As Noel said in his review a while back, Roman Polanski: Wanted & Desired was an interesting documentary simply because it attempted to shine a light on some of the forgotten legal details of the Polanski rape case–namely that the judge was, by all accounts, a bad judge and a bit of a showboat who was perfectly willing to bend and shape and prolong Polanski's sentencing simply because he wanted to remain in the media spotlight. None of that, however, excused Polanski's terrible, terrible crime, or the fact that he chose to flee from justice (and, yes, justice in this case came in the form of a less-than-judicious judge: those are the breaks) rather than face it.
According to the documentary, here's what happened: Polanski pleaded guilty to unlawful sexual intercourse with a (13-year-old) minor—in order to avoid a trial on host of other charges like Rape, Sodomy, and giving drugs to child—and the judge, rather than sentencing him right away, ordered Polanski to undergo a psychiatric evaluation for 90 days. Polanski served 42 of those days before fleeing the country to avoid the wrath of this showboating judge, and since has been a fugitive (albeit an Oscar-winning fugitive).
Today, the New York Times is reporting that Polanski's lawyers are trying to get the LA District Attorney's office to review the decades-old rape case, and possibly dismiss it, based on some of the information and interviews in the film:
In general, [Polanski's lawyer] acknowledged, fugitives have little standing to press conventional appeals. But, he said, California law would permit either a judge or the prosecutor's office to seek remedies on behalf of Mr. Polanski, including dismissal of the case, if either believed the judicial process had been corrupted.
In an e-mail message this week, Mr. Polanski, 74, said he would not make any decisions until [his lawyer] had finished reviewing Mr. Wells's actions. "I'm not ruling anything out," he said. "I believe that closure of that entire matter is long overdue."
Aw. It's hard out there for a fugitive rapist. Why can't people just let go of the crime you spent decades running away from, right?
You're right, Roman Polanski, closure of the entire matter is long overdue—by thirty years in fact, which is round about the time you ran away to Europe rather than face sentencing. Unfortunately, you're the one delaying that closure by refusing to accept punishment for a crime that you admitted you're guilty of. The judge in the case may have been a complete jackass, but that's what appeals are for.
Instead of Wanted & Desired, there's another documentary that could help Roman Polanski get closure in his case: Locked Up Abroad: Peru. It's about 2 (very naive) girls who agree to smuggle cocaine out of Peru but then get caught at the airport. So they committed a crime in a foreign country with a weird and often corrupt justice system and are arrested, but since they don't have the financial resources to escape and become fugitives, they serve a number of years in a terrible Peruvian jail before finally being released, free and clear. And now they have closure. See how that works?