Former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice was released by the NFL team today and suspended indefinitely by the league as a result of the public outrage at the video of Rice knocking out his then fiancee that was released by TMZ this morning.
Clearly, the NFL’s move is a public relations and business decision. NFL officials had seen the video prior to suspending Rice for only 2 games and docking his pay for a third.
One has to wonder if Atlantic County Prosecutor James McClain would have accepted Rice into the Pre-Trial Intervention Program had the video become public before the former Rutgers star was given leniency. Rice had been indicted on third degree aggravated assault charges after clocking his wife. The prosecutor said there was enough evidence for a conviction even without Mrs. Rice’s cooperation. Presumably he meant the video. Rice faced five years in prison, but McClain accepted him into the Pre-Trial Invention Program for first offenders. If Rice stays out of trouble until May of next year, he is off the hook, legally, for the assault.
Eventually, after a season or two, Rice should be let back into the NFL. There is no problem with the NFL suspending him. They should have dealt a more severe suspension from the git go. But after a sufficient time out, contrition, and a campaign using his notoriety to combat domestic violence, Rice should be allowed to resume his career. In the meantime, Rice should not be looked up to as a role model. His very public chastisement, thanks to TMZ, should be a lesson for young men who looked up to Rice.
Now there should be some justice in the other high profile criminal case in Atlantic County this year. Shaneen Allen, a 27 year old single mother from Philadelphia is scheduled for trial on gun charges next month in Atlantic County. She faces 10 years in prison if convicted.
Allen was pulled over for an unsafe lane change in Atlantic County last October. The single mother informed the police officer that she was in possession of a handgun that she was licensed to carry in Pennsylvania. She thought her Pennsylvania license to carry was good in New Jersey. It isn’t.
Allen was arrested for possession of the weapon and hollow point bullets. Why hollow point bullets? She told me that she bought them when she bought the gun because they were cheaper than the other bullets offered. Allen spent 40 days in jail before she made bail.
Like Rice, Allen has no previous criminal record. Yet McClain rejected her application for Pre-Trial Intervention. She faces ten years in State Prison if convicted. According to published reports, the plea deal offered would make her a felon and would also require jail time. Her best hope at trial is for jury nullification, as the facts are not in dispute.
McClain should allow Allen to enter the Pre-Trial Intervention Program or Governor Chris Christie should step in and pardon Allen before trial.