The Los Angeles District Attorney's office has filed papers opposing Roman Polanski's request that a judge sentence him “in absentia” for having sex with a minor. The request came after an appeals court suggested that Polanski might be sentenced without having to come back to Los Angeles.
He is being held under house arrest at his Swiss chalet while the D.A. pursues extradition. The director has been overseas since 1978, when he fled to France after a judge suggested he might have to serve more than the 42 days he had spent under psychiatric evaluation after having plead guilty to having sex with a 13-year-old.
“The people hereby request that this court deny defendent Roman Polanski's request to be sentenced in absentia,” writes deputy District Attorney David Walgren in a Superior Court filing. “Since 1978, Roman Polanski has voluntarily remained a fugitive from justice and, as such, is not entitled to have this court entertain his motion until such time that Mr. Polanski decides to submit to the court's jurisdiction.”
A hearing in the case is scheduled for Jan. 22.
An appeals court suggested that the Polanski's saga, one of the longest court cases in county history, might be resolved by the remote sentencing — and possibly with Polanski avoiding further time and thus being able to return to Los Angeles without being handcuffed.
But, as the Los Angeles Times noted, sentences for having sex with a minor, especially with the kind of age difference seen in Polanski's case, can bring much stiffer sentences from contemporary judges — sometimes one year behind bars.
” … The defendent already maintains exclusive control over the most efficient remedy available — he simply needs to cooperate with the pending extradition proceedings, return to where he as remained a fugitive for 32 years, and request his day in court,” Walgren writes.