If you watched the documentary Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired that aired on HBO earlier this summer, then you know all about one of the (not quite the) most controversial cases in recent history. Look, I get it. Justice is hard. The judge acted improperly due to the fact that he was a total fame whore. He was Nicole Richie in robes. But there was also no doubt that Roman Polanski sodomized a 13-year-old girl after giving her quaaludes, so, you know, TOSS UP! (?)
Anyway, the New York Times today is suggesting that Polanski and his legal team might use the documentary to finally exonerate the director in the 30-year-old case, and end his permanent exile:
In the film, “Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired,” the former prosecutor, David Wells, describes advising Judge Laurence J. Rittenband to send Mr. Polanski to prison for a psychiatric review, though Mr. Wells was not involved with the case.
Mr. Wells also points out to the judge, who died in 1993, what Mr. Wells considered defiant behavior by Mr. Polanski. Mr. Wells, in an interview in the film, says he showed Judge Rittenband a photograph of Mr. Polanski with two girls taken in Germany before his sentencing. ” ‘Judge,’ I said, ‘Look here. He’s flipping you off,’ ” Mr. Wells recalled.
Mr. Polanski has been a fugitive since 1978 when he fled to France to avoid a possible prison sentence or deportation.
In a phone interview on Tuesday, his lawyer, Douglas Dalton, said Mr. Wells’s self-described contacts with the judge appeared to violate California law and legal ethics. At the time, Mr. Wells worked in the Santa Monica courthouse of the Los Angeles County Superior Court, but, after some initial involvement, he was not assigned to the Polanski case.
“There could be a motion to dismiss based on prosecutorial misconduct,” Mr. Dalton said.
“We want to develop information about the extent of the ex parte contacts, what other communications Wells had, whether anybody else was aware of them, that sort of thing.”
In general, Mr. Dalton acknowledged, fugitives have little standing to press conventional appeals. But, he said, California law would permit either a judge or the prosecutor’s office to seek remedies on behalf of Mr. Polanski, including dismissal of the case, if either believed the judicial process had been corrupted.
I do think that even though he barely served any jail time, Roman Polanski has paid his debt to society through the harsh punishment of not being allowed to return to the United States. Because we’re number one, you guys.