Debate continues over misconduct charges

Does Roman Polanski have to return to L.A. in order to get 32-year-old sexual misconduct charges dismissed? L.A. County’s D.A. office says he does, but his attorneys don’t agree.

On Tuesday, the D.A.’s office argued that the director, as a fugitive from justice, is not entitled to have his motion for dismissal entertained until he surrenders to the court. This filing came one day after the director’s legal team suggested that was not necessarily the case.

Polanski’s attorneys reopened his bid to have his name cleared on Dec. 2, when they filed a document seeking dismissal of the decades-old charges on grounds of misconduct by the D.A.’s Office and L.A. County Superior Court. In Monday’s filing, attorney Chad Hummel argued that the case should be removed from L.A. County’s jurisdiction because of that misconduct.

The D.A.’s Office did not counter those allegations in its filing. Deputy D.A. David Walgren said Polanski could take up any such claims after surrendering to the court. He further pointed out that the alleged misconduct occurred after Polanski pleaded guilty to a felony.

However, Polanski attorney Chad Hummel suggested that the D.A. is taking this tactic “to avoid scrutiny of all the misdeeds by focusing on the single issue of whether or not Mr. Polanski needs to be present for a Court hearing.” The misconduct charges, Hummel noted, are “at the heart of our request to dismiss the case.” He then reiterated the team’s stance that the case should be moved out of L.A. County.

A hearing is skedded for Jan. 21 in L.A. County Superior Court.

Polanski’s bid for dismissal hinges on footage in “Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired,” the HBO documentary. In a docu interview, then- Deputy D.A. David Wells admits discussing the case with Judge Lawrence Rittenband before Polanski was to be sentenced in 1978. Polanski, who had already pleaded guilty to unlawful sexual misconduct with a minor, fled to Europe and has remained a fugitive ever since.

The D.A. Office said this Polanski’s motion to dismiss the charges should be dismissed and taken off the calendar until he surrenders to the court.

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