By Allen David
Superior Court Judge Shahla S. Sabet rules that the Westminster Police Department detective who last year was found guilty of kidnapping, beating and raping a woman in Fontana, will never be sentenced for the crime. Apparently, the judge figured she couldn’t come up with anything to top the sentence that the 33-year-old detective—Anthony Orban—imposed when he hung himself in his jail cell last October, hours before he was scheduled to learn his punishment. From here, that looks like a lack of imagination. Orban certainly hadn’t spared the woman he abused any of his self-indulgence in April 2012, when he concluded a day of heavy drinking with a friend by kidnapping her at gunpoint as she was leaving work at Dave & Buster’s at the Ontario Mills Mall, forcing her to drive to a strip mall in Fontana, then beating and sexually assaulting her for more than an hour—at one point jamming his service weapon in her mouth and then rubbing the gun along her cheek—before she escaped out of an unlocked door of her SUV. Police later found Orban’s service weapon in her car. And Orban definitely contorted reality to come up with an excuse—pleading not guilty by reason of insanity based on the argument that he was not aware of his actions due to “involuntary intoxication” from the antidepressant and anxiety medication Zoloft, which he contended was the trigger for a “psychotic break” from reality. When neither the jury nor the judge bought any of it and Orban seemed destined to have to face up to his crimes, the ex-Marine and Middle East war veteran took the cowardly way out. And it worked.
THURSDAY, JULY 11
This week marks the one-year anniversary of the San Bernardino City Council’s decision authorizing city officials to file for Chapter 9 bankruptcy protection. The council members were finally forced to act, more than two years after some city officials began warning of insolvency following years of deficit spending that had left practically no reserve, when two newly hired officials prepared a report that spelled things out for them. Until that, council members insisted, they didn’t know the severity of the city’s fiscal crisis. Just before they voted, City Attorney James F. Penman told the council that San Bernardino was in danger of not making its Aug. 15 payroll.
FRIDAY, JULY 12
Amid disturbing news from throughout California’s prison system—inmate hunger strikes in protest of extensive use of solitary confinement, reports of female inmates being sterilized—comes a refreshing policy shift at Norco prison. Cynthia Tampkins, warden at California Rehabilitation Center, told staff in a memorandum that “we will reinstate an organized feeding process” for the feral cats that live on the prison grounds. The decision reverses a memo that Tampkins released a month ago, ordering that the cats not be fed due to health concerns over possible diseases they may carry. Tampkins attributes her earlier do-not-feed-the-cats decision on an inspection by the California Occupational Safety and Health Administration, which she says found potential health and safety hazards to employees and inmates. But Cal/OSHA regional manager Peter A. Riley denies his agency ever told or suggested to the prison that it stop feeding the cats. In fact, Riley denies Cal/OSHA ever said anything about the cats. Either way, it seems to be public reaction to the warden’s original move against the cats that prompted her change in policy. Jackie Martin, program director of Feral Alley Cats & Friends in Desert Hot Springs, created an online petition drive to pressure the prison to resume feeding the cats.
She contends that more than 3,700 supporters from around the country signed it. In explaining the change in policy, Tampkins’ memo explaining the reversal of her policy, said, “unfortunately, some individuals in the public have expressed their outrage at the removal of the feeders. I understand their concerns and empathize with their views. “It was never my intention to appear unsympathetic or uncaring.” Not when it comes to cats, anyway.
SATURDAY, JULY 13
When it comes to a 17-year-old African American boy talking on his cell phone while returning from a convenience store armed with a soft drink and a box of Skittles to his father’s home in a nearly all non-African-American gated community, things are different. That’s enough to arouse suspicion and provoke pursuit from a 29-year-old community watch volunteer armed with a gun. In fact, that’s enough for the community watch volunteer to ignore instructions from a 911 operator to cease pursuit, which leads to an escalation of the suspicion to the point of a confrontation, which results in the armed-with-a-gun community watch volunteer shooting to death the armed-with-Skittles-and-a-soft-drink African-American boy. But that’s not enough for the community watch volunteer to be arrested for more than 40 days. And more than a year later, that’s not enough to convict the community watch volunteer of a single thing. Not guilty, is the verdict. But that’s enough for lots of people to call justice.
SUNDAY, JULY 14
Can’t forget Trayvon Martin.
MONDAY, JULY 15
Haven’t forgotten Trayvon Martin.
TUESDAY, JULY 16
Will not forget Trayvon Martin.