The nasty stench of the sheriff-turned-convicted-felon Mike Carona era continues to odorize Southern California.
Today, a state court of appeal based in Santa Ana rejected arguments by Raymond Kiu Jin Yi, one of the many dubious characters Carona handed real Orange County Sheriff's badges before his 2007 FBI arrest. Yi parlayed his newfound importance into pathetic bullying acts during a 2005 round of golf at the Los Serranos Golf & Country Club in Chino Hills.
He whipped out his OCSD badge and asked, "Do you know who I am?" to four men playing golf ahead of his group, demanded to see their driver's licenses, pushed one of them and pointed a cocked semi-automatic handgun at them.
According to court records, Yi also said, "Freeze, freeze . . . I could kill you" and "Get the fuck out of my way or I'll kill you, you son of a bitch," plus "He's ignoring me . . . I'll kick your ass, you fucking gorilla."
Yi--Carona's onetime personal trainer who had a history of possessing an illegal weapon--was arrested after the San Bernardino County incident, convicted of making criminal threats and sentenced to serve 180 days in jail. He appealed, claiming there was "insufficient evidence" that he threatened anyone because--how's this for logic?--he didn't shoot or physically harm anyone.
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And, if that didn't work, he argued that he pulled his gun and sheriff's badge in self-defense.
But the justices weren't gullible today. They concluded, "It was entirely reasonable for the jury to infer [that golfer Gustavo Resendiz] actually sustained fear for his life or safety."
Carona remains free, pending appeal, from serving his 66-month federal prison sentence for sabotaging a federal grand jury investigating corruption at the top of the Orange County Sheriff's Department. George Jaramillo, Carona's longtime best friend and second in command at the OCSD got 27 months in prison. Don Haidl, the used car salesman who illegally funded Carona's initial campaign for sheriff and was named a Carona assistant sheriff with full police powers in return, faces sentencing next month.
--R. Scott Moxley / OC Weekly