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Manny Ramirez Charged with Domestic Violence for Slapping His Wife

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By Stephanie Rabiner, Esq. on September 30, 2011 3:24 PM

Broward County prosecutors have formally charged Manny Ramirez with one count of misdemeanor domestic violence and battery.

The semi-retired All-Star was arrested on September 12 after his wife accused him of slapping her across the face. Photographs corroborated her story, but little else has been said about the incident.

Why has he been suddenly charged 18 days later?

The answer to this question is tied to the designated duties of police officers and prosecutors. Arrests are carried out by law enforcement, whereas prosecutors file charges. The two may work together, but as explained below, prosecutors ultimately decide the outcome.

To begin, a person can only be arrested when law enforcement:

  • Has a warrant;
  • Observes the crime; or
  • Has probable cause of participation in criminal activity.

Though all arrests are based on evidence, prosecutors are tasked with deciding whether there is sufficient proof to sustain a conviction.

When an arrest is premised on a warrant, prosecutors are likely already working with law enforcement. Investigations tend to be near completion, and charges tend to be filed and faster.

When an officer observes the crime, prosecutors may still not choose to charge. The infraction may be minimal, or influenced by outside forces.

In cases of probable cause, a prosecutor may not agree with an officer's interpretation. There may have been enough evidence for arrest, but perhaps not enough to convince a jury. Prosecutors may decide to wait for more evidence to surface. Hence the elongated timeline.

Prosecutors who charged Manny Ramirez likely fell into this final category. They were probably seeking more evidence or weighing their options. It just happened to take them two-and-a-half weeks to make a final decision.

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