After Ray Rice was exposed as an abuser, his legal team stepped in and in order to avoid jail time, Rice was accepted to the pretrial intervention program, which allows first-time non-violent offenders to have charges against them dismissed after participating in the program and meeting certain conditions. Non-violent…interesting. Rice is certainly a violent offender. But you know who wasn’t?: 27-year-old mother of two, Shaneen Allen (pictured above with her sons). Allen was denied from the pretrial program when she applied after being arrested subsequently after she was pulled over on the New Jersey Turnpike in Atlantic City for making an “unsafe lane change.” This is her story:
According to reports, when Allen was pulled over, she informed the officer that she was legally carrying a .38-caliber Bersa Thunder in her purse. She purchased the gun in Pennsylvania to protect herself after being robbed twice within one year. Allen is a single mom of two kids, so their safety is up to her. Allen assumed she was doing the right thing in divulging to the officer that she was carrying the gun, however New Jersey is one of the 20 states that doesn’t recognize her Pennsylvania permit. So the moment Allen crossed state lines, she was committing a felony…even if she didn’t know it and had disclosed that she was carrying a gun with a permit from her own state.
She was immediately arrested, charged with illegal possession of a firearm and unlawful possession of ammunition. As a first-time offender, Allen then applied for the pretrial program to avoid a felony conviction and jail time. Superior Judge Michael Donio turned down the request and refused to dismiss Allen’s weapon charges. She was offered a plea deal from prosecutor Jim McClain for three and a half years. Allen declined and opted to stand trial. If convicted, she faced 11 years.
Meanwhile, Allen’s life outside of her legal woes was unraveling. She’d been fired from her job, lost her home and stood to lose her two sons. Allen began gaining support from lawmakers and activists, but McClain wouldn’t move from his decision, claiming Allen’s punishment would serve as an example. However, as fate would have it, Ray Rice was revealed to the public as a violent offender, dragging his wife, Janay Rice’s body out of the elevator as if she was a sack of dirty laundry. He was allowed to enter the pretrial program and avoid jail time in spite of this program typically being reserved for non-violent, “victimless ” crimes. SMH.
Allen’s “crime” was victimless. Rice’s was not. If you can’t see the double standard here, please get your vision checked. Thankfully because of the outrage associated with Allen’s unfair punishment, McClain announced he would reconsider his position on Allen’s case and allow her into the pretrial program a month before her scheduled trial. Allen was free to rebuild her life, only after the legal system was exposed for acting on double standards. If it wasn’t for Rice’s very public mistake, Allen would be serving major time for committing a crime she had no idea she was committing. Way to go justice system.
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