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Dropped NFL player Ray Rice, who was suspended indefinitely from the league Friday over video of him punching his now-wife, could have his criminal record wiped clean by next May, documents show. The ex-Ravens running back was charged with aggravated assault in March, but was granted a 12-month pretrial intervention in May as part of a deal with Atlantic County, New Jersey, prosecutors. As long as he stays out of trouble and meets with a probation officer, his record will be cleared.
The original indictment against Rice says there was "an attempt to cause significant bodily injury" to his then-fiancée Janay Palmer in an Atlantic City casino elevator in February. A complaint brought against Palmer for allegedly hitting Rice in the elevator was dismissed because of "insufficient evidence of criminal conduct." Since the initial elevator video was leaked publicly, both the NFL and the Ravens have been in a firestorm for their handling of Rice, who was initially suspended for only two games until the more damning footage was released.
Pretrial intervention is generally reserved for first-time offenders. Rice's probation under the program is set to expire May 20, 2015. According to New Jersey state law, its rehabilitation model "emphasizes that social, cultural, and economic conditions often result in a defendant's decision to commit crime."
Atlantic City Defense Attorney James Leonard Jr., who is not representing Rice, said he doesn’t think the running back got preferential treatment. “The case should have been dismissed,” Leonard said, but “if they feel ‘hey we think this guy is going to respond affirmatively to rehab services’ then a [pretrial intervention] is a good thing.”