Judge refuses to make immediate ruling on Polanski sentencing

Everything we know about Roman Polanski's sexual abuse case

Polanski at the 66th Cannes Film FestivalSource Vittorio Zunino Celotto Getty Images

A Los Angeles judge says he will issue a written ruling about director Roman Polanski's requests to end his long-running sex abuse case.

Polanski pleaded guilty to unlawful sex with a minor but fled Los Angeles on the eve of sentencing in 1989.

Prosecutors disagree, arguing that the case should not be resolved unless Polanski appears in a U.S. courtroom personally.

Monday's hearing is the first time Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Scott Gordon will hear arguments in the almost four-decade-old case. A hearing about his latest effort was scheduled for Monday and will be heard by Superior Court of Los Angeles County Judge Scott Gordon. The trio met in Gordon's chambers in November, but a transcript of the discussion was sealed.

Polanski was charged in 1977 with six felony counts over allegations he drugged and raped a 13-year-old girl during a photo shoot at actor Jack Nicholson's house.

Samantha Geimer, who is the victim in the case, has long made clear she believes Polanski's self-imposed exile has been punishment enough.

The film director, a fugitive from the USA since 1978, is asking a California judge to close the books on the case with a recognition that Polanski already has spent far more time behind bars than what was first intended by the judge who initially presided over his case.

Polanski's lawyer, Harland Braun, said he was trying to find a solution for a unique case, while a prosecutor said the Oscar victor was trying to get special treatment and dictate how the case proceeds from afar. Since then, his movements have been restricted to France, Poland and Switzerland.

Polanski was arrested on United States warrants in Poland and Switzerland in the last decade, but both countries declined to extradite him.

Braun wrote that Polanski is asking the court to "keep its promise of 90 days or less" and accept the district attorney's representation to a Swiss court that Polanski has credit for 335 days already served, or to sentence him in absentia - without Polanski appearing in court - to the 335 days he has already served.

Hanisee, however, wrote in a court filing last week that Polanski is "once again, trying to dictate the terms of his return without risk to himself. (He) wants answers-but will only show up if he likes the answers", an LA prosecutor told Reuters.

An often circular and repetitive session touching on topics of worldwide law, Poland's political current climate, Polanski's mental state, then and now, Red Warrants and the old boy's network in L.A.in the 1970s, today's hearing was always a long bet for the Rosemary's Baby director - and one that clearly didn't pay off in the immediate term. According to former prosecutors and lawyers, California Superior Court Judge Laurence Rittenband was concerned about negative press coverage and refused to sentence Polanski to probation, as had been recommended. "He forfeited his right to make requests of the court when he fled".

After hearing from both the Deputy D.A. and Polanski's lawyer Harland Braun on Monday, the seemingly skeptical judge said he would take the matter "under consideration".

He asked that Gordon order the District Attorney's Office to give some indication of how much time - if any - they want Polanski to serve if the director were to arrive in Los Angeles from his home in Paris. That attempt failed when another judge agreed with the district attorney that Polanski would have to come back to the US if he wanted his request to be heard. Regardless, no transcript of the meeting with the judge exists.

His attorney has said that Polanski wants to travel freely, without risk of extradition, and to return to the United States to visit the grave of his wife. Gunson gave the testimony over three days in 2010 in case he was unable to testify at any future proceedings in the case. The director said he wanted the case closed and put in the past for good.

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