CA Appeals Court Hears Polanski Appeal

An appeals court in California today heard oral arguments in Roman Polanski's case. At issue was Polanski's request to dismiss the charges due to judicial and prosecutorial misconduct. A trial judge last year refused to hear the case because he was a fugitive. The grounds for the dismissal request were the new revelations in the film, Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired".

Associate Justice Laurie Zelon asked the prosecutor why the district attorney's office had not investigated recent allegations of misconduct by a judge and prosecutor during Polanski's 1977 court proceedings.

"Doesn't the district attorney's office have an interest in finding out what happened here?" Zelon asked.

Deputy District Attorney Phyllis Asayama replied, "Yes, we are interested. But I'm not sure we have the proper agency to do this." She didn't elaborate.


Presiding Justice Dennis Perluss, acknowledging there was misconduct by the now deceased judge, also questioned Asayama about whether "the district attorney has an obligation to see that justice is served."

The victim's lawyer also argued for dismissal today.

Attorney Lawrence Silver, who represents Polanski's victim Samantha Geimer argued for dismissal on grounds of a recently adopted law allowing victims to have a say in cases. Geimer has repeatedly said she wants the case dismissed, and Silver reiterated that to the justices.

The appeals court could order the trial judge to hold the hearing in Polanski's absence. That judge, while refusing to rule on Polanski's request, found there was substantial misconduct.

The three judge panel took the matter under advisement. You can read Polanski's Motion to Dismiss here. The victim's declaration seeking dismissal is here.

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  • Display: Sort:
    He's still a fugitive (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by diogenes on Thu Dec 10, 2009 at 08:30:42 PM EST
    Extradite him and then let the trial judge hear the case for dismissal when he is back here.

    on and on and on (none / 0) (#2)
    by ZtoA on Thu Dec 10, 2009 at 09:21:51 PM EST
    about Polanski, and the really interesting case is the Knox case. What's the diff?

    Knox didn't film Chinatown (none / 0) (#14)
    by Socraticsilence on Fri Dec 11, 2009 at 09:53:02 PM EST
    thus she doesn't get away with a felony for free.

    Interesting (none / 0) (#3)
    by kaleidescope on Thu Dec 10, 2009 at 09:44:55 PM EST
    Does anyone know whether the Court of Appeal heard this on a straight up appeal, or whether it heard on a petition for writ?  If the latter, things look pretty favorable for Mr. Polanski.

    Writ; (none / 0) (#4)
    by oculus on Thu Dec 10, 2009 at 11:40:20 PM EST
    Thanks for the Docket Link (none / 0) (#9)
    by kaleidescope on Fri Dec 11, 2009 at 12:07:57 PM EST
    Given how quickly the Court of Appeal ordered briefing and then issued an OSC, it is taking this cases very seriously.  Most writ petitions are denied via postcard.

    Writ: (none / 0) (#5)
    by oculus on Thu Dec 10, 2009 at 11:41:12 PM EST
    not sure how (none / 0) (#6)
    by cpinva on Fri Dec 11, 2009 at 12:06:08 AM EST
    this would affect mr. polanski's plea? he did, in fact, rape the girl, of this there is no doubt. he was allowed to plea to a lesser charge. it was at this point, and after, that all of the alleged prosecutorial and judicial misconduct supposedly occured, having nothing to do with his original guilty plea. or so i understand.

    that being the case (assuming my understanding is correct), what possible grounds would mr. polanski have for a dismissal of the original finding?

    In the interests of justice, based on (none / 0) (#7)
    by oculus on Fri Dec 11, 2009 at 12:19:55 AM EST
    alleged prosecutorial and judicial misconduct.  

    "in the interests of justice" (none / 0) (#11)
    by diogenes on Fri Dec 11, 2009 at 06:45:51 PM EST
    In the interests of justice you dismiss what was a forcible/drug induced (not purely statutory) rape case with a thirteen year old victim?  

    I wouldn't. But I'm not the judge. If the (none / 0) (#12)
    by oculus on Fri Dec 11, 2009 at 09:00:20 PM EST
    court of appeal decides to dismiss the entire matter, that would be the basis.  Same if court of appeal remands to trial court and trial court dismisses the entire case.  

    Is there any admissible evidence (none / 0) (#13)
    by oculus on Fri Dec 11, 2009 at 09:01:38 PM EST
    there was judicial and/or prosecutorial misconduct prior to the change of plea?

    Is this the real story? (none / 0) (#10)
    by 1980Ford on Fri Dec 11, 2009 at 12:10:03 PM EST
    People v Flores (pdf) was decided just before Polanski's arrest. It is an evidence ex post facto opinion by the Second District. Did the DA decide based on this opinion that he didn't need the victim to testify and could use her grand jury testimony instead?