Laurence Rittenband was the Superior Court judge who handled the original Roman Polanski case, and if the recent documentary is correct, was going to undo a plea deal with Polanski. An Oct. 12 commentary in the Los Angeles Daily Journal described Rittenband as being "clearly anti-Semitic" and a member of a country club that barred Jews. Au contraire, says a letter to the paper signed by Arthur Gilbert, a presiding judge of the state Court of Appeal.
Attorney Jeffrey A. Lowe in his article, "Spotlight on Roman Polanski," (Oct. 12) scores Judge Lawrence Rittenband for belonging "to a Los Angeles country club that barred Jews from membership." Lowe proclaims that Rittenband, the trial judge, "apparently was clearly anti -Semitic." Putting aside for the moment, the question of how one can be "apparently" and "clearly anti-Semitic," Lowe got his facts wrong. About 27 years ago I served with Judge Rittenband in the Santa Monica branch of the Los Angeles Superior Court. However dissatisfied Mr. Lowe is with the manner in which the Polanski case was handled, Judge Rittenband decidedly was not anti-Semitic. He and I had lunch together at his country club, Hillcrest, a Jewish country club. You see, Judge Rittenband was Jewish and immensely proud of his heritage and culture. There is so much more I would like to say, but because the Polanski case could be characterized as a "pending case," the California Code of Judicial Ethics require I say no more. Darn.
Of course, he couldn't be bothered to spell his friend's name correctly.