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Warnken, LLC Attorneys at Law, Attorneys & Lawyers, Pikesville, MD

Did Ray Rice Commit a Crime?

UPDATE on 9/8/14:  Obviously Ray Rice committed a crime.  Not only is the evidence out there, but he has actually pleaded guilty to the offense.  As of 40 minutes ago, he is no longer a Raven.  As of 15 minutes ago, he is indefinitely suspended from NFL football.  

The league really screwed this up.  They had to know this video existed.  As soon as he pled, every criminal lawyer, most other lawyers, and a good handful of the general public knew this video existed.  Why would he plead so quickly and quietly without damning evidence?  Sure enough, the video exists.

And if you know the video exists, don’t you know the video will get out?  In this world, it couldn’t be easier to leak and spread.  Assuming it was not obtained via public information act request, TMZ probably paid six figures for it, maybe more.

That said, my guess is the league and the team had not seen the video.  The casino, the police, the state of NJ, Rice and his lawyers were likely the only ones who had a copy and had seen it.  Most of those parties have an obligation not to disclose.  

Warnken, LLC has four season tickets to the Ravens.  We can now hold our head up when we walk into the stadium and cheer.  Our running back scoring a touchdown will no longer be applauded with dark thoughts in the back of our minds.  Thanks Ravens.

The below is from February, immediately after the 1st video came out…

Our senior attorney, Byron L. Warnken, was on WJZ yesterday talking about the Ray Rice video with Mike Hellgren.  The video, released by TMZ video, shows a man that appears to be Rice dragging a female believed to be his fiancee out of an elevator at a New Jersey hotel and casino.  Assuming it is Rice, did he commit a crime?  Did he do it?  Was it illegal to pull a woman out of the elevator in the manner he did?

Not necessarily directly related to the video, Ray Rice received a summons stating, “Rice struck her with his hand, rendering her unconscious.”  After Professor Warnken stated, “If true, this would be a felony in Maryland.”  Part of the point is we don’t know what is and is not true.  A summons is not guilt.  Americans are innocent until proven guilty.

Nothing in the video found here is actually a crime.  If your significant other was passed out drunk in the elevator, you might remove her (or him) in a relatively similar manner, especially if you were intoxicated yourself.

That said, if there was also a summons from right around the same time saying your significant other was rendered unconscious by your own hand, it wouldn’t look good.  In fact, you might start to look at the video was a more suspicious eye.  Is he actually kicking her?  Why does he not handle her with more care?

Is Ray Rice guilty?  Did Ray Rice beat his fiancee, essentially in public?  I don’t know and the video doesn’t necessarily say.  However, things don’t look good for Ray.