RANCHO CUCAMONGA, (AP) – The sentencing of a former California police detective convicted of rape was delayed Thursday when a judge ordered an investigation of possible misconduct by a juror.
The move came during the trial of Anthony Orban, who blamed the antidepressant Zoloft for his actions, claiming he lost consciousness.
He was convicted of raping the woman in 2010 after abducting her from a shopping mall while off-duty from his job with the Westminster Police Department.
Orban could face a maximum sentence of life in prison, but a new trial could be ordered if the judge finds juror misconduct occurred.
His lawyer, James Blatt, reported to the court that a juror belatedly contacted him and said another juror talked loudly before the verdict about her experiences taking Zoloft, the San Bernardino Sun reported.
The Los Angeles Times said the juror insisted the drug didn’t make her crazy.
Judge Shahla Sabet ordered the juror to be found and brought to court for questioning on Sept. 14.
Blatt argued that there was presumed prejudice because the juror failed to disclose that fact during the initial jury selection process, when prospective jurors were asked if they had taken Zoloft or had strong opinions about psychotropic drugs.
Orban, an Iraq War veteran, had pleaded not guilty and not guilty by reason of insanity. The jury rejected the defense during an insanity phase of the trial. They found Orban guilty of kidnapping, rape and multiple counts of sexual assault in June.
Prosecutors say Orban kidnapped the woman as she walked to her car then forced her to drive to a self-storage lot in Fontana where he raped her inside her SUV and shoved a gun in her mouth. She said she was able to escape when Orban was distracted by an incoming cellphone call.