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Jim Lambright's Domestic Violence Incident - A Legal Perspective

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Several weeks ago, Jim Lambright was booked in a Snohomish County Jail for an incident that allegedly involved him grabbing his 23-year old granddaughter by the ankle for several feet.

Before I get to the body of this article, I want to mention that the content is purely informative ... though it will not be informing anyone on any of the latest rumors ... Jim Lambright is a big figure in Husky Football. In fact, he currently holds the record for participation in the most games with the Huskies. That record sits at 386, and it goes from his playing days, days as an assistant coach, and days as a head coach.

On June 18, 2014 Lambright was arrested and charged with 4th degree assault (a misdemeanor). If you want to read the entire police report, go ahead and go here. I won't go into much detail, suffice it to say that after the cops were done speaking to everyone at the home, they felt there was enough evidence present to arrest Lambright for domestic violence. He was then required to stay the night in jail because all suspected perpetrators of domestic violence are required, by state law, to spend a night in the slammer. For other cases, simply posting bond is sufficient for a release that night.

Lambright was released the next day on a PR bond (basically, he signed himself out of jail and gave his word he would show up to his court date.) However, his wife and two granddaughters each requested a no-contact order, which was probably granted. I don't know much else, like where he's staying if the order was granted, and whether or not he has an attorney.

Lambright's wife stated that he suffers from dementia and explosive disorder, and that his condition is deteriorating. It was apparent from his comments that the effects of his dementia at least played a roll in this incident. He lives with two of his sons, and their daughters visit all the time. Lambright was confused at the amount of time the grandchildren spent at his house. When he didn't like their attitude, towards him I suspect, he tried to remove them forcefully from the home.

The Law

There's not really any getting around the fact that there was assault in this instance. Assault is basically touching somebody else in a harmful or offensive way. Lambright basically admitted as much. What will probably be looked at with his case is whether or not his dementia and explosive disorder are severe enough to excuse his conduct. Washington state follows the "M'Naughten Rule."

Under this rule the defendant has the burden to prove that either his "mental defect" made him unable to understand that he the nature of his act (i.e. that he was assaulting a person, and not something else), or, if he does understand what he's doing, that, because of his mental disorder, he doesn't understand to doing so is wrong. The rule is a lot more convoluted than this, but I summed it up as best as I could ...

I can put myself out on a limb here and say that Lambright understood what he was doing. The issue really lies in whether or not his dementia and explosive disorder, which is getting worse, made him think he wasn't doing anything wrong at the time. I'll leave that decision up to the judge.

We'll see, in the near future ... since his next court appearance is on August 4th, where this thing goes. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family as they deal with this, and all the baggage that comes with the deterioration of a loved one's mind.