After much legal manuvering by both the defense and the Los Angeles District Attorney’s office, the showdown on film director Roman Polanski’s effort to have a 31-year-old sex prosecution against him dismissed will be heard in a Los Angeles court today.
Polanski’s efforts to clear his name and conviction status was sparked by an HBO documentary film, “Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired,” which disclosed new information about actions by the now deceased judge who presided over his case, a scenario which his lawyers say amounted to misconduct.
The central issue in Tuesday’s definitive hearing will not be the allegations of misconduct but rather the question of whether Polanski’s case can be heard without his presence.
Polanski, who pleaded guilty to having unlawful sexual intercourse with a 13-year-old girl, fled into exile in France in 1977.
He had spent 42 days in prison in what his lawyers believed was his full sentence under a plea bargain. A decision by the now deceased judge to add more prison time and require his voluntary deportation prompted him to leave the country.
The documentary on the case suggests behind-the-scenes manipulations which the defense claims amounted to judicial misconduct.
Polanski, now 75, lives in France where his film career has continued to flourish.