MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - Memphis' Casanova cop is competent to stand trial. Former MPD sergeant Norman Benjamin was in court November 29, 2011 to get the results of his mental evaluation.
He claimed he was shot by a Latino man on Labor Day weekend, but witnesses say he shot himself.
The former cop is charged with giving a handgun to a minor, lying to police and solicitation of murder. His lawyer hoped a mental evaluation would keep those serious charges out of court. It didn't go the way defense lawyer Leslie Ballin had hoped.
"Issues of competency are not that complicated and very rare that an individual is not competent," Ballin told abc24.com. "What I was surprised about was that there are no issues of mental health that would prohibit him from appreciating the wrongfulness of the accusations. In that regard I was somewhat surprised."
After a quick appearance in court, Benjamin's complicated case will move forward.
"It's not too dissimilar from a football game where you've run a play, you didn't get a first down, so you have to re-huddle and call another play. That's what we'll do after today," Ballin said.
Ballin's new play is a possible plea. There's no way to send every case in Shelby County to trial so prosecutors routinely work with defense lawyers in plea negotiations, something Ballin thinks could benefit Benjamin.
"At a trial the end result is either good or bad," he said. "If it's bad, a lot of times it's real bad, so sometimes it's in a client's interest to attempt to negotiate a settlement… we're going to look at that."
A spokesperson with the state says they will talk to Ballin about the case, but the evidence they have will determine how they move forward.
While investigating Benjamin's shooting, police found the officer had a wife, a fiancée and a teen girlfriend. He's also accused of organizing a murder for hire plot to kill his underage girlfriend's boyfriend.
Benjamin was fired from the Memphis Police Department in October.
He will be back in court next week.