Arther Butler Plea Deal Falls Through After Attorney Leaves Town

Arther Butler, right, with defense attorney Dan Sedon, left, in Caledonia Superior Court in St. Johnsbury on Monday, Jan. 6, 2020. (Photo By Todd Wellington)

There was almost a plea deal to settle the Arther Butler shooting case.

But things went a bit sideways and Butler’s lawyer has now opened an investigation into himself.

Court-appointed defense attorney Dan Sedon of Chelsea, who represents Butler on two felony counts of aggravated assault, told Judge Timothy B. Tomasi on Monday that his client has filed multiple petitions in another court alleging ineffective assistance of counsel.

Caledonia Superior Court

“I’ve been struggling with how to deal with this because, obviously, I shouldn’t be handling his ineffective assistance claim against me,” said Attorney Sedon. “At the same time, his claim has merit. And so what I’ve done is I consulted with the Office of Prisoners’ Rights and they’re going to assign counsel to pursue his claim…Take up the case and review it on its merit.”

Butler, 20, has been in and out of jail several times since being charged with shooting and seriously injuring Brandon Delude, 24, outside of 63 Elm St. in St. Johnsbury in April of 2019. He’s now being held in pre-trial detention at Southern State Correctional Facility in Springfield.

According to Attorney Sedon, plea negotiations with the state began last July and in the fall Butler agreed to accept the state’s offer to settle the case. However, Sedon failed to inform prosecutors that Butler had accepted the deal and the offer was withdrawn.

“In that time, counsel left town unexpectedly to attend to a dying relative and never followed up with Mr. Butler, nor did he appoint any other lawyer to follow-up with Mr. Butler,” said Sedon. “Approximately seven days after the state made its counteroffer, they withdrew it while counsel was out of town.”

Sedan argues that there was no deadline for a response from his client. But prosecutors say there was a deadline.

“I believe that it poses a particular problem now in the record of this case,” said Sedon. “And whether counsel’s actions were unreasonable in leaving town without making arrangements for someone else to follow up on it, or whether they were not, is someone else’s, I think, call to make.”

Judge Tomasi said he would schedule another hearing to discuss the case and the issues in 45 days.

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