Ray Rice Given Plea Deal Offered To Less Than 1 Percent Of Domestic Assault Defendants

Ray Rice may be in a world of trouble with the NFL, but legally he got off incredibly easy for an assault case earlier this year involving his now-wife.

Rice and his fiancee Janay Palmer were arrested February 15 and charged with simple assault after a fight at an Atlantic City casino that left Palmer unconscious. Palmer’s charges would later be dropped, while Rice actually saw his charge increased by a grand jury — to a count of aggravated assault-bodily injury in the third degree causing bodily harm.

Ray Rice could have seen between three and five years in prison for the fight, but instead ended up with a plea deal offered to only about 1 percent of defendants in his position.

ESPN’s Outside the Lines found that Rice was offered a pretrial intervention program that is granted to less than 1 percent of domestic violence assault cases between 2010 and 2013.

Legal experts say Ray Rice should not have been a candidate for the program given the violent nature of the incident. New video released this week — which had been in the hands of police from the start of the incident — showed Rice knocking Palmer unconscious inside the elevator by delivering a sharp blow to her head, causing her to fall backward into the wall.

“I was stunned,” said Donna D’Andrea, a legal advocate for The Women’s Center, a domestic violence and sexual abuse center in Linwood, New Jersey. “I’m outraged… I believed PTI was an inappropriate response in this case.”

“None of it makes any sense on why this was allowed,” she added. “Usually, there is a plea deal to a lesser charge so the person is put into the system and can be monitored. They didn’t do that here. None of it makes any sense why this was allowed to happen this way…. It’s baffling. I don’t know why the prosecutor decided to do this.”

Many believe Ray Rice received preferential treatment from the NFL as well, facing what was initially just a two-game suspension. After the video emerged, it was increased to an indefinite suspension.

[Image via NY Daily News]