AP Photo/Abdeljalil Bounhar
Roman Polanski is still technically on the lam.
It was his fugitive status that prevented a judge from dismissing the Oscar-winning filmmaker's 31-year-old child-sex case Tuesday, although the judge said that if Polanski were willing to appear in court, he would consider dismissing the case on grounds of judicial misconduct.
"He just needs to submit to the jurisdiction of this court," said Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Peter Espinoza. He stayed his ruling until May 7, when both sides are expected to next appear in court.
Polanski has said through his attorneys that he has no intention of returning to the U.S., let alone L.A., at all. The Pianist director has been living abroad, mostly in France, since fleeing the country in 1978 before he was scheduled to be sentenced for having unlawful intercourse with a minor. Polanski had feared that the judge was going to renege on a plea deal and sentence him to heavy jail time.
Espinoza said today that he believed, after watching the 2008 documentary Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired, that there were inappropriate communications between the L.A. District Attorney's Office and the now deceased judge who presided over the original case.
Meanwhile, the prosecution team handling the case's 21st-century update has rallied for Polanski's return all along, maintaining that he has no right to a dismissal unless he pleads his case in person—a position not necessarily shared by others with a vested interest in the case, including Polanski's victim.
Samantha Geimer, who was 13 when she had her encounter with Polanski in 1977, penned a letter to the court last month urging that the case "come to a formal legal end."
"True as they may be, the continued publication of those details causes harm to me, my beloved husband, my three children and my mother," Geimer wrote. "I have become a victim of the actions of the district attorney. My position is absolutely clear. Let us deal with the harm and continued harm that the pendency of this matter visits upon me and my family, and waive the legal niceties away and cause it to be dismissed."