Video tape evidence in the domestic assault and battery incident involving Ray Rice became public today showing him punching his then fiancee in the face in an elevator. The release of the video caused the NFL to issue an indefinite suspension and also resulted in his release by the Baltimore Ravens. Players in the NFL via Twitter expressed outrage saying he should be banned from the NFL for life.
Prosecutor in Massachusetts domestic assault and battery charges are looking for video tape evidence to prosecutor domestic cases as it is prevalent in public places and even as a result of iPhone or cell phone cameras. In some cases, a Massachusetts Criminal Defense Lawyer may be able to content that video tape evidence does not show the complete picture. In this case, it would be a difficult argument to make as the video shows the couple both inside and outside of the elevator.
In a case involving a bar room fight, captured on video in part, a defendant may be able to claim that the video fails to show some act prior to the incident raising an issue of self defense. In this case, the video evidence would be difficult to overcome for a defense lawyer and may have allow the prosecution to proceed even if the criminal case was not resolved. The video in the Rice case would leave no room for interpretation, while it does not have sound, it does not appear it was anything other than an unprovoked an violent punch by Rice.
Rice accepted a plea agreement to probation in the case. In many domestic assault and battery matters, a victim will not wish to go forward resulting in the dismissal of the charges. Prosecutors in Massachusetts typically look for other ways to prove the case without an alleged victim, such as with a 911 tape, video evidence or admissions of the defendant.
While domestic assault and battery allegations are unfortunately common, high profile cases like this incident will result in courts and the legislatures to toughen punishment. For a non-citizen or a person needing a clean background check for employment, this type of charge may have to be won at trial to avoid these adverse consequences.