Explore The NRA Universe Of Websites

APPEARS IN News

Rice, Allen Cases Show Danger of Unchecked Prosecutorial Discretion

Friday, September 12, 2014

The year 2014 has gone from bad to worse for Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice. In February, he was involved in an ugly confrontation with his then-fiancée (and now wife) Janay Palmer in an Atlantic City hotel casino.  A security camera captured the incident, which ended with Rice hauling the unconscious Palmer out of the elevator.

At first, handling of the event seemed to be favoring Rice. The Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office, for its part, was willing to give Rice a break.  In May, Atlantic County Prosecutor Jim McClain agreed to allow Rice to enter a pretrial intervention program for first offenders, even though Rice was indicted for felony aggravated assault.  The program allows Rice not just the opportunity to avoid prison time but, upon successful completion of the program’s requirements, any conviction whatsoever.

Initially, and perhaps based in part on the leniency shown in the criminal case, the NFL was also notably forgiving. After meeting with Rice and his representatives in June, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell on July 24 handed Rice a two-game suspension for violation of the league’s personal conduct policy.

As for Ms. Palmer herself, she was also willing to put the incident behind her.  In March, she and Rice were married.

The picture changed radically for Rice this week, however, after additional video footage of the incident became public (readers should be cautioned of the graphic nature of the footage). In the video, the 27-year-old professional football player is seen knocking Palmer out with a brutal punch to her face.  Faced with intense public outrage (during which even the President of the United States voiced his condemnation of domestic abusers), the Ravens released Rice, and the NFL reversed its earlier decision and suspended him from the league indefinitely.

You now have to look pretty hard to find anyone willing to defend Rice or suggest that leniency in his case is appropriate.  At least one person, however, believed his prosecution was handled appropriately. That would be Atlantic City Prosecutor Jim McClain. Speaking to the media, McClain insisted that Rice would not have gone to prison even upon conviction.  “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," he said.  With evident futility, McClain added, “I want people to have confidence in this agency, even if they don’t agree with everything we do.”

Based on a number of scathing editorials, Mr. McClain may find that wish unfulfilled.  As we recently reported, McClain’s office took a very different posture in a case involving Shaneen Allen, a single mother from Philadelphia who was arrested last October after a traffic stop, allegedly for weaving within the lane of travel.  By all accounts, the worst that could be said of Ms. Allen is that she failed to understand her Pennsylvania concealed carry permit was not recognized under New Jersey law, meaning that when she informed police of the handgun in her purse, they had all the evidence they needed for a felony arrest.  Like Rice, Ms. Allen had no criminal history.  Like Rice, she was gainfully employed.  Like Rice, she was accepted into Atlantic County’s Pretrial Intervention Program (PTI) by its director.  Like Rice, Ms. Allen is finding her year getting far worse as it progresses.

Unlike Rice, however, the offense for which she was accused involved no violence, aggression, or harm to another person.  Yet McClain’s office nevertheless refused to dispose of the case through PTI, leading the same judge who handled Rice’s case to rule that he would defer to the prosecutor’s discretion.  According to the assistant prosecutor who appeared at the hearing, Allen’s prosecution could serve as a “deterrent,” and the alleged offense was “too serious to warrant divergence” into PTI.  If convicted, Ms. Allen faces a mandatory minimum of three years in prison, with a possible sentence of up to 10 years.

Numerous commentators (including here, here, and here) have already mentioned the gross disparity in how the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office and the New Jersey criminal “justice” system have treated the two cases.  McClain’s office has refused to address the issue with the media, saying they won’t comment on a pending prosecution.

Ms. Allen’s fate is scheduled to be decided in October by a New Jersey jury.  However, as this article is going to press, we can report that McClain’s office has requested her upcoming trial be delayed while he reviews the appropriate resolution of her case, and that a judge has granted McClain's request. 

Whatever the outcome, Congress should act.  If states like New Jersey refuse to recognize the Second Amendment, the federal government has a duty to ensure the rights of the American people by passing federal legislation like the pending Right-to-Carry Reciprocity Act of 2013.

Rest assured, we'll keep readers apprised of any new developments.

TRENDING NOW
Democrats' Exciting New Hope Adheres to Tired Old Anti-Gun Dogma

News  

Friday, January 12, 2018

Democrats' Exciting New Hope Adheres to Tired Old Anti-Gun Dogma

Democrats searching for a standard-bearer in the 2020 presidential election lit on long-time entertainment, media, and publishing figure Oprah Winfrey this week, following a speech Winfrey gave at a televised Hollywood extravaganza.

Virginia: Gun Control Tops New Governor’s Agenda

News  

Friday, January 12, 2018

Virginia: Gun Control Tops New Governor’s Agenda

This week, Virginia Governor McAuliffe and Governor-Elect Ralph Northam outlined their top priorities for the upcoming legislative session, and highlighted expanded background checks for all firearm sales and other transfers (so-called “universal” background checks) as ...

Washington: Senate Law & Justice Committee to Hear Anti-Gun Bills Next Monday

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Washington: Senate Law & Justice Committee to Hear Anti-Gun Bills Next Monday

On Monday, January 15th at 10:00AM, the Senate Law & Justice Committee is scheduled to hear multiple anti-gun bills.  Testimony will be limited during the hearing, so all NRA members and Second Amendment supporters are strongly ...

Washington: Substitute Versions of Gun Control Bills to Be Heard

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Washington: Substitute Versions of Gun Control Bills to Be Heard

Last night, anti-gun legislators introduced substitute bills for Senate Bill 5444 and Senate Bill 5463.  These substituted versions will replace the original bills that are scheduled for a public hearing on Monday, January 15th. NRA remains opposed ...

Friday, January 12, 2018

Florida Alert: League of Women Voters Off The Rails

On Thursday, January 11, 2018, the League of Women Voters’ lobbyist, Stephanie Owens of Tallahassee, was in the House Judiciary Committee meeting to oppose HB-55 on behalf of the League.        

Indiana: Gun Bills Filed

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Indiana: Gun Bills Filed

With the 2018 Indiana legislative session underway, a number of bills affecting your Second Amendment and hunting rights have been filed.

Washington: Gun Control Bill Scheduled for Vote in House Judiciary

Friday, January 12, 2018

Washington: Gun Control Bill Scheduled for Vote in House Judiciary

Next Thursday, January 18th, House Bill 1122 is scheduled for a vote in the House Judiciary Committee. Introduced by Representative Ruth Kagi (D-34) in 2017, HB 1122 received a public hearing last year and a ...

Unhappy New Year for California Gun Owners

News  

Friday, January 5, 2018

Unhappy New Year for California Gun Owners

While most of America was busy preparing to celebrate the New Year, gun owners in California were scrambling to lawfully purchase ammunition while they still could. Beginning January 1, all ammunition sales were required go ...

Colorado: Pro-Gun Legislators Renew Push to Repeal Magazine Limit

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Colorado: Pro-Gun Legislators Renew Push to Repeal Magazine Limit

Yesterday, Senator Owen Hill, and Representatives Lori Saine and Stephen Humphrey introduced Senate Bill 52, legislation that seeks to repeal the misguided 2013 law that limited the amount of ammunition a firearm magazine can hold.

You’ve Got Fail: Investigation into Online Gun Sales Backfires on Gun Controllers

News  

Friday, January 5, 2018

You’ve Got Fail: Investigation into Online Gun Sales Backfires on Gun Controllers

In yet another embarrassment for the gun control lobby, a government investigation of online gun sales designed to determine “whether private sellers would knowingly sell a firearm to an individual prohibited from possessing one” determined ...

MORE TRENDING +
LESS TRENDING -
NRA ILA

Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.