Roman Polanski Denied Guarantee of No Jail Time in U.S. Return

Roman Polanski likely won’t be heading
back to the States anytime soon, as a Los
Angeles County judge has declined to assure
the director that he has served his time for a
1977 rape of a 13-year-old girl before he
returns.
After multiple failed extradition attempts by
U.S. prosecutors, the 83-year-old filmmaker
asked the court to order the L.A. County
District Attorney’s Office to state on the
record whether it would seek to have him
serve additional time if he returned to the
U.S. Alternatively, he asked to be sentenced
in absentia.
Polanski fled the country nearly 40 years
ago, after he heard late judge Laurence
Rittenband was going to change his
sentence from 90 days of psychiatric
evaluation to 50 years in prison. He served
42 days in jail before leaving the country
and nearly a year in Swiss prison in the late
2000s before authorities there decided to
reject an extradition request.
The L.A. Superior Court issued a statement
on Monday, announcing that judge Scott
Gordon denied Polanski’s motions. In a 13-
page order, Gordon held that Polanski’s
attorney Harland Braun cited no authority to
support his granting a motion that would
compel prosecutors to show their hand
regarding custody.
“The People have unambiguously stated
their desire to avoid discussing any
substantive issues regarding Polanski’s case
until he is physically present in the court’s
jurisdiction,” writes Gordon. “The District
Attorney is acting well within her discretion
to decline to state a position to a defendant
absent from court and in warrant status. …
Additionally, Polanski is not entitled to avail
himself of this court’s power to hear his
demands while he openly stands in contempt
of a legal order from this very court.”
Gordon denied Polanski’s request to be
sentenced from afar on similar grounds, and
added that the doctrine of res judicata bars
one trial judge from reconsidering the order
of another trial judge. Judge Peter Espinoza
denied the director’s request for sentencing
in absentia in 2010.
The L.A. district attorney’s office declined to
comment on Gordon’s ruling, which is
posted in full below. Braun has not yet
responded to a request for comment.
Braun also asked the court to unseal the
testimony of former Deputy District Attorney
Roger Gunson, who handled Polanski’s case
decades ago. A hearing on that motion is
set for April 26.
from hollywood reporter

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