LOS ANGELES – A Superior Court judge has denied a motion by attorneys for famed director Roman Polanski to throw out child sex charges made against him 32 years ago. Neither Polanski, his attorneys nor prosecutors showed up Thursday for the 30-second hearing. The motion to dismiss was filed in December, and attorneys for Polanski had forewarned the court that he would not be present.
Ironically, Judge Peter Espinoza had previously indicated that there does appear to have been “substantial misconduct” on the part of the now-deceased original judge in the case, but he refused to even consider dropping the charges while Polanski remained a fugitive.
Polanski fled to France in 1978 before he could be sentenced for having had sex with a 13-year-old girl at Jack Nicholson’s Los Angeles house. Nicholson was not home at the time of the alleged crime. The girl is now 45 and has said that putting the 75-year-old director in jail would be a “cruel joke.”
Polanski decided to seek a dismissal of charges after seeing a 2008 HBO documentary on the case, Polanski: Wanted and Desired, which re-examined the case that led to the eventual self-exile of one of the most acclaimed directors in cinematic history.
“Revisiting many of the key players in the case, and without apologizing for its title character, the film explores the tragedies that might have influenced Polanski’s behavior, as well as the little-known specifics of the case,” reads a synopsis on the HBO website. “In particular, it explores the dubious actions of Judge Laurence J. Rittenband, whose zeal for celebrity cases was coupled with a vindictive streak against Polanski, who was vilified by much of the American press. Convinced he could not trust Rittenband after a series of rulings against him – including a 42-day stay at a California prison for observation – Polanski finally left the country for good just before his sentencing.”