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This summer, Polanski’s lawyers were denied the right to argue in court that the case should be dismissed because of judicial and prosecutorial misconduct.
This week an appeals court is considering whether they can make their case.
Professor Jean Rosenbluth is from the University of Southern California Gould School of Law:
JEAN ROSENBLUTH: “There’s a very old legal doctrine here called the fugitive disentitlement doctrine, and what that says is that someone who flees the jurisdiction of the court can’t ask it to do ’em any favours, and that’s essentially what Mr. Polanski has done.”
Carol Chase is a Professor of Law at Pepperdine University and she says allowing the lawyers to argue the case would also undermine the legal
CAROL CHASE: “To rule in his favor would almost encourage people to flee the jurisdiction and then let their lawyers deal with it.”
And one of the appeals court judges hearing the case argued that Polanski could have stayed and made his case for misconduct at the time.
But lawyers for Polanski argue that the evidence was only made clear to them recently, in a documentary film about the case called Wanted and Desired.
[ film clip ]
It features an interview with former prosecutor David Wells who confessed to privately urging the judge in 1977 to impose a sentence.
Wells has now retracted his statements saying he lied for the cameras. Prof Jean Rosenbluth again.
ROSENBLUTH: “When these claims are finally heard on the merits, whether given the now damaged credibility of one of Mr. Polanski’s witnesses, he’s going to be able to make out his claims. The judge who presided over his case 32 years ago is now dead.”
The Polanski appeal has not made the big headlines in Hollywood though where another celebrity scandal is snatching all the attention: Tiger Woods.
Oscar-nominated screenwriter Roger L. Simon says while the limelight has been elsewhere, many of the high profile Hollywood figures who originally signed a supporting letter are quietly backing away.
ROGER L. SIMON: “Those who were defending him so adamantly a few months ago, probably are disappearing into the woodwork. The man committed statutory rape
of a 13-year-old. That is not an easily defensible crime.”
The three appeals court judges will review the case and issue a written ruling fairly soon.
—Daniel Ryntjes for World Radio Switzerland, in Washington