Roman Polanski’s Effort to Dismiss Rape Case Rebuffed Again by Judge

Roman Polanski
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For the second time in four months, Judge Scott Gordon on Friday refused to dismiss the 40-year-old rape case against director Roman Polanski.

In his ruling, Gordon reiterated that no deal can be worked out before Polanski returns to the U.S. and submits to the court’s authority. Gordon made the ruling in spite of the pleas of Samantha Geimer, who was 13 when Polanski raped her in 1977, and who urged Gordon to set the case to rest once and for all “as an act of mercy to myself and my family.”

“The defendant in this matter stands as a fugitive and refuses to comply with court orders,” Gordon wrote. “As eloquently described by Ms. Geimer, his conduct continues to harm her and compounds the trauma of the sexual assault committed against her that gave rise to this case.”

Polanski, 84, has lived as a fugitive in Paris since fleeing California in 1978. He had already pleaded guilty and served 42 days at Chino state prison for a psychiatric observation, but had not been sentenced. According to his attorneys, he feared that Judge Laurence Rittenband would cave to political pressure and renege on a deal to serve no additional time.

As a French citizen, Polanski is not subject to extradition to the U.S. Courts in Poland and Switzerland have also refused to extradite Polanski. However, the director remains subject to an international red notice, which makes it difficult for him to travel.

In the last six months, Polanski has made several efforts to dispose of the case. Harland Braun, his attorney, has accused the court system of conspiring to mistreat his client, has filed motions seeking to unseal a prosecutor’s transcript, and sought to compel the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office’s to disclose its position on sentencing.

The D.A.’s office countered that Polanski’s attorneys are relitigating issues that previous judges have already dealt with, and argued that Polanski cannot try his case “from afar.”

At a hearing in June, Braun told the judge that he had “done everything I can to resolve this case.”

“Well, with one exception,” the judge countered — referring to the possibility that Polanski could come to court.