"Baca dug himself into a tremendous hole by basing her release on the fact that she was not feeling well," said Raphael Sonenshein, a Cal State Fullerton political science professor who has written several books about L.A. politics.
"It's embarrassing," he said of the board's request, "but it's not going to cost him his job."
Sonenshein said he expected to see a slew of new lawsuits from inmates claiming they weren't treated as well as Hilton. What appears to be the first of these claims was filed Monday by a former county inmate named Pamela Richardson. Richardson, who served 20 days in the Century Regional Detention Center, alleges that sheriff's deputies refused to give her adequate medical treatment while she was in jail.
According to her claim, which is a precursor to a lawsuit, deputies removed Richardson's prosthetic leg and forced her to crawl to the bathroom while in jail. The claim says that Richardson, who is black, received "much worse treatment than Paris Hilton."
In more bad news for Baca, former county employee Andrew Ahlering has started a petition drive to recall the 65-year-old sheriff.
Ahlering acknowledged that it would be difficult to gather the roughly 390,000 signatures needed to get the recall on the ballot, but he said he hoped the public outcry over Hilton's case would prompt voters to sign on.
Ahlering, 27, is no stranger to controversy. He ran an unsuccessful bid for county supervisor last year, losing to Supervisor Gloria Molina. He also served 23 days in jail last year after allegedly disrupting a Board of Supervisors meeting. He was given probation after pleading no contest to a misdemeanor, and was ordered to keep away from board meetings.
Paris' parents, Kathy and Rick Hilton, arrived at the jail in a black Mercedes sedan shortly before 1 p.m. Tuesday and were immediately swarmed by reporters and photographers. They had to be escorted to the jail by two deputies, who slowly pushed through the crowd.
The Hiltons were allowed to see their daughter when the jail's visitor center was closed for lunch — a fact that rankled some less-than-famous visitors. Similar complaints were lodged Sunday, when Paris' sister, Nicky, waited a scant 15 minutes to see Paris, bypassing most of the long visitors line.
Art Hernandez, 27, said sheriff's deputies told him he would not be able to visit his brother Tuesday, even though he'd waited several hours to do so.
"It's not right," he said. "Paris gets visits when everything's closed because she's rich. We're supposed to be equal."
About 45 minutes later, the Hiltons emerged and the scene repeated itself.
Reporters again descended on the couple, who could barely move, and surrounded their car, shouting questions. A few chased the Mercedes down the block.
"Y'all make me not want to be rich anymore," Deseree Diehl, who was watching from the sidewalk, said to no one in particular.
A radio reporter turned to a cameraman and asked, "So, are you ashamed of yourself yet?"
As for Johnny Garcia, the amateur paparazzo, he jumped into a tree to get a clear shot of the Hiltons. He came away with a photo of the back of their heads, surrounded by cameras.
"That looks like it could be them, right?" he asked, smiling.
"That might be the money shot, right there," he said.