Breaking Legal News - POSTED: 2009/12/22 13:04
A California appeals court on Monday rejected Roman Polanski's bid to have his 32-year-old sex case dismissed, but cited grave concerns over possible judicial and prosecutorial misconduct.
The California 2nd District Court of Appeal announced it had denied the petition, with justices saying they are "deeply concerned" about the probable misconduct by a now-deceased judge and a retired prosecutor who advised him.
"We encourage all participating parties to do their utmost to ensure that this matter now draws to a close in a manner that fully addresses the issues of due process and fundamental fairness raised by the events of long ago," the court's opinion stated.
While a blow to Polanski's efforts to have the case dismissed and win his freedom from Swiss authorities, the ruling cast serious doubt on how the case was handled.
The new focus ignited public passions, with some angrily calling for Polanski to be imprisoned. Others, including some colleagues in the film industry, have advocated for his freedom.
The appeals court faulted Polanski for fleeing the country rather than seeking legal remedies at the time. But it also said repeatedly it is time for the case to be over.
It raised a number of potential options for Polanski, including seeking sentencing in absentia, but it did not require further action by the trial judge. Polankski is under house arrest at his chalet in Gstaad, Switzerland, fighting extradition.
Attorneys for the fugitive director argued earlier this month that misconduct in the case was grounds for dismissal of a charge of having unlawful sex with a minor. They also contended Polanski didn't need to be present to argue for dismissal.