AP Photo/Abdeljalil Bounhar
You can take the case out of court, but can you take the court out of the case?
Roman Polanski, who last month moved to have a decades-old charge of unlawful intercourse with a minor dismissed, filed a motion Monday to have the entire case removed from the Los Angeles Superior Court system and handed to the California Judicial Council for review.
Citing judicial bias and misconduct that was alleged in the recent documentary Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired, the 75-year-old filmmaker's legal camp states that the "entire case should be referred to the Judicial Council for further proceedings and a determination free from even the appearance of bias and taint."
"There is no question that a reasonable person would entertain doubts concerning the court's ability to be impartial here," wrote attorneys Chad S. Hummel and Bart Dalton.
Wanted and Desired charges that former L.A. Deputy District Attorney David Wells engaged in "repeated unethical and unlawful" communications with Lawrence J. Rittenband, the judge assigned to the case, who is now deceased.
A plan for Polanski to appear in L.A. to wrap the case up in 1997 also fell threw when L.A. Superior Court Judge Larry Paul Fidler (of Phil Spector trial fame) insisted the proceedings be televised, according to the film.
The court issued a statement last year calling the allegation about Fidler a "complete fabrication, entirely without any basis in fact, and completely unsupported by the court record."
Polanski, fearing Judge Rittenband was going to renege on a deal that would keep him out of jail, fled the U.S. for France in 1978 before he was scheduled to be sentenced for having sex with a 13-year-old girl the previous year.
He has continued to direct—even winning an Oscar in 2002 for The Pianist—but hasn't stepped foot in this country in 30 years.