February 18, 2009 in Nation/World

In brief: Judge denies Polanski request

 
Roberto Pfeil photo

Polanski
(Full-size photo)

Roman Polanski lost a battle Tuesday in his effort to get a 1977 child sex case against him thrown out, but in delivering the bad news, a judge suggested the acclaimed director may be a plane ticket away from winning the larger war.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Peter Espinoza told a packed courtroom that he found the core argument in Polanski’s request for a dismissal of charges – allegations of unethical and, in some instances, illegal conduct by a prosecutor and a judge three decades ago – to be credible.

“There was substantial, it seems to me, misconduct that occurred during the pendency of this case,” Espinoza said.

But, the judge said, Polanski’s fugitive status left him no choice but to deny the request. Espinoza suspended his ruling for 30 days to allow Polanski to discuss surrendering with his lawyers. He later extended that deadline until May at the request of Polanski’s attorneys, who said the director is filming a movie in Germany for the next two and a half months.

Polanski, 75, has said he has no intention of returning to the United States. A 1978 arrest warrant, issued after he failed to appear at his sentencing on a statutory rape conviction, is still in effect, and he would be taken into custody upon arrival on U.S. soil.

Los Angeles

Ice Age fossils found near tar pits

Scientists are studying a huge cache of Ice Age fossil deposits recovered near the famous La Brea Tar Pits in the heart of the nation’s second-largest city.

Among the finds is a near-intact mammoth skeleton, a skull of an American lion and bones of saber-toothed cats, dire wolves, bison, horses, ground sloths and other mammals.

Researchers discovered 16 fossil deposits under an old parking lot next to the tar pits in 2006 and began sifting through them last summer. The mammoth remains, including 10-foot-long tusks, were in an ancient riverbed near the fossil cache.

Officials of the Page Museum at the tar pits plan to formally announce their findings today. The discoveries could double the museum’s Ice Age collection.

Such a rich find usually takes years to excavate. But with a deadline looming to build an underground parking garage for the next-door art museum, researchers boxed up the deposits and lifted them out of the ground using a massive crane.

“It’s like a paleontological Christmas,” research team member Andie Thomer wrote in a blog post in July.

From wire reports


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