Ray Rice’s criminal case was handled “outrageously” and “shamefully” … this according to numerous prosecutors in the office … TMZ Sports has learned.
Multiple prosecutors in the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office have spoken with TMZ — on condition of anonymity — and they say it is “virtually unheard of” for their office to allow someone like Ray Rice to avoid felony charges. What’s more … they say it all happened behind closed doors … behind their backs.
We previously reported … the grand jury indicted Rice for felony abuse after viewing the elevator video posted on TMZ Sports. Rice’s lawyer then petitioned for something called PTI — Pre-trial Intervention — which gives first time offenders a break … reducing the charge to a minor offense.
As one prosecutor said, “If there is violence or even a threat of violence by the perpetrator, prosecutors almost always object to a PTI and judges always follow the prosecutor’s wishes” … meaning the case gets tried as a felony.
Not so with Rice. We’re told the case did NOT go to the Domestic Violence Unit … which is where it should have gone. Instead, it was micromanaged by Jim McClain, the prosecutor who runs the office and his number 2 prosecutor, Diane Ruberton. The Domestic Violence Unit was in the dark.
Another prosecutor said, “Never did I see a case this violent get PTI. It’s off the charts abnormal.”
The prosecutors say virtually everyone in the office was outraged when the case was closed on May 20. As one prosecutor said, “The video is disgusting. He [Rice] treated her like a pile of s***, human garbage, dragging her out of the elevator.”
And it gets worse. We’re told either on June 17 or 18 … Jim McClain called all of the prosecutors into the conference room and said he would no longer use the Domestic Violence Unit to process cases where the grand jury indicts abusers. We’re told McClain said it was just a matter of resources.
But our sources say McClain’s decision is a disaster. They say the cases are now handled by overworked prosecutors who handle general crimes and don’t have the time or training to handle DV cases. They have no time to help the victims through the process. Our sources say McClain has “all but obliterated the DV Unit.”
As for why McClain handled the Rice case the way he did and then emasculated the DV unit … none of the prosecutors have a clue.
McClain tells TMZ Sports Diane Ruberton is “one of our most experienced attorneys,” adding she was assisted by a Victim Witness Coordinator. McClain also said he consulted with Ruberton and another prosecutor who handles PTI domestic violence applications, before deciding not to object to Rice’s PTI bid.
McClain says, “Any allegation or intimation that this matter was handled by persons who were inexperienced or unqualified is baseless.”