Judge sets hearing in Polanski sex case
LOS ANGELES (AP) – Roman Polanski’s long-delayed criminal case will return to a courtroom for a hearing later this week, a court official said Monday.
Superior Court spokesman Allan Parachini said Judge Peter Espinoza will convene a hearing on Polanski’s case for Wednesday afternoon.
It’s the first time the 32-year-old sex case will be back in court since a state appeals court last month rejected Polanski’s bid to have it dismissed. The appeals court, however, suggested the case could end quickly if Polanski’s attorneys agreed to sentencing in absentia or he drops his opposition to being extradited to the United States.
Polanski is under house arrest at his Swiss chalet. He was arrested in late September on a fugitive warrant.
Los Angeles County district attorney’s spokeswoman Sandi Gibbons said Polanski’s lawyers requested an in-chambers conference on the case, but prosecutors objected. Espinoza then scheduled a public hearing; Gibbons said she did not know what would be discussed.
Previous in-chambers discussions have proved controversial. Misconduct has been cited in the case because the original judge may have consulted with a former prosecutor about how to sentence Polanski.
There are also conflicting accounts of whether a judge in the late 1990s agreed to resolve the case, but only if the sentencing hearing was televised.
Phone and e-mail messages left for Polanski’s attorney, Chad Hummel, were not immediately returned.
Polanski was initially accused of raping a 13-year-old girl after plying her with champagne and a Quaalude pill during a 1977 modeling shoot. He was indicted on six felony counts, including rape by use of drugs, child molestation and sodomy, but he pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of unlawful sexual intercourse.
He fled to his native France on the eve of sentencing in 1978 after spending 42 days a California prison for a psychiatric evaluation.