Director Roman Polanski doesn’t believe he’ll get fair treatment in a Los Angeles court, and has requested to disqualify the L.A. Superior Court in his lawsuit against the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences. He has instead requested that the case against the Academy’s decision to expel him be assigned to a judge from outside Los Angeles County.
In his latest lawsuit, Polanski seeks reinstatement into the Academy because he claims “its decision was made without due process based on an ancient conviction and a fugitive status lawful under California law.”
The unusual request from the international fugitive (he fled the U.S. in 1978 after being convicted of raping a young woman) was made on Monday. In it, Polanski’s attorneys state “the history of Polanski litigation means that any judgment of this court would raise an issue of impartiality.”
The filing continues to state that Polanski claims that “several Los Angeles judges have acted either dishonestly, or denied him due process, adding that those claims have been “reinforced via the added authority” of courts in Poland and Switzerland, where Polanski has been residing.
“Mr. Polanski has no reason to believe that the Honorable Mary H. Strobel is personally biased, but believes the history of the Polanski litigation means that any judgment of this Court would raise an issue of impartiality,” the filing stated.
“Mr. Polanski recognizes the extraordinary nature of his suggestion, but hopes the Court understands the documented history of his dispute with the Court justifies this request,” it continued.
The rest of the 245-page filing includes a summary of the Polanski proceedings, a Polish judge’s opinion supporting Polanski, and his brief filed in a Krakow Regional Court. The filing then outlines the depths of injustices Polanski has faced at the hands of L.A. judges for the rape trial, being placed on Interpol’s red notice (criminal alert) list in 2005, his 2009 arrest in Switzerland at the behest of U.S. authorities, his consequent house arrest, and other extradition attempts. The lengthy document also references the infamous 1969 murder of his pregnant wife Sharon Tate at the hands of the Manson Family.
The filing even includes a photo of Polish judge Dariusz Mazur — the same judge who denied a request by the United States to extradite Polanski back in 2015 — as an examplar of justice. His portrait is captioned with a quote, “The justice system in Los Angeles, possibly fearing excessive media criticism and influenced by the mistaken pursuit to protect its good name, has lost the ability to self-correct its own past mistakes.”
Earlier this year, the Academy said it “stands behind its decision as appropriate” to expel Roman Polanski from its ranks.
Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.