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

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Florida Alert: YETI Drops NRA Foundation

For years YETI Coolers have been a hot item for sportsmen at the Friends of NRA Foundation Banquet and Auction events around the country.  Suddenly, without prior notice, YETI has declined to do business with The ...

Dick’s Sporting Goods/Field & Stream to Destroy Firearms Inventory

News  

Second Amendment  

Friday, April 20, 2018

Dick’s Sporting Goods/Field & Stream to Destroy Firearms Inventory

Dick’s Sporting Goods took their campaign to alienate law-abiding gun owners to an extraordinary new level last week. The beleaguered retailer announced that in addition to removing certain types of semi-automatic rifles from their stores, the company ...

Another Group of Anti-Gun Celebrities Forms!  In Other News, The Sun Rose Today.

News  

Second Amendment  

Friday, April 20, 2018

Another Group of Anti-Gun Celebrities Forms! In Other News, The Sun Rose Today.

In case you were worried there were not enough anti-gun organizations working to eradicate the rights of law-abiding gun owners, a new one has formed, and it’s called NoRA.  Get it?  The name implies that the ...

NRA Salutes “the Gunny” and Mourns the Passing of an American Patriot

News  

Friday, April 20, 2018

NRA Salutes “the Gunny” and Mourns the Passing of an American Patriot

America, and the NRA, lost a true friend and a staunch defender of freedom with the passing of R. Lee Ermey on April 15 from complications of pneumonia. He was 74 years old. 

NRA Statement on Passage of the National Defense Authorization Act

News  

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

NRA Statement on Passage of the National Defense Authorization Act

National Rifle Association Institute for Legislative Action executive director, Chris W. Cox, released the following statement on Tuesday regarding President Donald Trump's signature on the National Defense Authorization Act

Illinois: Committee Passes Bill to Allow Local Infringement of Second Amendment

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Illinois: Committee Passes Bill to Allow Local Infringement of Second Amendment

The Illinois state Senate could vote on legislation to allow localities to infringe upon Second Amendment rights as early as today.  Senate Bill 2314 was moved to third reading after it had passed the Senate ...

Keep Calm and Carry On: Pro-Gun Sentiment Reasserts Itself in Wake of Antigun Blitz

News  

Second Amendment  

Friday, April 20, 2018

Keep Calm and Carry On: Pro-Gun Sentiment Reasserts Itself in Wake of Antigun Blitz

Like the long-delayed coming of spring to the Mid-Atlantic, evidence is appearing that Americans are regaining their senses and reverting to an instinctual embrace of freedom after a withering barrage of some the nastiest and most ugly ...

Rhode Island: 19 Gun Bills to be Heard in House Judiciary Committee Tuesday

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Rhode Island: 19 Gun Bills to be Heard in House Judiciary Committee Tuesday

A marathon gun bill hearing is on tap for next Tuesday night in Providence, and NRA and local pro-Second Amendment groups are calling for all-hands-on-deck.

Unfriendly Skies: Delta CEO Claims Bashing NRA Members is Good Business

News  

Friday, April 13, 2018

Unfriendly Skies: Delta CEO Claims Bashing NRA Members is Good Business

In the wake of the Parkland, Florida, murders, there has been an unusual amount of anti-gun and anti-NRA commentary by private corporations with plenty of problems of their own.   In February, Delta announced it was ending a ...

Bailed-out Banks Launch Coordinated Attack on Law-abiding Gun Owners

News  

Friday, April 13, 2018

Bailed-out Banks Launch Coordinated Attack on Law-abiding Gun Owners

There is growing evidence that some of America’s financial elite want to create a world in which America’s public policy decisions emanate from corporate boardrooms in Manhattan rather than from citizens and their elected officials.  ...

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.