Phillip Vannatter (later of OJ Simpson fame) was brought in as investigator on the evening of March 11, 1977, when he served a search warrant on Roman Polanski’s room at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel. The search warrant listed film, cameras, and “Rorer 714 tablets”—Quaaludes.
According to Vannatter’s testimony, Polanski attempted to remove a small white pill from his left jacket pocket to drop it. Vannatter put his left hand underneath Polanski’s and instructed him to drop the pill into Vannatter’s hand.
In a Washington Post article from February 1978, Polanski claimed to be “exhausted” following the 45 days undergoing the court-ordered psychiatric tests that he had agreed to as part of the plea.
Polanski claims they talked about birth control while in the car.
Polanski “expressed great remorse regarding any possible effect the present offense might have on the victim. He expressed great pity and compassion for her.” That pity did not extend to Samantha’s mother or Kim’s boyfriend Henri, who had been instrumental in putting Polanski in touch with the family.
The report recommended probation. The recommendations stated:
1. Pay a substantial fine plus penalty assessment to probation officer in such a manner as he shall prescribe.
2. Not associate with children under the age of 18 except in the presence of responsible adults.
3. Cooperate with probation officer in plan for psychiatric treatment.
4. Seek and maintain employment as approved by the probation officer.
5. Maintain residence as approved by the probation officer.
6. Obey all laws, orders, rules and regulations of the probation department and the court.
In February 2009, attorneys for Polanski argued that all Los Angeles County Superior Court Judges should be disqualified from hearing the Polanski case at all. Polanski’s attorney argued that the entire bench was biased because a court spokesperson had commented to media that Polanski was required to be present at the hearing, thus, proof of prejudice.
And perhaps the most important remark: “There are still five or six other much more serious charges pending that have yet to be resolved.”
Why is this important? Because the additional charges have not been dropped, and Polanski did not fulfill his part of the plea deal—he was released from prison quicker than 90 days and he did not show up for sentencing. The bench can reject the guilty plea because Polanski did not complete the terms of the deal. He’s also facing a charge of failing to appear in court.
Today Samantha is a mother of four kids. I wonder if she is raising her kids a bit differently than she was raised and if she’s a bit more vigilant than her mother. I want to know if she would hand her daughter over to a 45-year old man on the promise of modeling fame, and if she’d be so quick to shrug her daughter’s rape off.
Is a defendant’s tragic life a mitigating factor in this crime? Are Susan and Samantha’s reluctances any reason to let Polanski off the hook? Perhaps a jury in Los Angeles will get to decide.