Judge: Polanski must attend sentencing

Jan. 22, 2010 at 7:09 PM
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LOS ANGELES, Jan. 22 (UPI) -- A Los Angeles Superior Court judge says fugitive filmmaker Roman Polanski must be present to be sentenced in his decades-old child sex case.

The 76-year-old Oscar winner was placed under house arrest last month at a chalet in Switzerland while he awaits a decision regarding whether he will be extradited to the United States in the 1977 case in which he was accused of drugging and raping a 13-year-old girl. He had been held in a Swiss jail for nearly two months before he posted bail and was placed under house arrest.

The filmmaker, who had been living in France but was in Switzerland to attend a film festival at the time of his arrest, has not traveled to the United States since he pleaded guilty in a Los Angeles court to having unlawful sex with a minor. He fled the United States before he could be sentenced.

Polanski's lawyers have alleged misconduct on the part of the Los Angeles criminal justice system at the time of the plea deal, and are fighting extradition from Switzerland to the United States.

The director's legal team had petitioned the court in Los Angeles to sentence Polanski in absentia.

However, Variety said Judge Peter Espinoza ruled Friday Polanski "needs to surrender" if he is to be sentenced in the matter.

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