The Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office is fighting director Roman Polanski's appeal to be sentenced “in absentia” while he remains on the lam. Polanski's lawyers have argued there's an “urgent” need to grant the request as a result of alleged misconduct during his 1977 trial that could undermine the prosecution's case.
But the D.A.'s office, in filings with the 2nd District court of appeal, argued that ” … the specter of a defendant sitting in a Swiss chalet while making demands upon the judicial system … hurts the integrity of the judicial system just as much or more as the revelations of 30-year-old charges of misconduct by a long ago deceased jurist.”
The office is in the process of extraditing Polanski from Switzerland after he was captured by authorities there last summer. He's being held under house arrest. Polanski fled to France in 1978 after, he said, the now-deceased judge in his Los Angeles case reneged on a deal to let him walk for time served — slightly more than 40 days under psychiatric review — for having sex with a 13 year old.
Polanski's legal team argues that a prosecutor and the judge had improper, behind-closed-doors meetings about the case at the time, and that the revelation of such should put the prosecution's case in jeopardy.
What his side really wants is for a judge to sentence him for time served so Polanski can get back to France and possibly come back to the United States for the first time since 1978.
In December a panel from the same 2nd District court suggested that Polanski could see just a scenario, but a Superior Court judge turned down the idea of sentencing “in absentia.” Now it's up to the state court to back its panel or side with the judge — and the D.A.'s office.