Chalet-Bound Roman Polanski Requests Sentencing in Absentia


If you had taken those long odds that Wednesday's hearing in the ongoing Roman Polanski saga might result in his sentencing, you were so close. Instead the filmmaker -- currently under chatel-arrest and awaiting extradition from Switzerland -- and his attorneys urged the judge in his case to sentence Polanski in absentia. It's not as odd or dramatic a strategy as it sounds, either.

That's because the lawyers followed through on a suggestion made last month by a California appellate panel, which confirmed the option as one that might finally end the drama once and for all. After all, Polanski's lawyers argue, if the sentence is less than or equivalent to the additional 90 days recommended by original judge Laurence Rittenband, then it might be too short to qualify for extradition. The district attorney wasn't swayed, but current judge Peter Espinoza took the motion under advisement and set a new hearing Jan. 22 to address it further.

Mysteriously (and somewhat hilariously), the Polanski team asked for a quick decision in case it needed testimony from a witness who, according to the New York Times, "might soon become less readily available to the court." The witness wasn't named, though the judge asked both sides to figure out a deposition while s/he was "still available to testify." Intriguing! Who could it be, and what's the imposition? Is Jack Nicholson going on location? Is some other knowledgeable insider terminally ill? Hypothesize away below; we need something new to bet on.

· Polanski Urges Judge to Sentence Him in Absentia [NYT]