The Press of Atlantic City
By LYNDA COHEN, Staff Writer May 20, 2014
Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice will be allowed to enter a program to avoid prosecution in an alleged assault of his now-wife.
The Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office approved Rice’s acceptance into pretrial intervention Monday. Superior Court Judge Michael Donio then signed off on it Tuesday.
Upon successful completion of the program — which will be a minimum of one year — the third-degree charge of aggravated assault causing serious bodily injury would be dismissed. The arrest would remain on his record, but with no conviction.
Rice, 27, and his then-fiancee, Janay Palmer, were both originally charged with simple assault in the incident inside a Revel casino elevator early Feb. 15.
Palmer — who now goes by Janay Rice — was rendered unconscious in the altercation, according to the police report.
Video from outside the elevator showing Rice moving the unconscious woman was made public by TMZ. Video from inside the elevator, which was the main evidence against Rice, has not been made public.
A short time after the TMZ video became public, the case was referred to the Prosecutor’s Office for review.
On March 27, acting First Assistant Prosecutor Diane Ruberton presented the case to a grand jury, who indicted Rice a third-degree charge of aggravated assault causing serious bodily injury. The office decided to drop the charge against Palmer.
The couple married the next day, as had been planned, according to attorney Michael Diamondstein.
“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,” acting Atlantic County Prosecutor Jim McClain said Tuesday. “After considering all relevant information in light of applicable law, it was determined that this was the appropriate disposition.”
Diamondstein said Rice is happy that he was accepted into the program, and “we agree with the prosecutors and the court that, as a matter of law, placing Mr. Rice in PTI was the correct decision.”
He would not comment on whether he believed the release of the footage by TMZ influenced the case, but said it was unlikely the former Rutgers University standout would return to the Revel, which has not commented on how the video got leaked.
“We were concerned that Mr. Rice would be treated more harshly because of his celebrity status,” Diamondstein said. “We are thankful that he was not. We are thankful that he was given the same treatment as anyone else in a similar situation.”
Details of Rice’s PTI requirements were not made public. The programs are tailored to the defendant and can last six months to four years. It would likely include anger management, as that was a prerequisite of a plea offer that had been tendered by the Prosecutor’s Office.
Rice’s attorney previously said the couple was in counseling.
“I’m pleased that Mr. and Mrs. Rice can begin their married lives with a fresh start and a bright future,” said Robert Gamburg, Janay Rice’s attorney.
“They both are looking forward to putting this behind them,” Diamondstein said.
Following Rice’s arraignment May 1, Diamondstein called the incident “a momentary lapse of reason” and said that Rice loves his wife.
“For a number of different reasons, he acted out of his character,” Diamondstein said.
“I’m a happy father and a happy husband,” Rice told a pack of media as he walked toward the Atlantic County Courthouse that morning.
His wife wrote a letter to the court supporting the PTI application.
“A wide array of individuals from his profession, personal and charity contacts wrote letters on his behalf,” Diamondstein said.
He would not confirm reports that the list included Baltimore Ravens Coach John Harbaugh.
A court date that was set for May 29, has been canceled. If Rice successfully completes the program, he will not be in the courtroom again.