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Hearing Set in Roman Polanski's Sex Case

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Jan. 5 2010, Published 4:59 a.m. ET

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Roman Polanski will be returning to the courtroom for an overdue hearing for his criminal case later this week. The case could be resolved quickly, the appeals court has suggested, if Roman's attorneys agree to sentencing in absentia — without Roman physically in court — or Roman drops his opposition to being extradited to the United States. Superior Court spokesman Allan Parachini said Judge Peter Espinoza will hold a hearing for Roman's case on Wednesday, the Associated Press reports.

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Roman is currently under house arrest at his Swiss chalet after he was arrested in late September on a fugitive warrant.

He was accused of raping a 13-year-old girl during a 1977 modeling shoot and was indicted on six felony counts and pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of unlawful sexual intercourse. Roman fled to France the day before his sentencing in 1978 after spending 42 days in a California prison for psychiatric evaluation.

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This will be the first time the 32-year-old sex case will be back in court. Last month a state appeals court rejected Roman's bid to have it dismissed.

Roman's lawyers requested an in-chambers conference on the case, but prosecutors denied the request, Los Angeles Country district attorney's spokeswoman Sandi Gibbons said.

The judge then scheduled a public hearing and Gibbons said she did not know what would be discussed.

In-chambers discussions have previously been controversial. In the case, misconduct has been cited because the original judge may have consulted with a former prosecutor about how to sentence Roman.

Another controversy is whether a judge in the late 19902 agreed to resolve the case only if the sentencing hearing was televised.

Polanski was initially accused of raping a 13-year-old girl after plying her with champagne and a Quaalude pill during a 1977 modeling shoot. He was indicted on six felony counts, including rape by use of drugs, child molestation and sodomy, but he pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of unlawful sexual intercourse.

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