Director's attorneys had asked to dismiss sex case
LOS ANGELES (AP) — An appeals court on Thursday denied Roman Polanski’s latest attempt to end his decades-old sex case, a move that could set the stage for the fugitive director’s return to the United States.
The California Second District Court of Appeal denied Polanski’s petition to sentence the fugitive director in absentia. Polanski’s appeal also had sought the appointment of a special counsel to investigate misconduct into the director’s case.
Polanski’s attorneys had been asking for the director to be sentenced to time served.
The appeals court did not issue an opinion in the case.
The court’s decision not to revisit Polanski’s case came hours after it denied a request by Polanski’s victim, Samantha Geimer, to have the case dismissed.
Swiss authorities have said they were awaiting the decision by the court on Polanski’s appeal before deciding whether to extradite the “Rosemary’s Baby” director. He is under house arrest in the luxury resort of Gstaad.
Polanski was accused in 1977 of plying Geimer, then age 13, with champagne and part of a Quaalude pill, then raping her at Jack Nicholson’s house.
Polanski was indicted on six felony counts, including rape by use of drugs, child molesting and sodomy. He later pleaded guilty to one count of unlawful sexual intercourse.
Authorities are seeking Polanski’s extradition from Switzerland so he can be sentenced on the charge. The Academy Award-winning director fled the United States on the eve of sentencing in 1978.
“The appellate court read the briefs and made what we feel is the appropriate decision,” district attorney’s spokeswoman Sandi Gibbons said in a statement. She said the office would have no further comment.
A spokesman for Polanski’s attorneys did not have an immediate comment on the decision.
Polanski appealed a Los Angeles judge’s decision to not sentence the director in absentia or schedule an evidentiary hearing in March. In his defense filings, his lawyers cited new evidence provided by the original prosecutor in the case who testified in a recent series of secret sessions that he tried to disqualify the original judge in 1977 on grounds of misconduct but was ordered by his superiors not to do so.
The transcripts of those closed-door proceedings remain sealed.
Geimer’s attorneys had also sought to have the transcripts unsealed. They also asked the appeals court to dismiss the case against Polanski, arguing recent changes to California’s constitution gave her more rights as a victim to influence the case.
Prosecutors disagreed, saying voters’ inclusion of a Bill of Rights in the state constitution did not give Geimer or other crime victims the authority to end prosecutions of crimes.