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Roman Polanski arrested for having sex with 13 year old in 1977

Los Angeles, CA |

So I just heard on NPR yesterday how Roman Polanski was just now arrested for sexually assaulting a 13 year old girl in 1977. I understand he skipped his sentencing back then and moved to France however the 13 year old who is now a woman said she wanted the case dropped. If she wanted the case dropped, can they still bring Mr. Polanski to court? Also, if they do bring him to court, can he still be represented by his french lawyers or does he have to use american lawyers? Is this just a ploy to get attention for the LA DA office? It seems like they should have bigger cases to focus on than one that is 32 years old. Thanks.

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Attorney answers 3


In order:

1. It's not up to the victim to decide if Mr. Polanski should continue to be prosecuted, it's up to the DA's office.
2. He'd have to have not just an American lawyer, but a California lawyer or a lawyer from a different state that has special permission to be in a California court.
3. I doubt it is a ploy
4. Not a question - but if it were your 13 year old daughter that had been sexually assaulted, would you want the DAs to just let it go because the person "hid out in the open" basically thumbing their nose at the American court system?
5. Yes, I"m sure the DAs office gets a kick out of the attention.

Matthew Williamson


Yes the DA can continue the case, even when a victim wants the case dropped. Whether a defendant can be represented by any particular lawyer, will depend on the ability of the lawyer to meet the licensing requirements of the Court themself, or through either the processes of pro hac vice admission or the appearance of local counsel who can satisfy the Court's licensing requirements.

This information is offered for informational purposes only, as I do not practice law in your State. It is not intended as legal advice and you should not rely upon it to decide how to resolve this issue. No Attorney-Client relationship is intended or established by this response.


The court can hold a witness in contempt for refusing to testify. In most cases, punishment for contempt can include placing the witness in jail until he or she agrees to testify.

However, there is an exception for many sexual offenses, including rape and child molestation. Penal Code 1219(b).

If the witness refused to testify, it would be a very difficult case to prosecute unless there was other evidence of the offense.

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