Judge Denies Polanski Request to Be Sentenced in Absentia

Update: Via Variety, Polanski's lawyer says he will appeal denial to state appeals court. Background on statute at issue for today's hearing is here.

Update: Via Twitter, Judge denies Polanski's request. So he goes back to the appeals court now which suggested it in the first place? First to report it on Twitter: Royal Oakes. Second: Steve Futterman of CBS News. (I was third, but I waited for confirmation.) Now there are a ton of tweets, but none with details yet as to reasons. The web will be best for those.

The hearing in LA on Roman Polanski's request to be sentenced in absentia is underway. Via Twitter, 10 minutes ago from CBS reporter Steve Fetterman: "It appears from comments in court that judge is denying polanski request to be sentenced in absentia." No further details yet.

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    Before you post a comment trashing (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by Jeralyn on Fri Jan 22, 2010 at 04:44:36 PM EST
    Polanski, recognize this is a criminal defense site that supports him. Polite agreement with the decision will be allowed. Falsely stating the facts and personal attacks on Polanski or his wife will be deleted, so don't bother.

    Perhaps Mr. Polanski's wife should (none / 0) (#1)
    by oculus on Fri Jan 22, 2010 at 04:23:49 PM EST
    have refrained from giving this interview until the criminal matter was concluded?  Washington Post

    "My husband never believed . (5.00 / 2) (#5)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Fri Jan 22, 2010 at 04:40:50 PM EST
    "My husband never believed he was above the law. The proof is that he pleaded guilty...," she said. [...] She said she has had the impression of "falling into a well like Alice in Alice in Wonderland," and that each day the fall has been "slow and regular ... and this long fall won't stop."
    A) That he fled the authorities, and for the past 32 years has continued to illegally evade the law, would seem to imply he does think he's above the law.

    And 2) She knew he was an international fugitive criminal on the run from the law when she married him.

    Lastly, I'm not sure we should take her word for the sexual mores of 1973 since she was only 6 y/o at the time.

    Pssst, Polanksi, the quicker you come back the quicker your wife will stop falling down Alice's well...


    Hey, she probably saw "The BIg Chill." (none / 0) (#7)
    by oculus on Fri Jan 22, 2010 at 04:41:54 PM EST
    and now he's under house arrest for what looks like at least several months.

    I assume he had the option of surrendering to US authorities?

    Had he done so 2-3 months ago, he probably would have been back home by now in gay Paris a free man. And free to come and go as he pleased to the US.

    I assume he still has the option of surrendering to US authorities and getting this whole thing over with?


    Seems reasonable to me. But (none / 0) (#18)
    by oculus on Fri Jan 22, 2010 at 07:23:49 PM EST
    either he or he and his attorneys seem to want some judge or judges to dismiss the entire matter based on the documentary.

    House arrest doesn't seem to be (none / 0) (#25)
    by oculus on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 11:06:18 AM EST
    cramping his artistic possibilities.  News is he is working on a film based on "God of Carnage."

    Fetterman's Twitter scoops LAT. (none / 0) (#4)
    by oculus on Fri Jan 22, 2010 at 04:36:38 PM EST
    Maybe now DA's office, victim's attorney, and defendant's criminal defense attorneys will sit down and work out a deal.  Polanski agrees not to fight extradition, DA's office agrees to recommend credit for time served and Polanski permitted to appear for sentencing by teleconference from his villa in Switzerland.

    AP (Linda Deutsch): (none / 0) (#9)
    by oculus on Fri Jan 22, 2010 at 04:47:53 PM EST

    Hard to see how judge's decision today could be an appealable order.  Another writ while Polanski remains on house arrest.  

    Hummel, spokesman for Polanski's (none / 0) (#11)
    by oculus on Fri Jan 22, 2010 at 04:53:42 PM EST
    criminal defense attorneys:

    they plan to seek relief

    [Translation:  file a writ petition.]


    I agree w/Judge Espinoza's decision. (none / 0) (#10)
    by oculus on Fri Jan 22, 2010 at 04:49:04 PM EST

    I'd like to read the decision (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by Jeralyn on Fri Jan 22, 2010 at 05:00:06 PM EST
    before stating whether it's a correct ruling or not, or whether it's an appealable order. There are no standards in the statute for denying the request, so I suspect it will be "abuse of discretion." And I don't know about California, but it seems to me a writ of prohibition or mandamus might be in order.

    Agree re "abuse of discretion" (none / 0) (#14)
    by oculus on Fri Jan 22, 2010 at 05:04:07 PM EST
    as standard of review.  [Which, as you know, is uite broad--not good for defendant.]  And writ (no appeal as not a final order).

    NYT: (none / 0) (#16)
    by oculus on Fri Jan 22, 2010 at 05:36:21 PM EST

    Trial judge's use of the word "surrender" is significant, IMO.

    Also, the trial judge rejected Mr. Silver's contention DA's office should have consulted victim before requesting Swiss extradite Mr. Polanski. Mr. Silver may have overstated his case, given the judge's comments.

    Fair trial not to be expected (none / 0) (#19)
    by Andreas on Fri Jan 22, 2010 at 11:14:18 PM EST
    This indicates that Roman Polanski can not expect a fair trial in the US. He should be released immediately (and the real criminals George Walker Bush, John Yoo etc. should be arrested).

    Mr. Polanski previously entered a plea (none / 0) (#20)
    by oculus on Fri Jan 22, 2010 at 11:58:10 PM EST
    of guilty.  Thus, there will be no trial.

    Andreas, this is about Polanski (none / 0) (#21)
    by Jeralyn on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 12:04:18 AM EST
    please don't redirect the thread to political crimes.

    Unfortunately for Polanski (and I support his bid for freedom and hope the Swiss reject the request for extradition)the Judge acknowledged the appeals court opinion suggesting sentencing in absentia and said "he chooses" not to go that route. The statute says it's allowed on a defendant's request if the judge agreed. The judge didn't say he couldn't, he said he didn't want to and gave his reasons. That's our system. If we want judges to have discretion, we have to allow it, except when they are unreasonable. The appeals court, if he appeals, will make that decision. The judge's ruling today, in my view, is unfortunate, but I can't say he exceeded his power.


    No redirection (none / 0) (#23)
    by Andreas on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 06:04:35 AM EST
    please don't redirect the thread to political crimes.

    That is not my intention. But one should compare the treatment of Roman Polanski with that of George Walker Bush. That includes the situation in Switzerland. Is the state prepared to arrest George Walker Bush when he enters the country? Obviously not.

    Oy. (none / 0) (#24)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 11:01:04 AM EST
    More NYT blog on Polanski (none / 0) (#22)
    by oculus on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 12:22:40 AM EST
    hg. today in LA County Superior Court:  NYT

    statement of facts (none / 0) (#26)
    by diogenes on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 02:08:49 PM EST
    It is in the interests of justice to not give any special privilege to fugitives from justice except in extremis.  Polanski should be also charged for flight, and if he had a reasonable reason to flee then he could be pardoned for that crime by Schwarzenegger, who could even pardon him for the rape of 1973 if this is really as much of an obvious miscarriage of justice as some here believe.