Less than two weeks after a hearing that could have begun the process of Roman Polanski returning to the U.S. 39 years after fleeing American justice for raping a 13-year-old girl, a judge today denied the Oscar-winning director’s latest attempt to essentially avoid more jail time.
“Mr. Polanski, through counsel, has filed the current motions which are similar to previously filed motions, and are based upon the same factual and legal arguments previously presented to the court and denied by other judges, and the Court of Appeal,” said LA Superior Court Judge Scott Gordon today in a scathing 13-page order (read it here). “No sufficient or compelling basis for reconsideration of these issues by the undersigned has been presented,” the judge added.
Polanski wanted to force the Los Angles County District Attorney’s office to make a public declaration of whether they would seek additional time behind bars for him if he were to return to America. Failing that, the director’s lawyer wanted him sentenced in absentia – neither of which are happening now.
“Moreover, counsel for defendant has not presented sufficient credible, admissible evidence or legal arguments to warrant the relief requested,” today’s order states. “Defendant, through counsel, filed the current motions are similar to previously filed motions, and are based upon the same factual and legal arguments previously presented to the court and denied by other judges, along with the Court of Appeal.”
“There is no sufficient or compelling basis for reconsideration of these issues,” Gordon concluded Monday, much sooner than the 90-days he was expected to take on the matter. “Moreover, counsel for Defendant has not presented sufficient credible, admissible evidence or legal arguments to warrant the requested relief.”
Coming out of the last several weeks of new filings in the case of Polanski raping Samantha Gailey in 1977, the director’s attorney Harland Braun was seeking a ruling that would declare in advance his much-sought client exempt from further jail time if returned to America. Having beaten two attempts at extradition from Europe in the past decade, the 83-year-old Polanski is hoping he can get a deal similar to the one he turned down in 1997 because the courtroom would be open to the media.
Braun was quick to attack what he saw as the shortcomings in the judge’s order.
“The most important issue in this case was the fact that there are secret emails between the judges, which undermined the integrity of the judicial proceeding in this case,” he told Deadline today. “Judge Gordon’s decision does not even discus these emails because in discussing them in it reveals improper discussion among the judges,” the attorney added. “Roman Polanski has accepted moral and legal responsibility for his misconduct,” Braun said also. “There does not seem to be one judge in Los Angeles Country who will discuss or reveal the judicial misconduct in this case.”
L.A. D.A. Jackie Lacey’s office had no comment on today’s order.
Gordon has set an April 26 hearing date to address a renewed request by Polanski’s lawyer to unseal 2010 testimony by former prosecutor Roger Gunson. That testimony is said to detail a judicial promise from the late 1970s that would have seen the controversial The Pianist director spend no more than 90 days in a psychiatric evaluation — of which Polanski served 42 days.
It was the apparent breaking of that promise by now-deceased Judge Laurence Rittenband, who supposedly threatened up to 50 years behind bars, that caused Polanski to run to LAX in 1978 and leave the country.
Ever since, the two sides have played their cat and mouse game – with Polanski not sure it seems which role is his.