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January 23, 2010

Roman Polanski's request to be sentenced in abstentia is denied

This Los Angeles Times article provides the latest news in the Roman Polanski sentencing saga.  Here are the basics:

A Los Angeles County Superior Court judge Friday denied Roman Polanski's request to be sentenced in absentia, scuttling the director's latest bid to end his three-decade-old child sex case. Polanski hoped that such a sentencing would allow his lawyers to lay out evidence of judicial misconduct in his case and secure him a sentence of no further time behind bars.

Although a state appeals panel had suggested that Polanski be sentenced in absentia, as the director is facing extradition proceedings in Switzerland, Judge Peter Espinoza said he was not bound by the higher court's suggestion. Espinoza said he would not sentence Polanski as long as he remained a fugitive. "I have made it clear he needs to surrender," Espinoza said. Polanski, 76, is under house arrest at his chalet in Gstaad.

Friday's decision guarantees that the legal saga -- which began in 1977 when a 13-year-old girl accused the director of sexual assault -- will continue for a 33rd year at least.

In his ruling, Espinoza cited the fugitive disentitlement doctrine, a 19th century legal principle that bars a fugitive from calling on the help of a court while he is flouting its authority. The 2nd District Court of Appeal upheld the judge's application of the principle in December, but urged sentencing in absentia or other resolution that would address the misconduct claims.

Polanski's defense quickly vowed to appeal. Attorney Chad Hummel told the judge he was frustrated that the court was more interested in the director's physical presence than investigating the misconduct claims. "What your honor is saying . . . is you're not doing anything unless Mr. Polanski first shows up. And for what? A show," he said....

In his ruling, Espinoza also denied a request by the victim, Samantha Geimer, to order prosecutors to stop extradition proceedings on the grounds that they had not consulted with her before seeking Polanski's return. The judge cited evidence that prosecutors had repeatedly contacted her.

Some recent related Polanski posts (many of which have generated great comment threads):

January 23, 2010 at 09:11 AM | Permalink


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On Jan.19, we faxed and emailed an amicus curiae (http://www.solami.com/polanskiac.htm) to the currently presiding judge on the long-running Polanski case A334139, His Honor Peter P.Espinoza.

Upon verification with the Court clerk, we were advised by her that she would not be permitted and in fact would not relay the documents filed to Judge Epinoza, for "you are not representing Mr.Polanski, and you are not a lawyer". I advised her of the California courts' explicit provision for amicus curiae filings by experts and other third parties able and willing to assist the Court to dispose of the case at hand, but must have stumbled on somebody who never heard of even the possibility of such "friend of the court" filings, and wasn't even willing to submit the question of their admissability to someone who might be a bit more knowledgeable and cooperative, e.g. her Judge Epinoza. To no avail.

Accordingly, we'd like to hear comments and suggestions on the legal implications of what, seen from abroad, looks like a secretarial communication censure, and on possible remedies.

Anton Keller, Secretary, Swiss Investor Protection Association

Posted by: Anton Keller, Secretary, Swiss Investors Protection Association | Jan 23, 2010 4:23:41 PM

sounds to me like ANOTHER retard of a judge who needs a opening made in their head so some brains can get in!

Posted by: rodsmith3510 | Jan 23, 2010 8:07:18 PM

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