December 22, 2009

Polanski exit strategy suggested by court

Posted: 01:16 PM ET

By Harriet Ryan via Los Angeles Times

A state appellate court Monday rejected Roman Polanski's bid to have his 1977 child-sex prosecution dismissed but outlined a way that could end the long-running case without Polanski serving more time behind bars or returning to the American justice system he fled three decades ago.

In a 3-0 ruling, the 2nd District Court of Appeal suggested that Polanski ask to be sentenced in absentia for the statutory rape he admitted committing 32 years ago.

According to the three-justice panel, the sentencing hearing held in his absence would provide a forum for a Los Angeles County judge to evaluate Polanski's allegations of prosecutorial and judicial misconduct in the original handling of the case.

If the evidence is persuasive, the justices wrote, "we are confident that the trial court could fashion a legal sentence that results in no further incarceration for Polanski."

The opinion made clear that the justices were troubled by the misconduct allegations, enough so that they took the unusual step of injecting themselves into the details of a specific case.

"We exhort all participants in this extended drama to place the integrity of the criminal justice system above the desire to punish any one individual, whether for his offense or for his flight," the justices wrote.

The move surprised legal experts.


Filed under: Crime • Roman Polanski

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Dodie   December 22nd, 2009 3:50 pm ET

Polanski was charged with half a dozen felonies, including rape and sodomy but worked out a plea bargain in 1977. Polanski spent 42 days in state prison, but fled to Europe on the eve of his sentencing.

Analysis of court records since 2004 showed that most defendants in similar cases to Polanski received sentences of a year or more. Because Polanski spent 42 days in state prison the year of his crime, the decision was made by the courts that no additional time in custody.

Polanski ‘s case shows the world, if you flee, your sentence will be minimal and far less than one who does not flee. Since Fleeing to another country to avoid sentencing is another irresponsible act, it seems that the legal system is reinforcing irresponsibility!

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