Southern California -- this just in

« Previous Post | L.A. NOW Home | Next Post »

Judge: Polanski must come to L.A. to be sentenced in child-sex case

A judge has rejected director Roman Polanski's bid to be sentenced in absentia in a three-decade-old child-sex case.

Judge Peter Espinoza ruled that Polanski, 76, will have to come back Los Angeles to be sentenced.

"I have made it clear he needs to surrender," the judge said.

Polanski's attorneys said they would appeal.

The famed film director is under house arrest in Switzerland, where he is waiting to learn whether the Swiss government will extradite him to the U.S. to face sentencing for having sex with a 13-year-old girl.

Polanski received some support this week from his victim.

In papers filed in Superior Court on Thursday, Samantha Geimer's lawyer accused the Los Angeles County district attorney's office of violating state victims' rights statutes by not consulting Geimer before seeking extradition.

In the filing, attorney Lawrence Silver wrote that Marsy's Law -- a 2008 statute passed by ballot initiative -- gives crime victims the right "to reasonably confer with the prosecuting agency, upon request, regarding ... the determination whether to extradite the defendant."

The attorney said he wrote to prosecutors in July and made clear that Geimer wanted to meet with them and that she planned to "exercise every right that she may have under the Victims' Bill of Rights." Two months later, Polanski was arrested in Zurich on a three-decade-old arrest warrant, and prosecutors subsequently submitted a formal extradition request. A Swiss court has yet to decide the matter.

Hours after the documents were filed, the district attorney's office fired back with its own filing.

Deputy Dist. Atty. David Walgren wrote that over the last year, Geimer and her attorney ignored repeated offers to discuss the case. The filing included copies of 11 e-mails that Walgren sent to Silver -- five of which contained offers to talk about the case.

"Despite multiple invitations to meet and confer, Mr. Silver has never once responded to these entreaties," Walgren wrote. He suggested the victims' rights statute was being twisted to benefit Polanski.

Marsy's Law "was intended to protect the rights of victims. It was not intended to be vicariously used by a defendant to avoid prosecution," Walgren wrote.

Geimer was 13 at the time of the crime and is now a wife and mother living in Hawaii. She has never changed her account of being raped and sodomized by Polanski during a photo shoot at Jack Nicholson's house in 1977, but her stance toward Polanski changed in the years after she and the director settled a civil suit brought against him for sexual assault and other claims.

Under the terms of the 1993 confidential agreement, he agreed to pay her at least $500,000.

-- Harriet Ryan

Comments () | Archives (28)

Sort of funny that even though Polanski agreed to pay the 'victim' $ 500,000.00
she had to take him to court to force him to pay up. Polanski never paid her the full $ 500,000.00

What a dirtball!!!!

It is time time for Roman Polanski to take his medicine. He nneds toserve his orginal jail time and 5 years for fleeing the country.

Give me 500,000 dollars and I will say all kinds of nice things about you...

just keep him in his swiss villa, til he is no more,save the tax payers money.

The judge and prosecutors are not chasing justice.
They are chasing the bubble reputation.
The victims rights? lol.
The victim was paid half a million dollars.
That kind of money will open anyones legs.
Shut up and leave the man alone.

Hear, hear!!!

I see. So Polanski paid his victim $500K to shut up and move to Hawaii.

Nice try. Still doesn't get him off the hook.

Happy to see the DA's office holding Polanski responsible.

This crime happened over 30 years ago and the victim has asked to move on. Maybe the money made that happen, who knows, but her request should be respected.

What happened to her is awful and should never happen to anyone, but what makes me so angry, is this is not about the crime victim and the accused; it's about the prosecutors and judge that want to gain fame and power. How much is the costing the people of LA?

Why can't someone come up with a solution to finally resolve this case without the power struggle?

I would contend that those of you, including the DA, that insist on putting this victim through additional mental trauma, are all guilty of raping her again. Shame on you for what you are doing to her in your own twisted sense of justice.

I have awarded Mr. Polanski the Greatest Director Ever Award, including a cash prize of $50. All he has to do is come to Los Angeles to collect it.

I hope he gets the maximum, including whatever charges come with fleeing prosecution.

And for those that say they should leave Polanski alone, it doesn't matter what the victim says now. A crime was committed. End of story.

He raped a child of 13. End of story!

Well said Mr. Walgren.

LA judges love digging holes, can we all say prosecutorial misconduct. The Swiss would be idiots to get any more involved in LA's little circus. 32 years and you can't close out the case points to misconduct. If LA had any competency this would be 30 year old history we never heard of - courts everyday settle 100's of these issues - why can't LA

Wow, I cannot believe somebody actually said it doesn't matter what the victim thinks or wants.

All the comments point in the same direction----You people don't know, read nor understand the case, what happened and why he fled.
Go back and look at the facts---specifically the "plea agreement" that was going to be broken by the judge at the time. Hard to say whether he would have broken the deal, since he is now dead. But, my feeling is simple---There are MORE important things to deal with in LA County than a 76 Yr old man. How about Jobs, the Economy, Gangs, Drive-bys, Drug dealing, etc. But----wait, they want to spend taxpayer money----in a screwed up economy, to extradite a man on a crime comitted over 30 yrs ago. I am not "dismissing" the crime, but----I am saying there are "priorities". And it is amazing that the Number 1 priority is Polanski. Hmmmmmm. No wonder why cities and counties and the State are facing financial crises.

It's not a child-sex case. It's a child-rape case. Please don't sugarcoat it.

He will never return to the U.S. and he shouldn't. The judge ran a bait-and-switch operation on him last time and he has good right to worry it might happen again.

Roman Polanski is essentially being tried twice for the same crime, which he admitted and served the time in the state facility that was agreed to by all parties.

Ask Roman -- he can solve it by coming back. He is soley responsible for everything. Think about it.
Roman Polanski -- Buggerer of Children.
The longer it drags on, he will be remembered for this.
He has a 16 year old daughter in France.
does he bugger her too? Or allow other men to?

As a Christian, I agree w/ Samantha Geimer's lawyer that "Her suffering must end." Even Deputy District Attorney David Walgren agrees! It's Polanski who is not allowing Ms. Geimer's suffering to end by fighting extradition.

As a Christian, I agree when Ms. Geimer says she's disturbed by how the criminal case was handled... and I'm more disturbed how Polanski sexually molested her at thirteen!

As a Christian, I agree with Polanski's attorney Chad Hummel who argues that his client "left because a corrupt judge was going to sentence him a second time." Said Judge died twenty years ago... the Bogey-man is gone!

In Jesus' name, let Justice be served. Amen.

oh wait, but he's an ARTIST. That excuses him from behavior that would land an ordinary sucker in jail for LIFE, right? God this country (world?) makes me sick sometimes

And who is going to pay for that? Who is going to pay to fly Roman Polanski all the way from Switzerland to Los Angeles? Who is going to pay to house him and feed him and protect him until the trial? And how long will the trial go on for? Who's going to pay for that?

The answer: The taxpayer.

I'd be outraged. California is already facing huge debt and budget cuts, and that should have been part of the judge's consideration. That along with the fact that Roman already served his time and did EVERYTHING that was required of him. Any sane man in his predicament would have done the same. The original judge was forced to retire because of his behavior and that should be an automatic termination of any further proceedings. Even the two lawyers (prosecution and defense) were bewildered by the judge's behavior and acknowledge Roman did everything he was supposed to.

A trial in absentia is the most logical and affordable solution, considering that it won't make a damn bit of difference on the outcome whether his presence is there or not. Let the whole thing go for the sake of everyone's sanity and for the sake of the city's, county's, and state's budget.

"Despite multiple invitations to meet and confer, Mr. Silver has never once responded to these entreaties," Walgren wrote. He suggested the victims' rights statute was being twisted to benefit Polanski.

Marsy's Law "was intended to protect the rights of victims. It was not intended to be vicariously used by a defendant to avoid prosecution," Walgren wrote.

Deputy District Attorney Mr. Walgren -

' Thou Doth Protesteth Too Much'

Mr. Silver is the attorney representing the rights and interests of Ms. Geimer
pertaining to your office's case against the defendant Mr. Polanski.

Mr. Silver has submitted filings to the court which seek to assert her rights
under 'Marcy's Law'.

Has the attorney representing defendant Mr. Polanski submitted filings
concerning 'Marcys Law'?

If not, then your statement, Mr. Walgren, would be an egregious attempt
at "twisting" and misrepresenting the issues at this hearing.

I wasn't aware that the court was now accepting copies of "e-mails"
as a substitute for verified certification of posting by U.S. Mail.

Do you also submit your affidavit of "e-mailing" along with the copies of
the e-mails.

We can see that the D.A.'s office was thorough in their efforts to include Ms.
Geimer per "Marcy's Law" in the extradition decision for this extremely
high profile case.

That is why they took the step of scheduling a meeting for Ms. Geimer and
her attorney to discuss these issues. They gave proper notice of the time and place of the meeting.
Then if Ms.Geimer and her attorney had failed to attend the meeting or to respond in any way - at least the D.A.'s office has met the scope and spirit of their obligation's under "Marcy's Law".

Pardon me, I must be guilty of a little bit of "vicarious twisting".

That is what the D.A.'s office "would have" done "if" they were sincerely
thorough in their efforts to respect Ms. Geimers rights under "Marcy's Law".

Of course, their is no reason for the D.A.'s office to respect, protect or give consideration to Ms. Geimer in any way.

The D.A doesn't need to be bothered with anything having to do with Ms. Geimer.

They are done with Ms. Geimer.

They have been done with her since the day they got what they wanted almost
33 years ago.

They were done with her the moment she finished her testimony to the grand

She did perfect.

Well, almost perfect.

It appears she may have read the notecards in the wrong order when questioned to describe the sodomy.

1933-1945-Roman Polanski first experienced a lack of integrity in how he was treated by a Government from the German Nazi regime which threatened his life as a child.

1969 -After Polanski had worked hard in filmmaking and was successful in his life, Roman Polanski’s wife and child, and friends were murdered at his home in California while he was in Europe.

California blamed him for the murders initially, until the real murderers were convicted.

1977-1978- Roman Polanski may have been trapped, or may have made a mistake in acting in the same way in California as Paris.

He then tried to make it right, but the California system didn’t help him, and it turned into a life threatening situation because a California Judge wanted to illegally extort Polanski’s right to fight deportation.

And if Polanski did not give in to the Santa Monica Judge's illegal coercion, then he would be faced with a harsher prison term.

The Santa Monica Courthouse Judge was also about to renege on a plea bargain agreement, to which all parties had agreed previously, including the prosecutor Roger Gunson.

Cut to January 22nd 2010

A brand new judge in Los Angeles, has a brand new mantra and says,

“I choose to insist on the integrity of the judicial system that he [Roman Polanski] appear. The motion [for sentencing Polanski in absentia] is denied.”

What the Judge says sounds good, but ignores the totality of the circumstances, including the lack of integrity in the earlier Judicial proceedings in 1977/8.

Judge Peter Espinoza’s proclamation of Judicial integrity is the equivalent of the Emperor’s new clothes, since even though this Judge may have Judicial integrity, it still does not wipe out the prior Judicial and Prosecutorial misconduct from the same Los Angeles court in 1977/8. Nor should the new Judge's proclamation of judicial integrity cover up the prior Judicial & Prosecutorial misconduct.

Roman Polanski was not the cause of the Judicial and prosecutorial misconduct against him 32 years ago, but he and Samantha Geimer are still being victimized by it even today.

In addition according to the Washington Post of Feb 15, 1978,

“SANTA MONICA, Calif. — The “in absentia” sentencing of Roman Polanski was postponed indefinitely yesterday when the film director’s lawyer charged that the judge in the case was prejudiced and demanded that he be disqualified…”

If Santa Monica Judge Laurence J. Rittenband on 14th Feb 1978 was going to sentence Roman Polanski “in absentia” then it follows that Judge Peter Espinoza can do the same thing now.

As Judge Peter Espinoza did not want to sentence Roman Polanski “in absentia” on January 22nd 2010, Judge Espinoza’s ruling is inconsistent with the former Judge Laurence J. Rittenband, since Judge Rittenband did want to sentence Roman Polanski “in absentia” on 14th February 1978.

Therefore Judge Peter Espinoza’s 22nd January ruling is prejudicial to the people involved in
Polanski 's case, and continues the unjust administration of justice in Los Angeles County 32 years later.

1 2 | »


Recommended on Facebook


In Case You Missed It...


About L.A. Now
L.A. Now is the Los Angeles Times’ breaking news section for Southern California. It is produced by more than 80 reporters and editors in The Times’ Metro section, reporting from the paper’s downtown Los Angeles headquarters as well as bureaus in Costa Mesa, Long Beach, San Diego, San Francisco, Sacramento, Riverside, Ventura and West Los Angeles.
Have a story tip for L.A. Now?
Please send to newstips@latimes.com
Can I call someone with news?
Yes. The city desk number is (213) 237-7847.


Get Alerts on Your Mobile Phone

Sign me up for the following lists: