Ray Rice

In this March 11, 2013, photo, Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice, left, poses with his fiancee, Janay Palmer, in Baltimore as they arrive for a screening of a new film that chronicles the team's championship NFL football season. Rice has been indicted on a charge he assaulted Palmer during an argument in an elevator at an Atlantic City, N.J., casino last month. Rice had been charged with simple assault after police said he knocked out Palmer on Feb. 15. But a grand jury Thursday, March 27, 2014, indicted him on a more serious count of aggravated assault, which carries a three-to-five-year sentence.

Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice will be arraigned April 28 in Atlantic County Superior Court in the alleged assault of his now-wife.

Rice was indicted last week on one count of aggravated assault causing serious bodily injury for allegedly knocking Janay Palmer, 27, unconscious during an altercation inside an elevator at Revel Casino Hotel just before 3 a.m. Feb. 15.

He and Palmer were married Friday, one day after he was indicted by a grand jury.

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Rice’s attorney, Michael Diamondstein, told The Press of Atlantic City at the time that the two were happy, in love and in counseling. They live together in Reisterstown, Md., with their young daughter.

Video surveillance from outside the elevator was released by TMZ Sports and shows the aftermath of the altercation. Palmer appears unconscious as Rice tries to move her limp body out of the elevator. A man then comes along, and that is apparently when police were called.

Rice and Palmer refused medical attention at the scene, and both were charged with simple assault. But after the video went public, Atlantic City police passed the case on to the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office. The prosecutor dismissed the charge against Palmer and, last Thursday, acting First Assistant Prosecutor Diane Ruberton presented the third-degree aggravated assault charge.

The decision was apparently made as a result of what’s on video taken from inside the elevator, showing the altercation. That has not been made public.

The third-degree charge carries a possible three- to five-year sentence, but in such cases there is no presumption of prison time.

“In fact, it’s the exact opposite,” said Upper Township defense attorney John Tumelty, who is not involved in the case. “The presumption is no jail time on a third-degree charge with a clean record.”

However, county jail time could be a condition of probation, he said. County jail terms carry a maximum of 364 days.

Rice likely would also be eligible for the Pre-Trial Intervention program, or PTI, which allows defendants to avoid a trial. Upon completion, the charges are dismissed and then, six months later, the record can be expunged.

Diamondstein would not comment on whether he would apply for that on Rice’s behalf.

“It’s not uncommon for somebody charged with an aggravated assault to get rejected from PTI, even if the person has a clean background with no criminal record,” Tumelty said.

Tumelty has had several assault cases put through PTI: some approved, some rejected.

PTI must be approved by the program administrator and the prosecutor.

Some county prosecutors have policies that ban such cases from being accepted into the program, but Atlantic County does not.

“Crimes of violence are looked at very closely,” acting Atlantic County Prosecutor Jim McClain told The Press. “There is no blanket policy.”

The arraignment will take place before Superior Court Judge Michael Donio in the Atlantic County Criminal Courthouse in Mays Landing.

Contact Lynda Cohen:


@LyndaCohen on Twitter

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