You know, I was too hasty in reading something I quoted above - the danger of casual legal discussion. The Frontline language I referenced says the judge can reject the "plea offer" itself. It does not refer to rejecting the sentence recommendation alone. I have egg on my cyber face and I apologize.
This language simply doesn't address the judge's power regarding sentencing alone, in a plea situation. However, I continue to believe that a judge has the power to reject a negotiated sentence while retaining the guilty plea. I also believe that if an improper communication took place after the entry of a plea, the remedy would be to bring in a new judge.
I welcome any truly informed comment in this regard. Actually, I welcome any comment, but I continue to caution all of us that the law is usually highly nuanced and the blunt "rules" cited here frequently miss the mark.
My take remains -- Polanski's conduct was scummy and criminal and he should be brought back here, allowed to REQUEST the withdrawal of his plea per whatever rules apply to all, and face the judicial system.