Director Roman Polanski's request to be sentenced “in absentia” for having sex with a 13-year-old girl in 1977 was denied by a Los Angeles Superior Court judge Friday, leaving a smaller possibility that Polanski would get off without extradition from Switzerland or time behind bars in the 33-year-old case.
After an appeals court suggested last month that the saga could come to a close with the Chinatown director being sentenced from afar, possibly for time already served, his lawyers made such a request and his victim supported the move in the interest of closure.
But Judge Peter Espinoza said no. Polanski will have to show his face in order to conclude the case. He's been on the run since 1978, when he fled before a sentencing in which a judge indicated time behind bars might be in store for Polanski even though a plea agreement indicated otherwise.
He was nabbed traveling to Switzerland from France in September and has been held under house arrest as the Los Angeles District Attorney attempts to extradite him. His lawyers are fighting extradition and have accused the D.A. of misleading Swiss authorities, who have an agreement with the U.S. only to extradite people who could face more than six months in prison. When he fled Polanski was facing another 48 days behind bars after having served 42 days of “psychiatric evaluation.” However, as the Los Angeles Times has pointed out, if the director was sentenced under modern guidelines, he could face a year.