Roman Polanski's appeal to end sex case denied

Chad Hummel, right, attorney for Roman Polanski, speaks as Deputy District Attorney David Walgren looks on at the Criminal Justice Center, Friday, Jan. 22, 2010, in Los Angeles during a hearing in the case of the famous film director, who fled the United States in 1978 after pleading guilty to unlawful sexual intercourse with a 13-year-old girl. A Los Angeles judge has ruled Roman Polanski must return to the U.S. to be sentenced in a decades-old sex case. Superior Court Judge Peter Espinoza's ruling Friday is likely to be appealed. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill, Pool)
April 22, 2010 6:58:21 PM PDT
An appeals court on Thursday denied Roman Polanski's latest attempt to end his decades-old sex case, a move that could set the stage for the fugitive director's return to the United States. T

he California 2nd District Court of Appeal denied Polanski's petition to appoint a special counsel to investigate misconduct in the director's case based on new information. His attorneys had also been asking for the director to be sentenced in absentia to time served.

The appeals court did not issue an opinion in the case.

The court's decision not to revisit Polanski's case came hours after it denied a request by Polanski's victim, Samantha Geimer, to have the case dismissed.

Swiss authorities have said they were awaiting the decision by the court on Polanski's appeal before deciding whether to extradite the "Rosemary's Baby" director. He is under house arrest in the luxury resort of Gstaad.

Polanski was accused in 1977 of plying Geimer, then age 13, with champagne and part of a Quaalude pill, then raping her at Jack Nicholson's house.

Polanski was indicted on six felony counts, including rape by use of drugs, child molesting and sodomy. He later pleaded guilty to one count of unlawful sexual intercourse.

Authorities are seeking Polanski's extradition from Switzerland so he can be sentenced on the charge. The Academy Award-winning director fled the United States on the eve of sentencing in 1978.

"The appellate court read the briefs and made what we feel is the appropriate decision," district attorney's spokeswoman Sandi Gibbons said in a statement. She said the office would have no further comment.

A spokesman for Polanski's attorneys did not have an immediate comment on the decision.

Polanski went back to the appeals court in March armed with testimony from the former prosecutor handling the case. That prosecutor testified in a closed-door session that he tried to disqualify the original judge in 1977 on grounds of misconduct but was ordered by his superiors not to do so.

Polanski's attorneys argued in a subsequent motion that the misconduct needed to be investigated and that the director should be sentenced in absentia. The filing also accused the district attorney's office of misleading Swiss authorities about how long Polanski would serve in jail if he was returned to Los Angeles.

The transcripts of the former prosecutor's closed-door testimony remain sealed.

Geimer's attorneys had also sought to have the transcripts unsealed. They also asked the appeals court to dismiss the case against Polanski, arguing recent changes to California's constitution gave her more rights as a victim to influence the case.

Prosecutors disagreed, saying voters' inclusion of a Bill of Rights in the state constitution did not give Geimer or other crime victims the authority to end prosecutions of crimes.


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