In a ruling issued Tuesday and released Wednesday, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge James R. Brandlin rejected the defense’s request for an evidentiary hearing on allegations of prosecutorial and judicial misconduct.
In a nine-page ruling, the judge noted that the underlying issue is “whether he (Polanski) is entitled to an evidentiary hearing to resolve his allegations of judicial and prosecutorial misconduct, even while he remains a fugitive from justice.”
“The answer is no,” the judge wrote.
Brandlin noted that Polanski is “not requesting dismissal of the prosecution; instead, he seeks an evidentiary hearing without any statutory or constitutional basis for doing so.”
The judge said Polanski has the option of addressing the defense’s latest contentions by requesting a sentencing hearing in absentia — at which he would not be present — or he could cooperate with the extradition process and return to California for an evidentiary hearing.
Polanski pleaded guilty in 1977 to unlawful sexual intercourse with a 13- year-old girl, and spent 42 days behind bars before being released.
Polanski fled to France in 1978 after Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Laurence Rittenband — who has since died — indicated he was going to reject a plea agreement under which the director would have been able to stay out of prison, and the filmmaker has remained a fugitive and stayed out of the United States since then.
In February 2009, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Peter Espinoza denied the defense’s request to dismiss the case against Polanski, but he indicated he would consider the request again if the Oscar winner appeared in court. That ruling was finalized in May 2009 after Polanski failed to show up in court, and a state appellate court panel later found that the judge did not abuse his discretion.
Polanski, now 81, won an Oscar in 2002 for directing “The Pianist.”
— City News Service
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