Roman Polanski moves closer to extradition after appeal loss

April 23rd, 2010 - 10:32 am ICT by IANS  

Los Angeles, April 23 (DPA) Roman Polanski moved closer to extradition from Switzerland to the US when he lost his court bid Thursday to be sentenced in absentia for his 1977 conviction for having sex with a 13-year-old girl.
Lawyers for Polanski had argued that the original proceedings were tainted by illegal collusion between prosecutors and the now deceased trial judge.

But Appeals Judge Peter Spinoza rejected the bid, saying Polanski’s lawyers “failed to demonstrate that the trial court lacked the discretion” to refuse to allow him to be sentenced in absentia, according to a statement posted on the Second Court of Appeals’ website.

Polanski, 76, is currently under house arrest in Switzerland awaiting the outcome of the extradition process. He fled from the US before sentencing in 1977 after pleading guilty to unlawful sex with a minor.

His lawyers argue that he only absconded when he learned that the judge, Laurence J. Rittenband, intended to deviate from a plea deal that would have seen him sentenced to just the 42 days he had already served in jail for psychiatric evaluation.

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