissed, at least in part to allow Academy Award-winning director of "The Pianist" to travel freely without the threat of extradition.

"While this court is empowered to order an evidentiary hearing, it may also exercise its discretion by declining to do so," Brandlin wrote in a nine-page ruling.

The judge added that Polanski "forfeited his right to avail himself of the authority of this court under the fugitive disentitlement doctrine" but could return to California to obtain an evidentiary hearing.

The director's lawyers have fought for years to have the case thrown out on claims that Polanski was a victim of judicial and prosecutorial misconduct. Courts have ruled they cannot address the issues unless he returns to California.

Polanski, 81, was charged in 1977 with raping a 13-year-old girl in Los Angeles after plying her with champagne and drugs. He pleaded guilty to having unlawful sex with a minor.

But the director of such films as "Rosemary's Baby" and "Chinatown" fled to France before sentencing, fearing the judge would impose more prison time than the 42 days he had spent behind bars for a psychiatric evaluation.   Continued...

 
Polish-French film director Roman Polanski stands inside a coffin as he takes part in the presentation of the musical "Le Bal des Vampires" (Dance of the Vampires) at the Mogador theater in Paris March 17, 2014. REUTERS/Jacky Naegelen