Filmmaker Roman Polanski on Monday lost another bid to end his 1970s rape case without serving more jail time when a Los Angeles judge ruled the French-Polish director could not seek relief from the courts while still a fugitive. Polanski, who lives in France, failed to advance any substantially new arguments in the four-decade-old case involving a 13-year-old girl during a volley of recent legal filings and a hearing in March, Superior Court Judge Scott Gordon said.
Gordon, in a 13-page written ruling, said Polanski, 83, “cannot avail himself of the court while standing in contempt of it.”
France, where Polanski was born to Polish parents, has refused to extradite the filmmaker, who did not travel to Los Angeles in 2003 to accept the Academy Award he won for directing the World War Two film “The Pianist.”
During the March hearing Polanski’s attorney, Harland Braun, asked Gordon to rule that his client had served his time behind bars in 1977, when he spent 42 days in jail while awaiting sentencing for the rape of a 13-year-old girl.
With that assurance, the director would fly from Paris immediately to the United States for sentencing, Braun said.
Following Gordon’s ruling, Braun said the judge had failed to address the “central issue” in the case – emails that he claims show that the presiding judge of the Los Angeles Superior court had violated court rules by telling a colleague how to handle the high-profile.
“You’re not going to find a word about that (in Gordon’s ruling). He simply ignores it,” Braun said. “Rather than lecture Roman Polanski and all the lawyers, talk about the emails.”
Polanski’s case has been a cause celebre for 40 years when, following 1977 guilty plea and time in jail, he fled the United States, fearing a plea bargain with prosecutors would be overruled and that he would get a lengthy prison term.
Polanski, whose films include “Rosemary’s Baby,” “Chinatown” and “Tess,” was arrested on U.S. warrants in both Poland and Switzerland during the past decade but both countries ultimately declined to extradite him.
Victim Samantha Geimer has said she believes Polanski’s exile has been punishment enough.
Braun has said Polanski wants to visit the California grave of his wife, Sharon Tate, who was murdered in Los Angeles by followers of Charles Manson in 1969.