Roman Polanski's Catch-22
Next Wednesday fugitive film director Roman Polanski will get a hearing in Superior Court on his lawyers' request to have longstanding charges stemming from his having sex with a minor dismissed. How a judge will rule on the motion, given that the alleged crime occurred 32 years ago, is anyone's guess. According to the Associated Press' Linda Deutsch, Polanksi has no desire to ever return to the U.S. but merely wants to "leave a legacy of justice."
Polanski image by Film Servis Festival Karlovy Vary
As a recent HBO documentary, Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired made clear, the auteur left the country in 1978 because he was convinced he couldn't trust the late Laurence Rittenband, the then-presiding judge. Rittenband had announced he would throw out a plea deal worked out with Polanski and the D.A.'s office.
Within the last few months Polanski has made overtures about returning to clear his name -- as long as he is not arrested on the old fugitive-from-justice warrant when he arrives in Los Angeles. Not only has the court refused to rule out this possibility (at least in public), but Judge Peter Espinoza denied a motion by Polanski's attorneys, Chad Hummel, Bart Dalton and Douglas Dalton, to move the hearing venue out of L.A. Earlier this week Samantha Geimer, who was 13 at the time she accused Polanski of drugging and forcing her to have sex with him, asked the court to dismiss he charges.
The court's media-relations office began taking seat-assignment requests today. It will be a packed gathering when the court convenes, with Polanski's dilemma worthy of one of his films.