Notable Filings: Polanski Request to Dismiss; Tribune Bankruptcy Petition; Criminal Complaint Against Illinois Governor Blagojevich

We’ve seen a number of noteworthy filings posted recently on JD Supra. Here are three from unfolding news stories that continue to capture the headlines:

US v. Rod R. Blagojevich and John Harris (Criminal Complaint Against Illinois Governor Blagojevich)

Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich was arrested on corruption charges this last Tuesday, including trying to sell the Senate seat vacated by fellow Democrat President-elect Barack Obama, federal prosecutors said. Patrick Fitzgerald, US attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, said the charges "allege that Blagojevich put a ‘for sale’ sign on the naming of a United States senator; involved himself personally in pay-to-play schemes with the urgency of a salesman meeting his annual sales target; and corruptly used his office in an effort to trample editorial voices of criticism." The complaint comes to us via Doug Cornelius.

In re: Tribune Company, Petition for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy

With estimated assets and liabilities in excess of $1 billion, media conglomerate Tribune Company owns several properties, including the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, and the KSWB television station in San Diego. (The company also owns the Chicago Cubs.) Petition comes to us courtesy of JD Supra contributor and bankruptcy attorney Carl H. Starrett II. (Attorneys of record in the case: James Conlan of Sidley Austin and Norman Pernick of Cole, Schotz, Meisel, Forman & Leonard.)

Request of Defendant Roman Polanski To Dismiss This Prosecution (People of the State of California v. Roman Raymond Polanski)

New from Top-10 JD Supra contributor Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, a request to dismiss the 30-year-old criminal case against director Roman Polanski for "unlawful sexual intercourse." The request is based on the claim that judicial and prosecutorial misconduct had so distorted the legal process that the interests of justice can only be served with the complete dismissal of the case.

Lawyers Chad Hummel, of Manatt, and Bart Dalton issued the following statement about the public filing:

The release of the documentary film, ROMAN POLANSKI: WANTED AND DESIRED, and its aftermath, have revealed a pattern of misconduct and improper communications between the Superior Court and the District Attorney’s Office, in violation of the rule of law and without the knowledge of the defendant or his counsel.

This case serves as a classic example of how our justice system can be abused, and defendants’ rights trampled, by an unholy alliance between courts and criminal prosecutors.

Related documents also available:

  • the Declaration of Douglas Dalton (attorney for Polanski in the original proceedings)  with exhibits that include:
    • transcripts from the 1977 case;
    • the probation officer’s report;
    • the joint statement of Attorney Dalton and former Deputy District Attorney Roger Gunson expressing their shared view that the Los Angeles Superior Court engaged in "inappropriate handling of the Polanski case."
    • a letter from the attorney representing the family of the 13 year old girl involved in the Polanski case, urging the court to accept the parties’ plea bargain in order to protect the girl’s privacy;
    • a 1997 letter from the victim of the abuse exhorting the court to resolve the Polanski matter and stating her opinion "as the victim of this crime, that the 42 days he [Polanski] has already served is excessive"  and that it is "apparent that he [Polanksi] was not being treated fairly."
  • the Declaration of Chad Hummel, which includes a transcript of the documentary ROMAN POLANSKI: WANTED AND DESIRED;
  • the Declaration of Diana Kwok, attorney at Manatt, attesting that  the Superior Court has identified the official file in the case of People v. Polanski as "missing" as of 1994


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