Prosecutor says Rice wouldn’t have gone to jail, even if convicted


The man who agreed to allow Ray Rice to enter a pre-trial diversionary program has broken his silence.  In so doing, prosecutor Jim McClain has created yet another area of potentially tough questions for the Ravens and the NFL.

Via Linda Cohen of the Press of Atlantic City, McClain explained on Wednesday that, even if Rice had been tried and convicted for second-degree aggravated assault, Rice wouldn’t have gone to jail.

“People need to understand, the choice was not PTI [pre-trial intervention] versus five years state prison,” McClain said.  “The choice was not PTI versus the No Early Release Act on a 10-year sentence.  The parameters as they existed were:  Is this a PTI case or a probation case?

Without serious bodily injury, McClain couldn’t charge Rice with anything more than third-degree aggravated assault.  McClain said that, in New Jersey, third-degree aggravated assault charges carry a presumption of no incarceration, even with a conviction at trial.

“Even if they disagree with why I did what I did, I just want people to know the decision was made after careful consideration of the law, careful consideration of the facts, hearing the voice of the victim and considering all the parameters,” McClain said.  “I want people to have confidence in this agency, even if they don’t agree with everything we do.”

McClain’s explanation could result in even less confidence in the Ravens and the NFL, since the supposed failure to get the tape of the punch arose in part from the belief that Rice wouldn’t have been allowed to enter a pre-trial intervention program if the evidence showed a graphic, ugly assault.  If McClain’s summary of the relevant provisions of New Jersey law is accurate, the NFL should have known that the decision to let Rice enter a pre-trial diversionary program shouldn’t have been interpreted as proof that he didn’t do something revolting.

“I’m very glad that people are repulsed by the video, because this type of violence is an ugly, ugly thing,” McClain said.  “But the fact that this assault was on video makes it no more nor any less ugly than those hundreds of domestic violence situations where similar violence was inflicted on a victim and it’s not captured on videotape.  Reality is reality whether it’s captured on videotape or not. And the reality of violence is that it is always ugly.”

Which leads back to the question that has become obscured by the report that the league had the video.  Based on what the league knew without the tape, did the league really need to see the video?

51 responses to “Prosecutor says Rice wouldn’t have gone to jail, even if convicted

  1. There are people who’ve died in prison after being incarcerated for decades … for weed.

    But if sucker punch a power shot at the face of the mother of your children, and knock her out cold … on VIDEO — you do no time.

    Yeah, that seems fair.

  2. The prosecutor should be fired asap, he would send to jail a mother who accidentally brought her licence hand gun in PA into New Jersey for protection because he been mugged two times that year and protect a woman beater. This POS needs to get what is coming to him.

  3. No, that’s not the REAL question. The REAL question is how assaulting someone like this NOT an offense that requires jail time? Have we as a society fallen so far that punching someone and knocking them out cold is not considered a serious crime? We throw people in jail for smoking a joint but physically injuring someone gets pre trial intervention? No wonder law enforcement gets little respect, criminals like this know the penalties are light and go through a revolving door. What a sad statement about our Country!!!

  4. Let’s all get a grip here,what exactly do people think actually happened regarding all the other domestic violence cases regarding these athletes ? That they patted the woman with a feather? The unique thing with Rice is that it’s on a video for the world to see, and The NFL totally screwed up the punishment from the start

  5. So if a perpetrator is a player in the NFL, law enforcement agencies should just defer responsibility for punishment to the league? That is exactly what is happening here. The lack of action by the prosecutor, the illegal leak of the video to the NFL, and the subsequent leak of the information that the video was leaked. All of that points to the same conclusion. N.J. A.G. Office washed their hands of the situation and handed it off to Roger Goodell. Making damn sure that everyone knew they had.

  6. As a law enforcement officer, this is very disheartening to see people cause such harm to another human being and walk away with very little consequence. I see these types of calls night in and night out and let me tell you, it ain’t ever pretty. It’s pretty typical to see the victim fault themselves even though sometimes they are left with extensive injuries. They will even bail out their wife beating husband the very next day. How long will it take for the before they do it again? And to a much greater extent? How long before they actually kill the person they somehow claim the “love” as it tends to happen already? This Ray Rice incident exposes not only the flaws in the NFL but also a much greater issue in that of the problem of domestic violence and the way we prosecute these criminals.

  7. Did Goodell get fired yet? Too much legal blah-blah-blah, not enough firing of Goodell. And force Kraft and Richardson and the Giants’ owner to sell their teams for supporting Goodell. And Jones and Snider too if possible, just because they are horrible, horrible owners.

  8. What is deeply disturbing is the fact that a domestic woman beater can walk away from this without any criminal record. Is this the case with the hundreds of other ugly domestic situations mentioned by the same prosecutor or does Ray Ray get the bypass lane/rich celebrity treatment?? None of this makes any sense.

  9. The general public always seem to think run-of-the-mill criminals get lengthy prison terms for first offenses, and athletes put in diversionary programs are being given special treatment. That’s simply not true. While I believe Goodell gave Rice a pass compared with how he’s handled other players, I’m confident the criminal justice system handled him as it would have any other offender.

  10. DUIs and domestic violence related offenses are punished relatively lightly in this country? Why? Because if they were punished with lengthy jail time, the court and jail systems would crumble due to sheer numbers.

  11. I disagree with current law on this matter but the fact is, at least in AZ, that you’ll spend more time in jail for posting .08 alcohol then beating your significant other. And I believe that is the standard nationwide thanks to MADD. The league, which is run by a bunch of lawyer, were simply basing their punishment off of criminal law.

    I wish MADD took as concerted effort in battling domestic violence as they do drunk driving.

  12. Yeah, the domestic abuse laws in this country are pretty bad. But we will continue to hang guys like Goodell, but not really have a discussion about the really problems…….

  13. I happy to agree that this guy should never play football again. But, I would much prefer that this is because no team would allow him to play, not because the NFL has become nanny state for whatever this website decides is not approved of behavior. What does how a guy treats his wife have to do with the NFL? Let the NFL still with performance enhancing drugs and gambling and let the individual teams police their own players.

  14. The witch hunt needs to stop. The video obviously meant everything in this case. Here’s an easy way to tell: where was this type of uproar with past DV cases? Dez Bryant? Shawne Merriman? Brandon Marshall? James Harrison? Easy! No video evidence meant no public viewing which meant no public uproar and the league was able to enforce their typical 0-2 games penalty for DV. In this instance the video drove the media, and in turn, the general populous, to DEMAND JUSTICE. So in that sense the league really has done only one thing wrong: either they didn’t do enough in past DV cases to stiffen the penalties or they let media and fans drive their penalties. All depends on how you look at it. But enough with the witch hunt. Move on.

  15. Still doesn’t make any sense why the league (employer) is culpable for doing anything more than suspension or loss of employment. What else could they do if the prosecutor stated what the legal punishments are accordingly.

  16. Hmmm….interesting.

    If we were to apply the Ray Rice standard of assault and punishment to say, what goes on at a lot of Sunday NFL football games in the stands and parking lots…..

    Seems the NFL would be certainly be a massive burden on our courts as well as the probation and incarceration systems.

  17. First of all you do not hit women. That being said, this Ray Rice railroad job is just unamerican. He hits his wife,which admitted to doing. He then received his punishment. Case closed right? Wrong, Goodell starts catching heat for the perceived light punishment so he puts in a new policy of a much harsher penalty for first offenders. Everybody knows now the NFL is serious about putting your hands on a lady with intent to hurt. So now we are up to 8 games suspention. Now because we Americans are able to actually see the violence on tape the player is now out indefinately. Grant it, it is ugly to watch but nothing on that video warrants any greater punishment then what has already been established. I hate the Ravens and I hate men that hit women( I have 3 girls ). But you cannot keep changing the penalty once it has been established because of media backlash. I am sure if we saw the drunk driving crashes on video that killed innocent people, the punishment would be a lot longer then 10 games out for the NFL players involved in those crashes.

  18. So, head injury or concussion, does not meet the definition of bodily injury in New Jersey? The woman was out for at least five minutes, more than enough to meet a bodily injury status. Gutless prosecuter.

  19. Ray Rice is banned from football,Greg Hardy will be suspended,Ray McDonald will probably be suspended as well. Came we move on,plz.

  20. I hate this, but….king Roger was and is in a now win situation. If he would have suspended Ray for longer the first time, although correct, it would have brought previous decisions into question. Why wouldn’t Brandon Marshall have been suspended longer. Marshall actually won an appeal after being suspended for DUI and domestic abuse. His suspension was reduced. The video is what makes this horrible act real to people. What about all of the violent acts not caught on tape? Should all players charged but not convicted then be suspended? What about when charges are dropped? Does the NFL have to investigate all of these crimes independently of the law and create their own punishments based on their conclusions? That is ridiculous to imagine. Rice did a despicable act. This is just a mess.

  21. Considering this is the same prosecutor who is throwing the book at a single mother of two for crossing state lines with a firearm, and had a concealed carry permit from NY. So no Jim McClain, I don’t have faith in you, not one bit.

  22. I agree 100%
    I am a Ravens fan. Rice acted in a horrific manner which is understood and I would have been fine with any length of suspension levied at first.
    He was not convicted, has been remorseful, and is doing everything he can possibly do up to date to change his life. He was given a suspension from his employer, the NFL, and already served half of that suspension and was due to return Friday.
    Video comes out Monday morning, NFL reportedly lies about never having access to this video, NFL levies an indefinite suspension to cover itself and Rice gets penalized again?
    Ravens still have every right to terminate contract but this was a PR decision- they supported him through this the whole time and had to fully understand what actually happened in that elevator.
    However the NFL in my opinion will have no right to suspend indefinitely if their initial suspension was based off seeing the video or having that video at their headquarters.
    If this is the case- Goodell will be fired

  23. It was a FELONY. And there is no such THING as a presumption of no jail time. Incarceration is either a possible sentence or it isn’t availble – and here jail time was a possibility.

  24. Call me crazy, but I would consider being knocked unconscious serious bodily injury. I would curious to see their list of injuries and how they qualify for each lever of felony assault. Teeth knocked out? 3rd degree? Broken jaw? Concussion? And what other injuries are on the same level as “knocked unconscious”. Broken fingernail? Fat lip?

    I guess no blood, no foul isn’t just a saying after all…

  25. “If McClain’s summary of the relevant provisions of New Jersey law is accurate…”

    So, is it accurate, Mr. Florio?

  26. was the DA trying to say, that domestic violence is so common in New Jersey, its not considered a crime unless someone dies?

  27. Another nugget of misinformation? I find it hard to believe being knocked unconscious is not serious bodily injury in that jurisdiction.

  28. $700 Million dollar concussion settlement says getting knocked unconscious is SERIOUS BODILY INJURY. Think how rarely you have ever seen an athlete knocked totally unconscious.

    I would not re-elect a prosecutor who chose not to pursue this for jail time. With this video evidence he could have gotten 5 years.

  29. Jim Mclain you and your ilk are the reason that most of the public look at most attorneys and see you as the scum that you are….you did not prosecute Rice because he is rich and he plays in the NFL…..

  30. Punch to the head = Jail time. Right? That’s what people want? Ok. Start building a lot more prisons. Or did you mean jail time just for rich people? Because nobody is on here and going crazy if a poor man punches his wife.

  31. Yea people tend to not comment on football forums about a poor unknown guy knocking his wife out. I know, it’s crazy!

  32. I have…I keep stating about our “perception of rights,” which is actually a “myth of rights,” coined by political theorist Ashutosh Bhagwat. Meaning, we all assume we all have equal access to legal and civil rights, but it’s all just a myth. Wealth guarantees you an unfair advantage and in some cases escape from accountabilty for a crime.
    That is to say, the poor are screwed and that’s who over crowds our jails, because of this injustice.
    New Jersey has akways had a history of political corruption.

  33. Trashing the prosecutor for applying the law in an even-handed way just displays the ignorance of commenters about matters of law.

    If the prosecutor has imposed a stronger punishment than is meted out to others in a similar position, then he would have been guilty of acting in a an arbitrary manner. He appropriately applied the same pre-trail intervention that is offered to other first-time offenders.

    You can agree or disagree with the intervention program in that New Jersey jurisdiction or not, but you cannot accuse the prosecutor of acting improperly — he applied the existing standard and practice without regard to extraneous factors (fame, wealth, associations with celebrities, and so forth).

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