Los Angeles judge denies Polanski bid to close 1977 child sex case

Reuters News
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Posted: Dec 24, 2014 1:36 PM

By Alex Dobuzinskis

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A Los Angeles judge has declined a bid from attorneys for Roman Polanski to close the 1977 child sex case against the Oscar-winning director, a court spokeswoman said on Wednesday.

The decision by Los Angeles Superior Court Judge James Brandlin on Tuesday is the latest defeat for the filmmaker in having the case dismissed without returning to the United States.

Polanski's attorneys had filed court papers last week in a bid to end the case, at least in part to allow Academy Award-winning director of "The Pianist" to travel freely without the threat of extradition.

Brandlin denied the request in a nine-page ruling, a court spokeswoman said.

The director's lawyers have fought for years to have the case thrown out on claims that Polanski was a victim of judicial and prosecutorial misconduct. Courts have ruled they cannot address the issues unless he returns to California.

Polanski, 81, was charged in 1977 with raping a 13-year-old girl in Los Angeles after plying her with champagne and drugs. He pleaded guilty to having unlawful sex with a minor.

But the director of such films as "Rosemary's Baby" and "Chinatown" fled to France before sentencing, fearing the judge would impose more prison time than the 42 days he had spent behind bars for a psychiatric evaluation.

Lawyers for the French-born director argued that he has served his sentence and that he need not be present in court for the case to close officially. There is a warrant for Polanski's arrest in the United States.

A representative for the Los Angeles District Attorney's Office could not be reached for comment. Polanski's agent declined immediate comment.

(Additional reporting by Eric Kelsey; Editing by Doina Chiacu)