By Travis J. Tormey
New York Jets linebacker Bryan Thomas is asking the Morris County Prosecutor to accept him into “pre-trial intervention,” which is a New Jersey courts diversionary program for first-time offenders. The 6’4” 265-pound linebacker is facing criminal charges of aggravated assault and possession of controlled dangerous substances following a domestic incident last October during which he allegedly punched his wife in the stomach.
To be eligible for the PTI program, you must have no prior criminal history, and you cannot have used a diversionary program before (such as PTI, or conditional discharge). Additionally, PTI is typically only available for non-violent and lower-level crimes, and the county prosecutor’s office has to accept you into the program. Typically, offenses like this one (aggravated assault) would preclude PTI, but in this case the prosecutor might go along with it because the victim no longer wants to testify. The prosecutor’s choice, then, is to try the case without a key witness, and risk acquittal, or take the defendant into PTI, require domestic violence counseling, and hope that he learns his lesson.
In this case, it looks like Thomas will be admitted into the PTI program. Prosecutors use PTI in cases like this where his wife wants the charges dropped against him. If she is unwilling to testify and there are no witnesses to the alleged assault, the State will be unable to prove the charges against him beyond a reasonable doubt. As a result, rather than drop the charges altogether, they will allow him to complete PTI and domestic violence counseling in hopes that no other incidents like this occur in the future.
If Thomas is accepted into the PTI program, his charges will be suspended while he completes probation, counseling, etc. If he successfully completes the program, the charges will be dismissed and he will have no record from this incident. This seems like a fair result in this case. The bottom line is, if his wife refuses to testify and wants the charges dropped, PTI at least allows the State to monitor him and require that he attend counseling. In the alternative, the charges would be dropped altogether without any consequences at all.
Travis J. Tormey is a New Jersey trial attorney and the founder of the Tormey Law Firm, LLC, which is dedicated exclusively to criminal and drunk driving (DWI) defense. Travis has been certified to operate the Alcotest 7110, which is the breath testing device used to prosecute DWI cases in New Jersey, and Travis worked on two of the most influential DWI cases in recent history in New Jersey—State v. Holland and State v. O'Driscoll. Travis is also known for his expertise in defending sex crime charges, and disorderly persons offenses, and has been cited in New Jersey by the Bergen Record, Daily Record, and Asbury Park Press, and nationally by AOL News. Travis blogs at www.criminallawyerinnj.com and www.bergencountycriminaldefensedwilawyer.com.