So who you ask is EX PARTE. According to Law.com, ex parte is defined as such:
(ex par-tay, but popularly, ex party) adj. Latin meaning “for one party,” referring to motions, hearings or orders granted on the request of and for the benefit of one party only. This is an exception to the basic rule of court procedure that both parties must be present at any argument before a judge, and to the otherwise strict rule that an attorney may not notify a judge without previously notifying the opposition. Ex parte matters are usually temporary orders (like a restraining order or temporary custody) pending a formal hearing or an emergency request for a continuance. Most jurisdictions require at least a diligent attempt to contact the other party’s lawyer of the time and place of any ex parte hearing.
However, when ex parte is heard outside of the lawyers of a defendant by say a judge having a conversation about a case, they must refrain from having said ex parte communications as it violates the rights of the one on trial. Particularly when it comes to outsiders of any case where there is not a vested interest in such case by that outside party. In the case of Roman Polanski is was the ex parte communications Judge Laurence J. Rittenband had with at least two or three different people when it came to presiding over Polanski’s case. Those people were Deputy District Attorney David Wells, Santa Monica Evening Outlook court reporter Richard Brenneman, and at least one person at his Hillcrest Country Club where he told this person, “I’m going to throw the book at that Polocko.” In all cases this is most certainly illegal. There is no fudging about it, no matter how much people want to think what Rittenband did was not pressing to the Polanski Case. It of course was.
The ex parte principle was used in the case of murder suspect Sam Sheppard who was convicted of the murder of his wife, Marilyn who was raped and bludgeoned to death in 1954. Journalist Dorothy Kilgallan in her article for The New York Journal-American, wrote about the judge in Sheppard’s case that he had an ex parte communication with her at The Overseas Press Club. Judge Edward J. Blythin in a discussion stated to Judge Blythin, “Why are you here?” in relation to the case that had a whole lot of salacious things like sex, drugs, murder…. Judge Blythin stated, “I don’t know why you’re here, he’s guilty as hell.” Dorothy kept the information quiet for nine years until the judge died then took it to Sheppard’s attorny F. Lee Bailey who used the information in his appeal. It was the main reason why the Supreme Court overturned Sheppard’s conviction releasing Sheppard. Later in 1998 DNA testing proved that Sheppard did not in fact kill his wife. The DNA held that it might have belonged to Richard Eberling, a family friend. None of Sheppard’s DNA was shown to have been on Marilyn’s body. Evidence in swabs and smears from Marilyn’s body showed it tested positive for semen belonging to Eberling. Due to the results of the DNA testing the court posthumously exonerated Dr. Sheppard in the murder of his wife.
To those who believe that what Judge Rittenband did was not wrong, look to Ohio’s ruling in Sheppard. If one judge is guilty of it, it does indeed mean another is too. Rittenband’s disgusting behaviour both in and out of the court room is suspect and is illegal. This is why it is imperative that Polanski get another hearing, or the higher appellate court’s ruling for sentencing him in absentia is the correct thing to do. Can we expect California to do what is right? Not likely. They haven’t so far. At no point has that court ever ruled fairly for Polanski. It’s always ruled for it’s own self-interests. This is the reason too why former DA Roger Gunson’s transcript must be unsealed. His statement given under oath is a clear record of Rittenband’s conduct. It is relevant to the current proceedings in which Polanski’s new attorney Harland Braun is seeking to have Gunson’s testimony unsealed. All it takes is for a fair ruling by a fair judge to have that happen. I would also love to have those panties tested again. This time with the new advances in DNA testing we might get a true return on who that stain belonged to. If I were to go over and under of the likelihood of it belonging to Polanski, I’d have to say there’s a clear ZERO percent chance it does belong to Polanski. The next step would be to find out who it did belong to and if those panties were indeed the ones Samantha wore that afternoon. There is still a severe chain-of-custody issue surrounding those panties in that Det. Phillip Vannatter did not go with Samantha when she retrieved them from the laundry room at her home. And again there is the forensic findings the stain belonged to a man who was sterile. If I were to take an over or under assessment of who the stain belonged to, I’d give a 100% chance it belonged to Susan Gailey’s boyfriend, Bob. But then that would take someone with the guts to want to actually test them. If it is proven the stain doesn’t belong to Polanski, then I’d say someone has some explaining.
Now you’ve met ex parte. I hope you’re now more educated on why it is illegal and that there is indeed precedent.