By Aaron Wilson
The Baltimore Sun
2:18 PM EDT, April 2, 2014
Ravens running back Ray Rice's felony aggravated assault case has been scheduled for an April 28 arraignment conference at Atlantic County Superior Court, according to a court spokesperson. The arraignment is scheduled for 8:45 a.m.
The case stems from a physical altercation between the three-time Pro Bowl running back and his then-fiancee Janay Palmer on Feb. 15 at Revel Casino in Atlantic City, N.J. Rice and Palmer were married last Friday.
Initially facing a simple assault-domestic violence charge, Rice was indicted by a grand jury on the more serious third-degree aggravated assault charge last week after the case was reviewed by the Atlantic County prosecutor's office. Palmer was originally arrested and faced a count of simple assault-domestic violence, but her case was administratively dismissed.
During the arraignment, Rice will be officially notified of the charges he's facing and could enter a plea.
If convicted of aggravated assault, Rice could face between three and five years in jail. As a first-time offender, however, Rice could avoid jail time and may be eligible for a diversionary program.
Rice, 27, allegedly attempted to "cause significant bodily injury to Janay Palmer, and/or did purposely or knowingly cause significant bodily injury to Janay Palmer and/or under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life, did recklessly cause significant bodily injury to Janay Palmer."
Rice allegedly knocked Palmer unconscious during their altercation, and a TMZ video showed the NFL player dragging a limp Palmer from an elevator and propping her up.
The case was based on video surveillance that showed Rice and Palmer hitting each other with their hands, according to police.
Following the indictment last week, the Ravens issued a statement saying: "This is part of the due process for Ray. We know there is more to Ray Rice than this one incident."
Rice's attorney, Michael Diamondstein, told The Baltimore Sun last week that the couple doesn't wish to go forward in the prosecution of the case. Rice and Palmer have been in counseling since the incident.
“Ray Rice is not going to put blame on Janay Palmer,” Diamondstein said. “The state chose only to prosecute Ray Rice, and we ask that the public reserve judgment until all the facts come out.”
Marital privilege doesn't apply in domestic violence cases in New Jersey when a spouse is the alleged victim under an exception in New Jersey law, an Atlantic City criminal defense attorney not affiliated with the case, told The Baltimore Sun last week.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said during the league meetings that Rice's case is being monitored. No decision on potential discipline from the league has been made at this time.
Both Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti and coach John Harbaugh have said that Rice will continue to play for the team.
“Ray will be here,” Bisciotti told The Baltimore Sun during the NFL owners meetings. "This is a singular moment six years after we drafted him. It’s embarrassing for him and his fiancee. It is especially hard to see somebody that is proud of his reputation have to take this kind of public relations hit.”
During his charity basketball game at Comcast Center last Saturday, Ravens wide receiver Torrey Smith, who's friends with Rice and Palmer, said he stands behind them and that they're in a "good place" in their relationship.
"I'm tight with Ray, I'm tight with Janay," Smith said. "He is like a brother to me and she's like a sister to me and my wife as well. I went by [Friday] after everything happened and checked up on them and they're happy. They're growing. They're trying to better themselves from it.
"I'm there to support them no matter what happens, and that's both of them. I wish them the best and they are making themselves better."
Baltimore Sun reporters Justin Fenton and Jeff Zrebiec contributed to this article.