A Brazil man facing five felony drug-related charges has been determined incompetent to stand trial.
According to court documentation on file in Clay Circuit Court, Van Andrew Orman, 46, along with his defense attorney Charles Hear, appeared in custody of the Clay County Sheriff's Department before Circuit Court Judge Joseph Trout and Clay County Prosecutor B. Lee Reberger for a hearing Tuesday.
A jury trial was scheduled for that date, but, due to court congestions and delays caused by the process to secure expert witnesses to help determine Orman's competency before the trial, it was vacated.
On April 22, 2010, members of the Brazil City Police Department and Clay County Sheriff's Department served a warrant at 922 North Lambert Street. Officials confirmed there had been numerous complaints by local residents regarding a strong, distinct odor and previous suspicious activity in the area.
During a search of the home, an active meth lab was discovered venting chemical fumes through a pipe in the roof. Officials closed off the area as a safety precaution to protect local residents.
Orman was taken into custody and transported to the Clay County Justice Center.
He was formally charged with class B felony dealing in methamphetamine, and four class D felony charges including possession of methamphetamine, possession of chemical reagents or precursors with intent to manufacture a controlled substance, illegal possession of anhydrous ammonia or ammonia solution and maintaining a common nuisance.
On April 27, 2010, Orman notified the court of his request for a speedy trial and that he would represent himself. However, at the end of the hearing, Orman requested counsel and attorney Geoffrey Creason was appointed as public defender.
Over the next few months, motions were made in court for Orman's bond to be reduced, a mental evaluation to be performed while preparations for the speedy jury trial were continued several times.
Meanwhile, Orman was writing letters to the court to represent himself.
In August, the court dismissed Creason and ordered attorney Charles Hear to represent Orman. The prosecutor's office also requested the court to stop Orman from filing "pro se pleadings." Due to the mental evaluation process, the court agreed, and ordered that "at all times" counsel would represent Orman.
In September, issues regarding Orman's competency and bond reduction continued.
The Hamilton Center was selected to perform a psychological/psychiatric evaluation and Orman was ordered to cooperate.
Considering Indiana statutes and court guidelines regarding bond on certain classes of felony, evidence presented in court and the seriousness of the allegations as a factor for nonappearance by the defendant, the court reduced Orman's original $50,000 cash bond (with no 10 percent allowed) to $25,000 (with no 10 percent allowed).
Although court proceedings were scheduled in November, Orman, who still wanted a fast and speedy trial, was removed from the courtroom before they could begin. A motion to continue proceedings was later filed on Orman's behalf.
A jury trial was scheduled for Jan. 18, 2011.
In December, a second competency evaluation was ordered, and Orman was ordered once again to cooperate. The evaluation was scheduled for Jan. 7, 2011, with a competency hearing scheduled for Tuesday.
Confidential reports of the evaluation results, although they differed slightly, were used during the hearing to help determine Orman's competency. The reports differed in the belief of Orman's ability to understand the court proceedings or the weight of evidence.
However, experts specifically agreed that with Orman's need for mediation and current mental status, he lacks the ability to assist in the preparation of his defense.
The court ordered that Orman be committed and transported "without delay and as soon as possible" to the appropriate facility of the State Division of Mental Health and Addiction.
Orman was remanded into the custody of the Clay County Sheriff's Department for formal processing.
According to officials at the Clay County Prosecutor's Office, the formal charges filed against Orman will remain open and pending until he is found competent to stand trial.