The prosecutor in the Ray Rice case claims that he wasn’t showing leniency when he allowed Rice to get off with a pre-trial intervention program for punching his wife. The data suggests that in reality, the prosecutor gave Rice a sweetheart deal that is almost unheard of for violent crimes like Rice’s.
ESPN reports that less than 1 percent of domestic violence assault cases in New Jersey end with pre-trial intervention. In the past four years in New Jersey, there have been 15,029 domestic violence cases involving assault. Only 70, or 0.47 percent, have ended with the pre-trial intervention that prosecutors gave Rice.
Richard Sparaco, a defense attorney with more than 30 years of experience in Atlantic County, told ESPN that he has never heard of a crime as violent at the crime Rice committed resulting in pre-trial intervention, or PTI.
“I can’t say I’ve ever had a violent crime of this nature accepted into the PTI — in any county,” he said. “With this type of domestic violence and the video that we’ve all seen now, you’d have to say if a prosecutor sees that video, it would be quite surprising to us defense attorneys to see acceptance into the PTI program.”
Sparaco isn’t the only one surprised that Atlantic County prosecutor James P. McClain allowed Rice to have pre-trial intervention.
“I was stunned,” said Donna D’Andrea, a legal advocate for The Women’s Center in Linwood, New Jersey. “I’m outraged . . . I believed PTI was an inappropriate response in this case.”
A grand jury initially charged Rice with aggravated assault in the third degree causing bodily injury, a felony that carries a sentence of three to five years in prison. Instead, the deal McClain gave Rice means all Rice has to do to avoid legal consequences is take anger management counseling and stay out of further legal trouble for 12 months. If he does that, the case will be wiped from his legal record for good.
In other words, McClain looks as bad as Roger Goodell. Which is hard to do right now.