US CA: MARIJUANA ADVOCATE IS MENTALLY UNFIT IN NEW CASE
OROVILLE - A Paradise man known for his marijuana advocacy was deemed mentally incompetent in a new criminal case.
Following a brief court trial Thursday, Butte County Superior Court Judge Steven Howell ruled that Virgil Dean Hales is not currently competent to assist in his own defense.
Hales is charged with a felony count of sales or transportation of marijuana.
The mental health matter began when defense attorney Jodea Foster expressed doubt about Hales' competency. Two doctors evaluated the defendant and deemed him unfit to stand trial.
Speaking outside of court, deputy district attorney Elizabeth Norton said the doctors' reports indicated that Hales has a fixed delusional state about marijuana and that the drug could be used for practically anything.
Norton said there are two components to determining competency. While Hales appears to understand the proceedings in court, she said the defendant is unable to rationally assist with the defense.