Some media have repeated several times that Polanski fled because a judge was going to renege on a plea bargain and sentence him to extra time.
Patterico explains what really happened.
Oh: Goldberg says Polanski thought: “You know what? This guy’s gonna give me 100 years in jail, I’m not staying.” I have read variants of this claim all over, mostly commonly that the judge was going to give Polanski 50 years. What?? The judge wasn’t even going to give him 50 extra days. He was going to give him 48 extra days. I get this from the motion filed by Polanski’s lawyers.
Paragraph 16 of the declaration of Polanski’s lawyer says: “Judge Rittenband announced to counsel that he now intended to send Mr. Polanski to prison for the second time under the following conditions: (1) that he serve 48 additional days in prison . . .” The other conditions were that there would be no further hearing, and that Polanski “deport himself.” Polanski had been sent to prison for a “90-day diagnostic” and had served only 42 days; the 48 days was meant to complete the 90 days.
This allegedly went against a previous in-chambers promise by the judge that the initial 42 days would be all Polanski would serve; however, Polanski did not plead based on the previous promise, which was made after the plea. That previous promise did not induce the plea, and when commentators say the judge “reneged” on a deal they are adopting the language of Polanski’s lawyers, who argue that the judge said he would make his decision after reading the probation department report and listening to the lawyers’ arguments. Instead, Polanski’s lawyers claim, the judge made up his mind before listening to the lawyers. Which, truth be told, judges always do; they just usually put on a better show of listening to us.
What’s really disgusting about this case is that the guy was going to be given an incredibly light sentence for the crimes he committed, but he couldn’t even take that punishment.
Why was he given such a light sentence? Because he was famous and intended to use that to traumatise his victim, Weatherston-style.
That anyone would help this man avoid the limited justice he was to receive is disgusting beyond belief.