Apparently these days of you happen to be some big shot football player in the NFL, and you also happen to be in the state of New Jersey at the time, it’s perfectly acceptable if you want to go out and beat the shit out of your significant other. Because word now has it that once Baltimore Ravens thug Ray Rice completes a pre-trial intervention program for first-time offenders, the 3rd degree aggravated assault case currently against him, stemming from a ‘domestic incident’ with his now-wife, will be dismissed. What a deal!
When asked if domestic violence cases for first-time offenders were typically handled in a similar manner, Jay McKeen, spokesperson for Atlantic County, N.J., prosecutor’s office said, "That’s a normal outcome given the same circumstances for anyone." Rice was arrested and indicted by a grand jury for the alleged physical assault of his then-fiancée Janay Palmer in an Atlantic City casino. Videotape surveillance footage showed Rice carrying an unconscious Palmer out of the casino elevator.
At first both Palmer and Rice were charged with simple assault and then released on summons complaints. The assault complaint against Palmer was later "administratively dismissed" on March 27, but grand jury indicted Rice on one count of aggravated assault. The indictment then prompted NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to suspend Rice for TWO whole games, a decision seen by some as too lenient, considering other far less serious offenses have resulted in more suspension time. Like, why bother?
On May 1, Rice entered a not guilty plea and applied for Pre-Trial Intervention (PTI). And it was prosecutor Jim McClain who said in a press release, "This decision was arrived at after careful consideration of the information contained in Mr. Rice’s application in light of all of the facts gathered during the investigation. After considering all relevant information in light of applicable law it was determined that this was the appropriate disposition." That and I’m sure the fact that he’s a millionaire athlete didn’t hurt.
According to the press release, successful completion of the program will result in dismissal of the case, and the arrest will remain on the applicant’s record, but no conviction. "PTI is a New Jersey program for first-time offenders accused of 4th and 3rd degree crimes, similar to probation in that it avoids incarceration and requires the satisfaction of prescribed conditions. The program ranges in duration between 6 months and 4 years," the press release said. All this is just a slap on the wrist.
Now you can call me crazy if you wish, but somehow I’ve got this sneaky suspicion that if I, a white non-athlete type, were to suddenly have the overwhelming urge to beat the shit out of my wife, whether first offense or tenth offense, I would immediately go to jail. But hey, this kind of stuff goes on all the time. Frankly I was surprised that that Hernandez creep didn’t get off. And you know, while I’m all for capitalism and the free market, as far as I’m concerned paying 20-somethings millions of dollars is just asking for trouble.