Polanski’s freedom depends on 19th century legal doctrine

As Roman Polanski comfortably sits in a Swiss chalet under house arrest, the 2nd District Court of Appeals will decide an important issue in his case related to extraditing him to Los Angeles. In January, Polanski, who was a still a fugitive, asked a Los Angeles judge to throw out his case based on prosecutorial misconduct.

The judge refused to entertain the request, because under the fugitive disentitlement doctrine, a defendant who has fled from justice and is on the run cannot ask for the court’s help. Polanski’s lawyers, have a different opinion, and are asking the judge to "address the misconduct . . . in the interests of maintaining the integrity of the state’s criminal justice system."

Polanski case may hinge on 19th-century legal doctrine | Los Angeles Times

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