|
|
Hope Star - Hope, AR
  • Shooting trial to proceed

  • An Ozan man scheduled to stand trial here in November in connection with a March, 2012, exchange of gunfire with an Arkansas State Police trooper has been deemed mentally fit to proceed.
    • email print
  • An Ozan man scheduled to stand trial here in November in connection with a March, 2012, exchange of gunfire with an Arkansas State Police trooper has been deemed mentally fit to proceed. A competency hearing in Eighth Judicial District-North Circuit Court here concluded Sept. 20 with a finding by Circuit Judge Duncan Culpepper that Herman Lee White, 66, of Ozan, is capable of understanding the proceedings of the charges against him, based upon the findings of two mental evaluations of White. The second evaluation of White was completed by Dr. Robert Gale, of Little Rock, based upon a defense of mental disease or defect, as pled by Little Rock attorney Willard Proctor, Jr. In a ruling from the bench concluding the competency hearing Sept. 20, Judge Culpepper noted that the state and defense had stipulated as to White's ability to proceed to trial under Article 5-2-309 of the Arkansas Criminal Code. That statute provides for a three-part test in connection with questions of competency in criminal proceedings, requiring a hearing on the issue of a defendant's fitness to proceed to trial if that is contested by either party. Culpepper said that was not the issue where White was concerned because of the stipulation by the parties. White was granted a competency hearing before Culpepper based upon Arkansas 5-2-309 ©, which says, “If the finding of the report is contested, the court shall hold a hearing on the issue of the defendant's fitness to proceed.” Culpepper found that to be the issue involved. “The issue today is whether defendant could appreciate the criminality of is conduct at the time of the offense, and the court finds defendant could appreciate the criminality of his conduct at the time of the offense,” Culpepper noted in the court docket. White is to be tried beginning Nov. 18 on charges stemming from a March 23, 2012, gunfight between ASP Corporal Pete Penney and himself stemming from a DWI traffic stop which Penney effected against White near the Hempstead/Howard counties line in the Ozan area. Both men were injured in the exchange of gunfire, which Penney alleges White initiated after he struggled with the officer while Penney attempted to put him into custody. White has been charged with enhanced charges of battery of a law enforcement officer in the first degree, a Class Y Felony, and possession of firearms by certain persons, a Class B Felony. The first degree battery charge typically involves a penalty of imprisonment of not less than 10 years to life. The firearms possession charge typically involves a penalty of imprisonment of not less than five nor more than 40 years, or a fine of not more than $15,000, or both. Penney has since been named 2012 District 4 Arkansas Officer of the Year and 2013 ASP Trooper of the Year, and he was awarded the ASP Medal of Valor for his actions under fire.
      • calendar