Orban was identified by the victim, was implicated by his best friend, was captured on security video footage at the scene of the attack and left his police service weapon, with his name on it, in the victim's car. Ploghaus told the jury that while bar-hopping in Ontario before the kidnapping, Orban groped a woman's chest, grabbed a man's crotch and repeatedly texted a former girlfriend hoping for an afternoon tryst. "He was a highly trained officer who wanted to have sex. He had sex on the mind. Don't forget that," Ploghaus told jurors in her closing argument.
Orban's attorney, James Blatt of Los Angeles, said the assault ran counter to a life spent protecting community and country as a police detective and a Marine veteran of the Iraq war. The only plausible explanation for the defendant's behavior, Blatt argued, was the potent effects of Zoloft, which sent Orban spiraling into an "unconscious" delirium.
"At the time he was not aware, not aware of the torturous things he had done,'' Blatt told the jury…The victim sat in the front row of the Rancho Cucamonga courtroom, clutching a friend's hand, as the prosecutor recounted her testimony that Orban rubbed his weapon against her face during the attack.
The prosecutor criticized Breggin as "intentionally misleading" and told jurors that the scientific community rejects his medical theories. Ploghaus' medical expert, Dr. Douglas Jacobs, an associate clinical professor at Harvard, testified that Zoloft has been prescribed to millions of people and proved to be safe. There has been no evidence that Zoloft causes delirium or unconsciousness, he said.
They said he was in an unconscious state of delirium. That is not and has never been alleged to be a symptom of mania at all. And the degree of the planning and execution of the series of events involved in the rapes is entirely inconsistent with delirium, which is defined as a disturbance of consciousness - reduced clarity of awareness of the environment with reduced ability to focus, sustain or shift attention - and is usually caused by metabolic abnormalities due to a medical condition or to an overdose of certain drugs, Zoloft not being one of those drugs.
The actions of the defendant seemed pretty focused to me! In fact, it sounded as if he were mentally quite sharp even though he had mixed the Zoloft with a lot of alcohol. (Being drunk is not at all the same as being delirious).
And then there was this from the defendant:
And the kicker: the prosecutor questioned the defendant about parallels between his testimony and similar accounts in a magazine and book by a well-known critic of psychotropic drugs. Orban acknowledged reading both works, but denied they had influenced his testimony. Oh, and the critic who authored the book? Breggin!
And now to the issue of antidepressant-induced mania. Apparently no one else testified that the detective had any history of having the disorder. If he were bipolar and Zoloft was going to make him switch into mania, it would have most likely already happened when he was first taking the drug – not when he resumed it after a short break. Resuming a “full dose” may lead to other side effects, but not that one. As far as I know, the ability of antidepressants to kick someone into a manic state is not dose-related.
As to the rape being "counter to a life spent protecting community and country?" As we all know, soldiers in Iraq and police are never guilty of violent behavior. Before he died, you could have asked Rodney King. And I suppose we know for a fact that this was not just the first time he got caught.
|Dan White assassinated San Francisco Mayor George Moscone and Supervisor (and gay hero) Harvey Milk on November 27, 1978, and was sentenced to only seven years|
Addendum (6/27/12): The jury rejected the insanity defense, although some prosecutors apparently did blame the alcohol (rather than the Zolfot) for his "mental fog." That's nonsense, too, considering the intricacies of his actions during the attack. Looks like he had a lot of tolerance to the booze.