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Man Accused of Shooting Oregon Officer Not Competent to Stand Trial

Violent crimes are treated very seriously under Oregon law, especially if the violence at issue was directed at a law enforcement officer.  When you are involved in an encounter with police, the best thing to do is to remain calm, comply with their requests, maintain composure, and ask for an attorney. Unfortunately, not all people follow this advice, often with tragic consequences. In addition, mental illness can cause a person to act violently towards law enforcement, making for a difficult legal situation for those trying to seek justice.

According to a report by KATU.com, a man accused of fatally shooting a Rainer, Oregon police officer in 2011 was declared incompetent to stand trial by an Oregon Judge. 23 year old Daniel Butts is accused of killing Officer Ralph Painter in a Rainer auto shop after an altercation in which Butts was able to get Painter’s gun. Butts was initially deemed incompetent to stand trial, and this ruling confirmed that prior decision. The report states that Butts was reclusive during the hearing, putting his hands over his ears and eyes and laying his head on the table. His attorneys claim that their client is unable to assist in their defense and will not help them make decisions. The prosecution claims that Butts is faking illness to avoid standing trial for the murder.

Competency evaluations focus on a defendant’s mental state as it relates to their ability to stand trial. Specifically, a trial court looks to a person’s ability to consult with an attorney rationally to aid in his own defense and the ability to have a rational and factual understanding of the allegations against him or her. A competency issue differs in significant ways from an insanity defense. For one thing, insanity defenses are related to the mental state of the defendant at the time of the commission of the crime. Secondly, a different legal standard is used to determine whether the defendant had the requisite mental state. Finally, the issue of insanity is a question of fact to be determined by the jury after the presentation of evidence at trial; competency is a threshold issue determined before a trial even commences.

Contact a Portland criminal defense lawyer for a free consultation

If you have been accused of a crime and do not know where to turn, contact the law office of Edward Kroll immediately. Mr. Kroll is an experienced Portland criminal defense lawyer who is dedicated to protecting the rights of people accused of crimes. To schedule a free consultation, contact our office today at (503) 352-9360 or by filling out the contact form on the right side of this page.

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