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Polanski must appear in L.A. court to seek dismissal of charge

Appellate panel rejects a bid by the filmmaker's lawyers to disqualify all 600 L.A. County Superior Court judges from hearing his request to dismiss a 1977 statutory rape charge.

February 03, 2009|Harriet Ryan

Roman Polanski must make his case for the dismissal of a 1977 statutory rape charge before a judge in Los Angeles, an appellate court ruled Monday.

A three-judge panel in the 2nd District of the Court of Appeals rejected an attempt by lawyers for Polanski to have all 600 judges in the L.A. County Superior Court disqualified from hearing the dismissal request. The Academy Award-winner's attorneys had argued that statements by a court spokesman showed bias against Polanski.

The appellate judges offered no explanation in the one-page order sending the case back to Judge Peter Espinoza, the supervising judge of the Superior Court's criminal division.

Polanski, 75, filed papers in December asking that the case that has made him a fugitive for three decades be thrown out because of what his attorneys described as egregious prosecutorial and judicial misconduct surrounding his sentencing.

The filmmaker pleaded guilty to a charge of unlawful intercourse with a 13-year-old girl but fled the U.S. before a judge sentenced him.

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harriet.ryan@latimes.com

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