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20 March 2017, 10:27 | Max Haynes
LA Says Convicted Rapist Roman Polanski Won't Get Special Treatment If He Returns to US
Polanski, now a fugitive of justice, pled guilty to unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor in 1977. Prosecutors argue Polanski, who fled on the eve of sentencing in 1978, must return to a Los Angeles courtroom for the case to be resolved.
The hearing was the first time in seven years that a Los Angeles judge has considered Polanski's case, which dates to 1977. The trio met in Gordon's chambers in November, but a transcript of the discussion was sealed.
He was accused of plying a 13-year-old girl with champagne and part of a sedative pill, then raping her at actor Jack Nicholson's house.
Samantha Geimer, the victim of the rape, said she doesn't think Polanski should return to jail. A judge is scheduled to hear arguments from Polanski's attorney on Monday, March 20, 2017, in the latest effort to bring the fugitive director's 1977 unlawful sex with a minor case to a close.
Polanski's lawyer, Harland Braun, said he was trying to find a solution for a unique case, while a prosecutor said the Oscar victor was trying to get special treatment and dictate how the case proceeds from afar.
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The Oscar-winning filmmaker has been living in Switzerland, France and Poland since fleeing the United States. Both Poland and France have rejected bids by US authorities to extradite Polanski, and he spent more than 300 days in jail and on house arrest during the Swiss proceedings.
Braun wrote that Polanski is asking the court to "keep its promise of 90 days or less" and accept the district attorney's representation to a Swiss court that Polanski has credit for 335 days already served, or to sentence him in absentia - without Polanski appearing in court - to the 335 days he has already served.
What he can not do is dictate outcomes from afar while insulating himself from any potential adverse effect. "Defendant wants answers - but will only show up if he likes the answers".
Braun has based much of his arguments on a 200-page Polish court decision issued in 2015 that that the attorney states questioned "the integrity and honesty of numerous judges who over the years were involved in the Polanski case". Judge Laurence Rittenband, who presided over the case at the time, said the evaluation would help him reach a fair sentencing decision. "He forfeited his right to make requests of the court when he fled", said the Los Angeles District Attorney's office.
After hearing from both the Deputy D.A. and Polanski's lawyer Harland Braun on Monday, the seemingly skeptical judge said he would take the matter "under consideration". "Mr. Polanski is only asking the Court to pledge it will obey the law", responded the Braun & Braun attorney on St. Patrick's Day. Regardless, no transcript of the meeting with the judge exists. The People of the State of California v. Polanski remained an open case. Gunson gave the testimony over three days in 2010 in case he was unable to testify at any future proceedings in the case. It called for no more time behind bars for the director after he spent 42 days in a prison undergoing a diagnostic screening. In 2003, he won an Oscar for directing the Holocaust film The Pianist but did not travel to the United States to collect it.
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