The first two weeks of the NFL season have come and gone, and the league would really like everyone to focus on shotgun formations, interceptions and touchdowns. Instead, we are all treated to an endless media barrage on former Baltimore Ravens player Ray Rice and domestic abuse. At this rate, we may be coming up to the Super Bowl before anyone pays attention to what happens on the field.
I, Benjamin Wey, think this whole situation is ridiculous. Its really ironic that a business that profits from exhibitions of physical violence is now in hot water for its insensitivity to violence against women. As a naturalized American citizen, I had to take classes and pass an exam on American government, law and history, and I am pretty sure that the NFL is not in charge of protecting women from their domestic partners. Get as mad as you like at me for saying so, but none of this would be happening if the prosecutors in Atlantic County, N.J., had done their jobs.
Weve all seen the disgusting video of Ray Rice dragging his then-girlfriend (now wife) out of the elevator in the Revel Hotel and Casino (now closed) in A.C.. Weve also seen another video recently that shows him knocking her unconscious.
I, Benjamin Wey, am not licensed to practice law in New Jersey, but I can read what the law says about aggravated assault, and so can you. In all, there are 11 things that count as aggravated assault, and two of them are relevant here.
A person is guilty of aggravated assault if he:
(1) Attempts to cause serious bodily injury to another, or causes such injury purposely or knowingly or under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life recklessly causes such injury
(7)Attempts to cause significant bodily injury to another or causes significant bodily injury purposely or knowingly or, under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life recklessly causes such significant bodily injury
The first is categorized as a second-degree crime, and the other a third-degree crime. A Second degree crime carries a potential penalty of 5-10 years. Defendants who are convicted of first and second degree crimes face a presumptive term of incarceration. It is assumed that they will be sentenced to serve time in prison. A Third degree crime may result in 3-5 years if convicted.
More information on the judicial system can be found here.
I, Benjamin Wey, am not sure where knocking a person unconscious falls on the spectrum of damage, serious or significant, but in either case, we should be looking at a few years in prison.
What did Rice get? He entered a plea bargain hes part of a diversionary program, and he wont go to jail.
After considering all relevant information in light of applicable law it was determined this was the appropriate disposition, acting Atlantic County Prosecutor Jim McClain said in a statement back in May when this revolting deal went down.
Sorry, this isnt close to appropriate. If he had done that to you or me, hed be on trial, no diversionary program. Cold cock a total stranger, and its jail time. KO your girlfriend, and you get counseling?
If Rice were in jail, the NFL wouldnt have to suspend him. There wouldnt be any debate about whether a two-game suspension or six games of enforced bench warming is appropriate. The NFL would not be running in crisis-management mode. Rice would be sitting out a season or 10, watching his former teammates play from the comfort of a state prison.
Is the NFL doing a lousy job of disciplining players? Yes. Is it managing its reactions to the crises badly? Yes. Is Commissioner Roger Goodell the poster boy for CEO incompetence? Sure is. Is the NFL responsible for enforcing the law in Atlantic City? No.
Thats the job of the Office of the Atlantic County Prosecutor, and those are the clowns who screwed this up. Could we start yelling at them now?
Benjamin Wey is a financier, investigative journalist, professor and a contributing journalist for TheBlot Magazine and other media outlets.
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