Last week a judge dismissed the domestic violence charges against Ray Rice. The former Baltimore Ravens running back was caught beating his then-fiancee on a hotel elevator surveillance camera last year.
Domestic Violence Charges
Last year Rice was let go by the Baltimore Ravens and suspended indefinitely from the NFL after video documenting a violent display of domestic violence was released. The surveillance video plainly shows the running back punching out his then-fiancee, Janay Palmer in an elevator. Palmer married Rice after a grand jury indicted him.
The grainy video, now infamous thanks to TMZ and other media outlets, shows Rice and Palmer riding in an elevator at Atlantic City’s Revel Casino Hotel. Both Palmer and Rice hit one another before Rice punches Palmer off her feet sending her plummeting down into the elevator’s railing. A video released prior to the full one just initially showed Rice dragging Palmer from the elevator.
Rice and Palmer could be heard shouting obscenities at each other in the version of the video. According to the Associated Press, after Palmer collapses, Rice dragged her out of the elevator. After exiting the elevator, the couple is met by a member of the hotel staff who asks, “She’s drunk, right?” And then, “No cops.” Rice does not respond.
Rice’s attorney described what happened at the hotel as “little more than a misunderstanding.”
While the Ravens contend they did not initially see the video released by TMZ Sports, hours after being given the video, they issued this one-sentence statement: “The Baltimore Ravens terminated the contract of RB Ray Rice this afternoon.”
Prior to viewing the video, the NFL suspended Rice for two games for domestic violence charges. The lack of severity of the punishment received widespread criticism.
“We requested from law enforcement any and all information about the incident, including the video from inside the elevator,” NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said. “That video was not made available to us and no one in our office has seen it until today.” But following the viewing, the decision was a unanimous one. According to a close source, that meeting involved franchise owner Steve Bisciotti, general manager Ozzie Newsome, coach John Harbaugh, and team president Dick Cass. “We hadn’t seen the video,” the source said. “The video changes the perspective.”
“The video is really all the information I’ve seen. I did learn on the way over to the facility about Mr. Rice being released, and have not yet talked to Roger [Goodell] about any other discipline,” said executive director of the NFL Players Association, DeMaurice Smith said. “I did hear that [Rice had been suspended], but I tend to rely on the Commissioner and learning all the facts first-hand. That’s what we’ll do, and once we know what those facts are, that will dictate our next steps.”
At the time of his suspension, Rice had three years remaining on his contract with the Ravens. $4 million for the 2014 season, $3 million for the 2015 season, and $3 million in 2016.
Rice was charged with third-degree aggravated assault as a result of the attack. Rice went on to appeal the NFL’s suspension and that suspension was lifted by former federal judge Barbara S. Jones.
Last week Judge Michael Donio dismissed the domestic violence order after Rice’s Atlantic County prosecutor confirmed Rice had completed the terms of his pretrial intervention program. The program is run by the state.
Rice was able to avoid jail time because of his acceptance into the pretrial intervention program due to being a first-time offender.
Under terms of the program, Rice paid only $125 in fines and received anger management counseling. His admission into the program drew large amounts of criticism.
According to records obtained by the Associated Press, only 70 of the more than 15,000 domestic violence assault cases that were ruled on from 2010 to 2013 in New Jersey’s Superior Court were admitted to the pretrial intervention program. The program is meant to be a tool to help the state keep low-level suspects from jail time.
Legal guidelines in New Jersey advise those who commit violent crimes should “generally be rejected” from the program. Yet Atlantic County Prosecutor Jim McClain, who handled the case, signed off on the program after he reviewed the circumstances and consulted with Palmer.
Defendants charges can be dismissed if they meet all the program’s conditions. These conditions include: random urine testing, community service, and restitution. According to the state, pretrial intervention program supervision averages from one to three years.
Of the 15,029 people charged with assault in domestic violence cases from 2010 to 2013, 8,203 had their cases dismissed or downgraded to a lower court. Nearly 3,100 pleaded guilty, 13 were found guilty at trial, and nine were found not guilty.
Rice has yet to join a new NFL team. He recently sold his Reisterstown home and moved to Connecticut to be closer to his hometown of New Rochelle, N.Y. He is hopeful that he’ll get a second chance in the NFL.
“I’m actually done in my case,” Rice said. “Really, I just have to call the state of New Jersey once a month. After May 19, I’m done. It will be a full year. It will be like a refreshing start. That’s the only little burden that I have. I have until May 19. I don’t have anything to do but call and confirm some things with them that I’m not getting into any trouble. It’s a real basic phone call and they give me another date for the next month.
“This year has gone by really fast. It’s been a year since the incident. Once May comes, I’ll be moving into my new house and I’ll sort of feel like a free man by then. You’re back to a fresh slate. One thing I learned is to be patient and stay ready.”
California Domestic Violence Charges
In California, when a person is charged with spousal abuse relating to domestic violence, there are two common charges: corporal injury to a spouse or spousal battery.
Corporal Injury to a Spouse
Corporal injury to a spouse or cohabitant is charged as a felony crime. This charge can be brought when a person willfully inflicts on his or her spouse, former spouse, cohabitant, former cohabitant, or on any person who is the parent of his or her child, corporal injury that results in a traumatic condition.
“Traumatic condition” is defined by the California Penal code as being a condition of the body, such as a wound or injury, regardless of how serious that wound or injury is. This means that regardless of how slight an injury is, even if it is a small cut or a large one, as long as there is an injury, an arrest will be made if police are called to the scene of a domestic violence incident.
Spousal battery is generally charged as a misdemeanor crime. California penal code defines battery as “any willful and unlawful use of force or violence upon the person of another.” A person can be charged with spousal battery when a person commits battery against a spouse, a cohabitant, former spouse, fiancée, or a person with whom the person accused of has previously dated or are dating. Injury is not required for a person to be charged with spousal battery.
Domestic violence misdemeanors remain permanently on your record. These charges can be used against you in future crimes for 7 years following initial conviction. If you feel you have been falsely accused of domestic violence, you should immediately contact a lawyer that can defend you against the long-lasting repurcussions of false accusations.
Whether a domestic violence dispute occurs between husband and wife, boyfriend and girlfriend, father and son, father and daughter, mother and son, mother and daughter or some other familial combination, domestic violence has longstanding emotional and psychological scars that extend far beyond the physical abuse. If you are the victim of domestic violence you have to speak out. The state of California does not take domestic violence charges lightly. The domestic violence attorneys at the Southern California Divorce Law LA are here to educate and support you through this process. They will be able to advise you on your legal rights while being able to build a case that will help you get the protection you need.
Hiring a Lawyer for Domestic Violence Charges
If you are the victim of domestic violence, you need to contact a lawyer that will be able to protect you and defend your case. An attorney will be able to protect you and your family via various methods that include getting a restraining order or custody changes. A lawyer from the expert law firm of Divorce Law LA will be able to plead your case so that you feel safe and well represented.
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