Rapist May Be Sentenced— Even Though He's Dead

Former cop Anthony Orban killed himself following conviction
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted May 21, 2013 6:44 AM CDT
This file photo, taken April 13, 2010, shows Anthony Orban in a Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., courtroom during a bail hearing.   (AP Photo/The Orange County Register,Joshua Sudock)

(Newser) – A former police detective was convicted of kidnapping and rape last year—but before he could be sentenced, he committed suicide. But he's not off the hook: A California judge could still sentence Anthony Orban despite his death. "The only reason he is not here is because he volunteered to take his own life," said Judge Shahla Shabet, per the San Jose Mercury News. "The court does have jurisdiction to complete the sentencing."

Orban's lawyer disagrees. "I can't comprehend how you can go ahead and sentence someone who is dead," James Blatt told Shabet. "This is not in the best interest of the dignity of the court system." He says the conviction should hold but the case should be removed from the calendar; Shabet argues that either a formal dismissal or sentencing is required, and Blatt says he won't seek a dismissal. Now, the sentencing hearing has been postponed to the summer so Blatt can research his position. Says the victim: "I really just want it to be over." (This isn't the first twist in Orban's case; click to read about his unusual defense strategy.)

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