Roman Polanski's fast track to stateside restoration suffered its first setback Monday when he lost his bid to get out of the L.A. courts that he says railroaded him 31 years ago.

To recap: Sure, Polanski pleaded guilty to having sex with a 13-year-old, and he did a month and a half of jail time awaiting his sentence before dashing off to France, where he's lived as a fugitive since 1978. But after a 2008 documentary revealed some skeevy, untoward influence on the case's presiding judge (now deceased), the director and his attorneys sought a dismissal of the case. And whoever dismissed it, they argued, it shouldn't go through the still-tainted Los Angeles Superior Court, which insists Polanski return to make his case in person — which would at least temporarily land him back in the can, where child rapists are reportedly unpopular no matter how many Oscars they and their films have have won.

It was worth a shot, we guess — even his victim wants the whole thing thrown out — but the change of venue was blocked yesterday when an appeals court lifted a stay on the Polanski proceedings. A new hearing will be scheduled shortly, for now still requiring Polanski's personal appearance in front of a sure-to-be-sympathetic local judge. We recommend the director make the most of it, perhaps lining up a Feb. 23 court date, preceded by one of those surprise presenter berths at the Academy Awards the night before. Get on it, Bill Condon.