Roman Polanski is still trying to return to the United States to visit Sharon Tate’s grave, but, before he can pay respects to his late wife, Roman first has to settle the legal dramas that sent the celebrated director fleeing from the country more than four decades ago. Polanski has had his lawyers working on getting him a plea deal that would enable him to return to the U.S. without being thrown in prison the moment he does return, but Roman has yet to find a sympathetic judge.
Roman Polanski Remains A United States Fugitive, After Judge Denies Appeal
On Monday, lawyers for Roman Polanski attended a hearing in which the director sought to return to the country with a promise that he wouldn’t have to serve additional jail time for his 1977 statutory rape case conviction, according to The New York Times. Judge Scott M. Gordon of the Superior Court of Los Angeles County is the latest judge to deny Roman any insight into how his case might go, once he returned to the United States.
“There is no sufficient or compelling basis for reconsideration of these issues,” said Judge Gordon, referring to the previous similar appeals Polanski had made in regard to his ability to come back to the U.S.
Samantha Geimer was just 13 years old when Polanski, now 83, engaged in sexual relations with the aspiring actress. Roman plead guilty in a plea agreement, but later heard rumors that the judge was going to dismiss the agreement and sentence Polanski to jail time. At the time, Roman decided the risk was too great that he might end up serving time, so he escaped the court’s jurisdiction and has been living in Europe ever since.
Harold Braun, the attorney representing Roman Polanski, has accused the judges in his client’s case of misconduct for making up their minds on how they will decide the case, even before hearing all of the facts.
“We have an 83-year-old defendant on a 40-year-old case that we’re still wasting our time litigating,” added Braun.
Roman has a second chance to clear his name on April 26, when the court will decide whether to unseal testimony made by Roger Gunson, the former deputy district attorney on the original 1977 case. Polanski’s lawyer feels certain that the testimony will prove Roman has already served the required time, during the prosecution of the earlier case.
Roman Polanski Doesn’t Trust the Court and With Good Reason
Deadline reported that Mr. Polanski, speaking through his lawyer, has also expressed distrust in the U.S. court system as a result of his experiences in the four decades, since his rape case was first filed. Braun points out that Roman has spent those 40 years trying to settle his case and return to the United States, working from three different countries, yet, until now, the courts have never openly discussed what punishments Polanski may or may not be facing.
Roman had agreed to serve 90 days in jail for pleading guilty to the five charges filed against him in the Samantha Geimer rape case. Braun contends that Polanski has served that time, but wants assurances from the court before recommending that his client return to the U.S.
“If the Court believes it not bound by its 1978 promise, it should publicly say so,” Braun asserts. “And if the Court does not plan to follow California law which gives Mr. Polanski credit for his custody and house arrest time in Switzerland, it should also say so.”
While the various judges in the California court system have asserted that Roman Polanski will not receive special treatment, due to his celebrity status, that doesn’t seem to be what the international director is seeking. Mr. Polanski merely wants to understand the court’s intentions and to know whether it intends to hold true to the word he was promised 40 years ago.
“Mr. Polanski has long acknowledged his moral and legal responsibility for his conduct and believes it is time for this Court to acknowledge and accept its responsibility,” adds Braun.
[Featured Image by Adam Nurkiewicz/Getty Images]