Judge Acquits Client on Rape Charge
My client, Tremaine Rambo, won a huge victory today when the court acquitted him on the charge of Attempted Rape in the Second Degree. Tremaine was charged with the offense after he attacked a woman of Burnt Bridge Creek Trail, in Vancouver, Washington, in late April of this year. He was facing a maximum sentence of life in prison if he would have been convicted of the charge. Instead, he will be assessed by Western State Hospital to determine how long he will be committed before his release.
Tremaine was 20 years-old at the time of the offense, which is the age that mental conditions of his sort start to manifest. After conducting interviews with the officers, the victim and other parties involved, it was clear to me that his behavior was the result of an underlying mental condition and not a criminal act. Unfortunately, he only realized that he was suffering with a mental condition after he was arrested. On the day of the incident, Tremaine had seriously cut his wrists in a suicide attempt. He bandaged himself up and went over to the trail. Tremaine truly believed that the world was going to end in an apocalypse and that God was testing him, which motivated the attack. His behavior and psychosis was typical for someone experiencing early stages of this disease.
We pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity because it was clear that at the time of the offense my client was having a psychotic episode and did not have the mental capacity to commit the crime. In Washington, a defendant is not guilty by reason of insanity if at the time of the offense, as a result of a mental disease or defect, the defendant’s mind was affected to such an extent that the defendant was unable to perceive the nature and quality of the acts with which the defendant is charged or was unable to tell right from wrong with reference to the particular acts with which the defendant is charged.
Tremaine was examined by former Oregon Health and Sciences University psychiatry professor and practicing clinical psychiatrist Dr. Jerry Larsen who concluded that Tremaine fit the definition of legal insanity. The prosecutor on the case, James Smith, then requested the State psychologist to analyze Tremaine as a second opinion. Dr. Richard Yocum with Western State Hospital examined Tremaine and also concluded that he was legally insane at the time of the offense.
With both expert opinions in agreement, we moved the court for an acquittal by reason of insanity, rather than a jury trial. Washington law allows the trial judge to determine whether a defendant is insane and acquit a defendant without a full jury trial. The court set a hearing for November 3rd to hear argument from both sides to determine whether the court would acquit. The defense called Dr. Yocum from Western State Hospital as the only expert. The prosecution called the lead investigator, VPD Officer White.
The defense carried the burden of proof in this hearing. We had to show by preponderance of evidence or more likely than not that Tremaine was legally insane. Prosecutor James Smith did an excellent job of arguing against Dr. Yocum’s findings, but ultimately did not have any expert evidence supporting his position. Judge Collier took the testimony under advisement and set the case over to today for a final ruling today.
Ultimately, Superior Court Judge Collier found that my client was legally insane and ordered an acquittal of the charge. Judge Collier also made a finding that Tremaine was a “substantial danger” to others and ordered his commitment to Western State hospital. Washington law provides that a defendant will be assessed by a team of experts to determine his risk to society and treatment plan and then advise the court whether the court should release Tremaine.
See the Columbian article here.