SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A man charged with mayhem for knocking his mom’s teeth out with a stool, leaving a laceration on her mouth, will have his case moved to mental health court along with four years of formal probation.
Mental Health Court, according to the District Attorney’s Office, was designed for “low-level” defendants diagnosed with mental illnesses that bring on “significant impairment”, including schizophrenia and anxiety disorders. The county saved $6,000 per defendant in its first year using the court.
“Rather than keep running the mentally ill through the system, it was decided it was better for the clients and the community to stop the vicious cycle and help the clients avoid jail and the hospitals.
If Vincent Vancleve, 46, doesn’t maintain sobriety, possesses firearms, or fails to engage in “peaceful contact” with his 74-year-old mom, he will be sentenced to 2 years in state prison.
Vancleve was arrested at his mother’s home in the 2100 Block of Cottage Way in early February. A report states Vancleve got in an argument with his mom and struck her in the head with a stool at least three times, leaving cuts on her head and knocking out several of her teeth. She also sustained a “severe disfiguring laceration” to her mouth.
Sacramento Sheriff’s Deputy Amanda Walker responded to the scene and took Vancleve into custody. He’s been in the county jail ever since.
Because the attack has been directly linked to Vancleve’s mental illness, mental health court was a voluntary option for him. He must stay in the program for at least a year until he can graduate and will work with TCORE counselors, who will help him take his medication on a more-consistent basis.
“I’m going to take a wild guess that perhaps you were not taking all of your medication when this case occurred?” Judge Lawrence Brown asked Vancleve at a change of plea hearing last month.
“Yes,” Vancleve answered.
He pled no contest to mayhem and elder abuse. A third count of assault with a deadly weapon was dismissed “in the interest of justice” by Deputy District Attorney Chris Carlson.
“Our goal, Mr. Vancleve, is to have you do at least as well as you’re doing right now and hopefully even a bit better, to get you out from jail, back in the community,” Judge Brown said. “But as I often say, you kind of have to help us to help you by following through on this.”
The February incident isn’t Vancleve’s first arrest for a violent felony. In 2001, SCSD deputies encountered Vancleve, then 26, following a report of a man brandishing a samurai sword at the Warren Oaks apartments on Fair Oaks Boulevard.
A police report says Vancleve engaged the deputies in a standoff and threw a hatchet at them before being ultimately taken into custody. Court records show he pled to charges and was sentenced to jail time.
If Vancleve successfully completes mental health court, and doesn’t commit any felonies while doing so, his mayhem conviction won’t count as his second strike under the three strikes law.