Roman Polanski, now 81 years old, has not returned to the United States since he fled the country in 1978, and it seems he may not return within his lifetime if conditions remain unchanged. Responding to an appeal filed by Polanski’s legal team, a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge has refused to dismiss sexual assault charges made against Polanski in the 30-year-old case that sent the famous director fleeing to Europe. Roman Polanksi’s legal team, now headed by successful Hollywood lawyer Alan M. Dershowitz, are re-instituting charges that there has been prosecutorial and judicial misconduct in the handling of the case and that Polanski has a right to a hearing on the matter, according to the L.A. Times.
The denial in this most recent appeal is based on the same issue as were the denials of the past appeals of Polanski’s legal team and that is that, while Polanski is a fugitive and showing contempt for the U.S. judicial system, he is not eligible for relief under that system. As his lawyers have been instructed in the past, Polanski must return to the United States and surrender himself before any further proceedings can move forward.
“This case is never going away,” Laurie Levenson, a former federal prosecutor and currently a Loyola Law School professor, said. “There’s no reason for him not to keep trying, as long as he doesn’t have to come back. And if he doesn’t come back, I don’t think the court will resolve his issues. It will be a stalemate, and it’s likely to be a stalemate for all time.”
The original case accused Polanski of raping a 13-year-old girl. Polanski, 43 at the time of the incident, was charged with statutory rape, the unlawful sex with a minor, and with avoiding a trial, all stemming from his actions with 13-year-old Samantha Geimer following a photo shoot. The Academy Award-winning filmmaker pled guilty to the charge before fleeing justice 37 years ago, reports the Daily Mail. The nine page ruling, issued by Judge James Brandlin in this most recent appeal, notes that the United States has repeatedly requested Roman Polanski’s surrender and that all of those pleas for his return have either gone unanswered or had been denied.
“Polanski,” Brandlin stated, “is not entitled to avail himself of this court’s power to hear his demands while he openly stands in an attitude of contempt of a legal order from this very court.”
In 2013, Geimer wrote a tell-all book about her encounter with Polanski. She wrote of the incident, describing an evening of drinking champagne in the home of actor Jack Nicholson. She goes on to narrate being given sleeping pills to make her less resistant before being assaulted by Polanski. The book is entitled The Girl: A Life in the Shadow of Roman Polanski.
Polanski was most recently in the news for the retelling of his famous Rosemary’s Baby horror film with Zoe Saldana taking the lead in the NBC movie.