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Appeals court denies Roman Polanski's bid to throw out sex case

A state appellate court has denied Roman Polanski's attempt to have his three-decade-old child sex case thrown out on the grounds of prosecutorial and judicial misconduct.

In a unanimous decision, a three-judge panel of the Court of Appeal 2nd District said a lower court judge did not err a year ago when he ruled that the acclaimed director, then a fugitive in France, had to surrender to U.S. authorities before pursuing the misconduct claims.

Lawyers for Polanski, now under house arrest in Switzerland pending possible extradition to Los Angeles, had argued earlier this month that the "fugitive disentitlement doctrine" cited by Superior Court Judge Peter Espinoza did not apply to the filmmaker because of the egregiousness of the misconduct alleged. But in a decision today, the justices disagreed. 

"We conclude that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in applying the fugitive disentitlement doctrine and refusing to consider dismissing the action," Justice Laurie D. Zelon wrote.

But referring to Polanski's claims of backroom dealings and other improprieties by the original trial judge, now deceased, and a prosecutor, she added, "We do not disregard the extremely serious allegations of judicial and prosecutorial misconduct that have been brought forward, but urge the parties to take steps to investigate and to respond to the claims."

-- Harriet Ryan

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Comments () | Archives (28)

Why is the drugging and forcible sodomizing of a child being euphemistically called by the LA Times a "three-decade-old child sex case"?

In previous Times articles it's also been called "illicit sex", as if Polanski's actions merely constituted statutory rape involving a consenting minor and not the undisputed violation of a 13-year-old girl followed by an escape from justice.

This child rapist fled the US because he knew he was guilty and was going to jail. The passage of time is irrelevant, he belongs in prison and that's where I hope he ends up. A creative monster is still a monster.

Hollywood wants to spring him...nice try. Look how they loved Obama? Polanski wrecked this girls life & he knew better. No 13 year old child can make an adult rape her as he had done. The past is now the present & he needs to pay for what he ran and hid from like a cockroach. Making a new life for himself & being older don't cut it. If he got sentenced when he was younger he would be OUT by now! Shame on his movie making friends & supporters, Shame. I was young and remember reading the details made me sick, and now he wants more play time! NO!

How ridiculous that a state (CA) extremely in debt and cutting corners at its residents and tax payers expense is continuing to waste money and time pursuing Mr Polanski when even his own victim has wanted this thrown out for years!! Obviously it is something personal on behalf of the courts, and some higher entity needs to step in, close this case, fire the DA currently pursuing this case and move on!

This is great. Now we can go back to the 1970s and start looking for other characters who got a little too wild for us. Did we punish all the Watergate scandal people completely? How about the people who tricked us into the Vietnam War? Maybe we can use this opportunity to go finally go after Neil Bush, the brother of "W," whose Denver-based Silverado Savings and Loan cost us taxpayers $1.3 billion. Certainly Neil Bush is more important than Polanski's fling with a teenage wannabe movie star.

Just so that we're all clear on this: Polanski drugged, raped and sodomized a child. That is not conjecture, personal opinion, or in dispute by anyone. It is rather an undisputed fact. Calling that "illegally having sex" just doesn't properly quite communicate what happened, does it?

It is a shame that such a talented man is also such a coward.

The appeals court agreed that claims of court officials misconduct
is extremely serious and should be investigated and reponded...
the appeals court is protecting the Constitution and the scales of
justice to make sure they were not altered or tampered with...it is
our checks and balances of democracy.

"How ridiculous that a state (CA) extremely in debt and cutting corners at its residents and tax payers expense is continuing to waste money and time pursuing Mr Polanski when even his own victim has wanted this thrown out for years!! Obviously it is something personal on behalf of the courts, and some higher entity needs to step in, close this case, fire the DA currently pursuing this case and move on! "

I see, so justice is only to be rendered when then state can afford it? That's absurd.

It is time for Roman Polanski to stop hidding out and come back to LA and face the law; just like anyone else who breaks the laws. He is just wasting time and eventually he will have to return regardless if he likes it or not. It is time for him to come back and get it over and done with. Maybe he is hoping that if he hides out look enough, he will die before returning to LA.

I don't remember the Watergate people raping children...anyway, we're lucky this didn't go to the 9th district Court of Appeals otherwise this child rapist would be a free man...

When this case was new news, I believed the lies of the Polanski camp that this was essentially witch-hunt over a completely consensual little interlude.

Now, I have read the court transcripts. It is clear that what really happened is a powerful man preyed upon the trust and naiveté of a young girl, drugged, raped and sodomized this 13 year old while she repeatedly said "NO" and tried to get her clothes back on, even though drugged.

The fact that Polanski has evaded justice for so long has no more bearing than when WWII death camp overseers sometimes managed to avoid justice for many years. Finally, Polanski should pay for his crimes!

What a strange argument... Because other people have done wrong things and not been punished sufficiently, we should ignore someone that drugged, raped, and sodomized a child; because this character just "got a little too wild for us." I don't really follow the logic, other than the fact that drugging, raping, and sodomizing a child is definitely a little too wild for me.

Every single comment I read comes from puritanical hypocrites - Yes, Mr. Polanski had sex with a 13 year old girl - 30 years ago. Nazis killed 25 million people and many of them are still wandering around. Uncaptured serial killers live in our midst. Rapists abduct, torture, rape, and kill women every day. This case is about a woman now who has forgiven him, an unpunihsed mother with an agenda who put her up to it, a unethical judge who reneged on Mr. Polanski's sentence for purposes of notoriety, a junkyard dog DA who has more serious current crime to deal with (or apparently not), and Mr. Polanski himself who has not committed any further breach of morally offesnsive acts and who had actually changed for the better. We all make mistakes and move on. You people need to get a life and let go of that old bone - it's casting a spotlight on your collectively stubborn ignorance.

Are you crazy? You every been sought out as a child by an adult, let alone rape. Obviously not. It is not a question of how long ago it was or what the victim wants. He ran, lived good for 30 years, still living in his mansion on house arrest. If CA is in deep financial trouble, pursuing Polanski will not remedy that. It just goes to show that some people have no morals....including you!

To Anabelle:
What a strange comment? Suggesting that we should let go and ignore pedaphile rapists because there are other bad people? The nazis that were caught (and some still are being caught/tried) were punished. The victim just wanted this to go away so we can't really describe her as forgiving him. You have a point that the judge on the case broke the rules but Polanski broke the rules by running.
Polanski has been lucky on this and his luck ran out.

Reads like when Polanski returns his attorney could refile this motion to dismiss. Polanski should start making arrangements for a long stay in Southern CA.

Roman needs to close this case and move on with his life. Delaying is causing needless suffering for the victim and their families.

"Lawyers for Polanski, now under house arrest in Switzerland pending possible extradition to Los Angeles . . ." Wow, even the lawyers are under house arrest? This must be serious.

Great decision. This pedophile thinks that money can buy his way out of this. In my opinion he committed a despicable act and must be held accountable for it. The Courts routinely jail convicted offenders of this crime. Why is this jerk afforded any special treatment?

I guess Anabel and Richard don't have any daughters because if they did they'd certainly not want them to undergo what Polanski's victim did on that terrible day many years ago.

The sooner this scumbag is permanently incarcerated the safer we will all be.

Anabelle, there's nothing ignorant in wanting justice for someone who has egregiously taken advantage of someone much smaller and younger than himself-- a girl whose age at the time of the crimes was five years (five years!) under the legal minimum for consentual sex. And we're hypocritical? How many of us asking for justice here do you think have liquored up a thirteen year-old, allowed her to take our prescription pills, then had sex with her? I can't speak for the others, but my guess would be zero. (If you doubt these details, I advise you go to thesmokinggun.com and read the transcripts and other documents related to the case, including the psych evaluation in which Polanski admits to all of the above.)

You say there are people walking among us who have committed horrendous crimes. But they're not at large because no one wants to bother catching and trying them-- it's because cops and prosecutors don't know who or where they are! And while the crimes Polanski committed fall well short of murder, attempting to capture someone who has done these things makes sense. And when your attempt succeeds, you then send him through the justice system.

Actually in this case, he's already gone through the system and received his sentence. Once he's here, the ball will be in his court if he wants to appeal. Oh yeah ... then there's the (relatively) new charge of fleeing justice he'll need to deal with.

Finally, you say the victim has forgiven him. You do know that she received $500,000 from him to settle a civil suit, don't you? If she's so forgiving, why did she pursue the civil case in the first place?

Why does the California Appellate Court Second District Division 7 expect people to spend their lifetime fighting Judicial Misconduct at Santa Monica Courthouse for no pay and give up their life and get dragged into the grave by the fighting,

when that Judicial Misconduct also permeates Justices within the California Court of Appeals Second District, who are not honest enough to admit their crime as Polanski did, because no-one is holding them accountable.

And who do these Judges think they are?- Kings?

There are many more fun things to do in life than fight abuse of power and Judicial Misconduct, which would give a person far , far far more happiness and would be far more profitable!!!

California Judges and Justices and the system need to get their act together, they should not abuse their power, or mete out cruel and unusual punishment, and other Judicial tricks, and they should also not protect California Government Officials and employees - over those who are vulnerable or those who are not American Citizens - because that is not justice and it just ain't fair!!!!

Roman Polanski and others have not signed on - to prop up the California Judicial System or be its guardians, and sit in California's jails for years and years and years, making a Mont Blanc of paperwork in an effort for freedom, while the California Judge's continues to be unfair and get their fat check.

Just as the American People no longer want to pay for Wall Street & the banks excesses and greed with their Las Vegas style behavior that brought this country to the brink of financial doom.

Get a clue California and practice what you preach Stop scapegoating Roman Polanski and his action to flee judicial misconduct, to divert attention away from your own Judicial sins.

Annabelle - A mistake is something more like a blunder, or something that came out with UNINTENTIONAL consequences. Regardless that it was 30 years ago, he was still in his 40s, and he drugged, sodomized and raped a 13 year old girl. I don't care if 50 years has passed, he needs to be held accountable. And don't even start to compare what Polanski did to what the Nazi soldiers did. And yes - if you have read the news recently, they are still being held accountable when their actions and who they are come to light.

People who defend Polanski are despicable. The fact you would rather look the other way, than hold a man accountable for his actions, makes you as much of a coward as Polanski is.

the logic some of the posters use here is: if a crime was committed a long time ago, and the perp has not been caught or prosecuted yet, then the DAs office should just forget about it, let bygones be bygones, water under the bridge, forgive and forget, etc. they reason that if the victim of the crime says to forget about it, then the entire justice system should also just close the case. they reason that if other present day criminals are on the loose, that state funds should be spent finding and prosecuting them instead. one poster even said that the state shouldn't even waste money and time prosecuting old crimes. finally, one poster's reasoning is there are nazis and serial killers running around, what's the big deal about a little child raping going on.

hopefully, when you summarize these type of comments , it should be clear to these posters how preposterous their reasoning is.

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