Nov 2, 2009 8:09 PM
LOS ANGELES (AP) A California appeals court will listen to oral arguments from Roman Polanski's attorneys about why it should require a lower court to decide whether to dismiss charges against the fugitive director, whether he is present or not.
Polanski in July appealed a Los Angeles Superior Court judge's decision not to dismiss the criminal case because the director didn't appear for a hearing. The California Second District Court of Appeal on Monday set oral arguments for Dec. 10.
Los Angeles authorities have considered the Oscar-winning director a fugitive since he fled the United States in February 1978 just before he was to be sentenced for unlawful sexual intercourse with a 13-year-old girl.
The appeal was filed before Polanski's arrest in Switzerland on Sept. 25. He has resisted efforts to return him to Los Angeles. Extradition paperwork filed by U.S. authorities states the maximum sentence that Polanski, 76, faces is two years in prison.
Polanski's French attorney has filed a new bail offer with Swiss authorities in an attempt to free the Oscar-winning filmmaker.
Lawyer Herve Temime said the offer Monday includes "adequate guarantees" that Polanski will not flee justice if released. Polanski is awaiting a decision on extradition to the United States.
Switzerland's Justice Ministry rejected a bail offer Friday, considering Polanski a high flight risk. They noted it was not a cash offer.
Temime said Sunday the new offer would include a "very, very significant" cash amount, but he gave no further details Monday.
The California appellate court's decision to schedule oral arguments came 10 days after prosecutors and Polanski's attorneys filed supplemental briefs on why the appeal should either be heard or dismissed.
Prosecutors have consistently argued that Polanski needs to be present for the judge to consider whether to dismiss the case against him. They argued the appeal should be barred by Polanski's status as a fugitive, and that his arrest has rendered the case moot since there is now a chance that he will be returned to the United States.
Polanski's attorneys, however, argued his status as a fugitive shouldn't disqualify his appeal. The Superior Court judge should be required to decide whether to dismiss the case because of a judge's misconduct in handling Polanski's original criminal case, they stated in court filings.
They also contend that because of the previous misconduct, Polanski should not have to attend the hearing.
Polanski's victim, Samantha Geimer, has repeatedly asked for dismissal of the charges against Polanski. Her attorney filed a declaration in the appeals case last month, stating that the case's re-emergence has caused her undisclosed health issues and problems at her workplace.
She sued Polanski years after he fled, and the director agreed to pay a $500,000 settlement to her. It is unclear how much of the money she received.
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