Sports

Prosecutor defends handling of case against NFL star Ray Rice, entry into diversion program

  • FILE - In this February 2014 file photo, from a still image taken from a hotel security video released by TMZ Sports, Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice drags his fiancee, Janay Palmer, out of an elevator moments after knocking her off her feet, against the elevator's railing at the Revel casino in Atlantic City, N.J. A law enforcement official says he sent a video of Ray Rice punching his then-fiancee to an NFL executive five months ago, while league officers have insisted they didn't see the violent images until this week. The person played The Associated Press a 12-second voicemail from an NFL office number on April 9 confirming the video arrived. A female voice expresses thanks and says: "You're right. It's terrible." (AP Photo/File)

    FILE - In this February 2014 file photo, from a still image taken from a hotel security video released by TMZ Sports, Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice drags his fiancee, Janay Palmer, out of an elevator moments after knocking her off her feet, against the elevator's railing at the Revel casino in Atlantic City, N.J. A law enforcement official says he sent a video of Ray Rice punching his then-fiancee to an NFL executive five months ago, while league officers have insisted they didn't see the violent images until this week. The person played The Associated Press a 12-second voicemail from an NFL office number on April 9 confirming the video arrived. A female voice expresses thanks and says: "You're right. It's terrible." (AP Photo/File)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - In this May 23, 2014, file photo, Janay Rice, left, looks on as her husband, Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice, speaks to the media during a news conference in Owings Mills, Md. A law enforcement official says he sent a video of Ray Rice punching his then-fiancee to an NFL executive five months ago, while league officers have insisted they didn't see the violent images until this week. The person played The Associated Press a 12-second voicemail from an NFL office number on April 9 confirming the video arrived. A female voice expresses thanks and says: "You're right. It's terrible." (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

    FILE - In this May 23, 2014, file photo, Janay Rice, left, looks on as her husband, Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice, speaks to the media during a news conference in Owings Mills, Md. A law enforcement official says he sent a video of Ray Rice punching his then-fiancee to an NFL executive five months ago, while league officers have insisted they didn't see the violent images until this week. The person played The Associated Press a 12-second voicemail from an NFL office number on April 9 confirming the video arrived. A female voice expresses thanks and says: "You're right. It's terrible." (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - In this May 1, 2014, file photo, Baltimore Ravens football player Ray Rice holds hands with his wife, Janay Palmer, as they arrive at Atlantic County Criminal Courthouse in Mays Landing, N.J. A law enforcement official says he sent a video of Ray Rice punching his then-fiancee to an NFL executive five months ago, while league officers have insisted they didn't see the violent images until this week. The person played The Associated Press a 12-second voicemail from an NFL office number on April 9 confirming the video arrived. A female voice expresses thanks and says: "You're right. It's terrible." (AP Photo/Mel Evans, File)

    FILE - In this May 1, 2014, file photo, Baltimore Ravens football player Ray Rice holds hands with his wife, Janay Palmer, as they arrive at Atlantic County Criminal Courthouse in Mays Landing, N.J. A law enforcement official says he sent a video of Ray Rice punching his then-fiancee to an NFL executive five months ago, while league officers have insisted they didn't see the violent images until this week. The person played The Associated Press a 12-second voicemail from an NFL office number on April 9 confirming the video arrived. A female voice expresses thanks and says: "You're right. It's terrible." (AP Photo/Mel Evans, File)  (The Associated Press)

New Jersey law says defendants charged with violent crimes should "generally be rejected" from a pretrial intervention program like the one former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice was admitted into this year.

Instead of potentially facing jail time for knocking his then-fiancee unconscious in an Atlantic City casino, Rice was accepted into the program that allows him to avoid prosecution.

The decision to admit him into the program has been scrutinized for months, which intensified after TMZ Sports released a video showing the blow that knocked out Janay Palmer, now Rice's wife.

Advocates for victims of domestic violence accuse investigators of being lenient toward Rice and lawmakers have called for a review.

But defense attorneys say it's not uncommon for defendants with assault charges to qualify for pretrial intervention.