L.A. District Attorney Won’t Oppose Roman Polanski’s Effort to Unseal Testimony From Prosecutor in 1977 Case

The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office is no longer resisting a request to close a former prosecutor’s testimony that Roman Polanski’s claim would reveal a judge’s misconduct, thus warranting the dismissal of the decades-old case against him. .

Los Angeles prosecutors on Tuesday lifted their opposition to unsealing transcripts of closed-door testimony from the original prosecutor handling the case, Roger Gunson, who retired in 2002. District Attorney George Gascon told Hollywood Reporter There were “certain irregularities” in the case, beginning with possible “judicial misconduct” by the judge, who initially supervised the proceedings.

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Unauditing the testimony could allow Polanski to return to the United States without serving jail time for his underlying criminal case if it is found that the court reportedly accompanied prosecutors to a 90-day psychiatric evaluation. Unfairly denied the plea deal made. He may face time in jail for escaping the country.

The 45-year-old case has a complicated history, at the center of which has long been allegations of prosecution and judicial misconduct.

Polanski was arrested in 1977 for raping 13-year-old Samantha Geimer. She accepted a plea agreement to quash five more serious charges – including rape with the use of drugs – in exchange for pleading guilty to having unlawful sex with a minor. His lawyers expected him to serve in prison for no time and receive probation.

Under the terms of the petition agreement, Polanski was allowed to travel to Europe to complete filming on a project. According to court filings, Judge Lawrence Rittenband, who initially handled the case in the 1970s and died in 1993, is about to go back on the deal and instead put him behind bars for up to 50 years. After knowing this, he fled to France. Polanski’s recount of the case claimed that the judges were unduly influenced by a prosecutor, the press and fear of public backlash for giving him a lenient sentence.

The court has consistently refused to ignore Gunson’s testimony. Judges have pointed to the larger issues at stake in the criminal justice system and the precedent it will set if the case against Polanski, a fugitive from justice, is dismissed. The newest request to open Gunson’s testimony came from freelance journalists Sam Wasson and William Rempel, who say they intend to investigate the integrity of the courts.

In a letter to the appeals court filed Tuesday, Gascon’s office claimed to have opened up Gunson’s statement “in the interest of justice.” While Gascon initially resisted doing so because it appeared as if Polanski was trying to run the courts, he acknowledged that the petitioners in this instance are journalists with different interests than Polanski.

“As also noted by this Court, prosecutors have a broader role in the criminal justice system as custodians of systematic integrity,” the filing reads. “The Polanski case has tested the judicial system, and the combination of interests that people must consider when prosecuting a case.”

The Polanski case is one of the longest-running cases in the state’s criminal justice history. Gascon argued that the ceiling should not be allowed to stand forever, especially since the purpose of sealing procedures is to protect vulnerable witnesses. He said those concerns no longer exist in this case. He also emphasized that the public has a right to know and investigate alleged misconduct by judges and prosecutors.

According to Gascon, a plea agreement between Polanski and prosecutors could be a breach of agreement. He claimed there was a “withdrawal from the original deal”.

“He had already served for some time,” Gascon said. “As I recall, the agreement stated that he would give the maximum time for conduct.”

Diana Teran, director of Prosecution Support Operations, said that “a lot of the conversation in front of the judge went off-the-record.”

When the DA’s office was still opposing the move, it argued that there was no First Amendment right to disclosure because testimony was not used to decide Polanski’s underlying case. Gascon said that once he was told by Terran that there could be judicial and prosecuting misconduct, he changed his position of office. If wrongdoing was done by prosecutors, he said he would launch an investigation and be “aggressive through our own process”.

Neither the district attorney’s office nor Polanski know what Gunson said during his statement.

The 2008 documentary resulted in allegations of wrongdoing from judges and prosecutors Roman Polanki: Wanted and Desired. In the film, director Marina Zenovich discovers a possible inappropriate liaison between Rittenband and a deputy district attorney, leading Polanski to proceed to have the case dismissed. His lawyers argued that Deputy David Wells was independently advising the judge on how to approach the case. Wells said in the documentary that he was “secret to almost everything” and described advising the judge on sentencing. He recalled Rittenband saying, “Look, I don’t know anything about criminal law, don’t want to know. Just don’t reverse me on appeal. Do whatever you want to do, just don’t turn me upside down.”

Retrieved by email, 2014, Court of the Interior new York Times His response to the documentary also included misconduct by other judicial officers. In a message, Judge Larry P. Fiedler said he would have no choice but to dismiss the case against Polanski. He feared a public backlash. Fiedler wrote to the court’s public information officer on June 9, 2008, “Since the law was on his side because of Rittenband’s conduct, I believed that if he ever returned, I was toast, and that my career would be over.”

A state appeals court to consider unheard of Gunson’s testimony in 2010 stated that it is “deeply concerned that allegations of misconduct have not been addressed by a court.” The Second Appellate District Panel wrote that, “In our criminal justice system, fundamental fairness and justice are far more important than the punishment and punishment of an individual.”

Geimer has favored the closure of the testimony to settle the long-running case.

“Our justice system demands that all those accused, accused or found guilty of a crime must be treated fairly and their rights must be fully respected,” he said. THR. “The release of this testimony is a long overdue step in that direction. Justice must strive to find truth in all cases.”

When asked about Polanski’s possible sentence, she replied, “I will sentence him to the time, which should have been done and what was originally promised to him.”

Representatives for Polanski, the Los Angeles Superior Court, and Bart Dalton, the attorney representing the director, did not respond to requests for comment. Wells, who is now retired, could not be contacted for comment.

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