Monday, September 8, 2014

Understanding the Ray Rice situation

This post may be sound a little off topic from my usual posts but, as a huge Ravens fan, I wanted to share my thoughts on the current situation and I promise to tie it in to my normal themes.

What happened with Ray Rice and his suspension from the NFL?

First, let's go back to where it all started. Ray Rice was accused of assaulting his girlfriend in an elevator in Atlantic City.  Because they were in an intimate relationship, this is considered domestic violence.  From there, legally, two things happened.

First, Ray Rice had to face his charges in the court system.  Because it was a first offense, Ray Rice was able to have those charges dismissed.  To go into a little bit more depth, there are certain laws in certain states that allow someone who is charged with a crime for the first time to complete certain requirements and the charge will be dismissed (you see this in a lot of cases involving drugs).  Now, because it was dismissed does not mean his record is clean.  When a case is dismissed in this manner, the charge will remain on his record.

Second, Ray Rice had to face his employer, the NFL.  Many people are uncertain why the NFL even got involved?  The NFL, similar to many companies, have a code of conduct, meaning they expect their employees to behave in a particular manner.  Assaulting someone is a violation of this code of conduct.  This is an employment law matter, not a criminal matter in this situation.  As a result, the NFL initially suspended Ray Rice for 2 games of the season.

So now what happens with all of this since the video from the elevator has surfaced?  The criminal side of it in the court is over.  We all have a constitutional right that prohibits the government from trying us for the same crime twice.  Since Ray Rice's case has been dismissed, as a result of the first offender law, the state cannot recharge him or modify his sentence.  The employment law side of it, however, might be adjusted.  If there is no "double jeopardy" clause in the collective bargaining agreement, the NFL, the employer, can change Ray Rice's suspension, as they have done.

A third aspect to consider, that I don't believe happened in this case, is protective orders.  Ray Rice's girlfriend could have attempted to go to the court system and obtain a protective order, requiring Ray Rice to stay away from her and prohibiting him from communicating with her.  If you are in a similar situation, you may want to consider seeking a protective order.  

This may be a bit oversimplified but to sum it up, Ray Rice's charges of assault have been dismissed and will remain dismissed but the fate of Ray Rice in the NFL is still uncertain and not looking good at this point.