Ray Rice pleads not guilty

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Ray and Janay Rice (formerly Palmer) walked into a New Jersey courtroom Thursday morning holding hands.  It was stark in contrast to the leaked altercation that occurred in an Atlantic City casino in February.

Despite that incident, Rice and Palmer appear to have moved forward (in the public eye, at least), getting married shortly after Rice was charged with third-degree aggravated assault.  In addition to ostensibly smoothing over his personal relationship, Rice’s employer has remained firm in support of the former All-Pro running back.  That being said, there are still many who are unsure about the penalty for Rice’s actions, and many suspect that even if the running back avoids jail time, he will be reprimanded by the league office.

But will Ray Rice see jail time?

The reasons that Rice was in the courtroom this morning were twofold — however, both were with the intention of avoiding incarceration.  If all goes according to plan after today, Rice will be accepted to a pretrial intervention program.  New Jersey uses this program for first time offenders “when such services can reasonably be expected to deter future criminal behavior.”  If Rice’s application is approved, he would have no criminal record from this transgression.

In the event that his application is denied, Rice also proposed a plea deal that would require probation and anger management classes.  In this proposed plea deal, Rice would similarly avoid prison.

It is clear that Rice has been given sound counsel through this process, and it appears less and less likely that he will spend time behind bars.  That being said, the situation with the NFL is an entirely different story.

I know they say all press is good press, but the NFL would beg to differ.  In a league that repeatedly insists it doesn’t harbor a violent culture, actions like Rice’s in Atlantic City are not going to be left untouched.  So while Rice will likely avoid steep punishment from the state of New Jersey, the same cannot be said about Roger Goodell and company.  Most suspect a four game suspension is imminent.

In any event, it seems Ray Rice is out of the thick grass and onto the rough.

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