Mets’ Pitcher Francisco Rodriguez Charged with Assault at Citi Field: A New York Criminal Defense Perspective

According to reports, Francisco Rodriguez, a/k/a “K-Rod,” a New York Mets’ pitcher and closer, was arrested at Citi Field (Mets Stadium) and charged with Assault in the Third Degree (New York Penal Law 120.00). Police arrested K-Rod after he allegedly struck his father-in-law who ultimately suffered a scrape on is face and swelling above his eye. Rodriguez was kept in police custody and held over night. He is scheduled to be arraigned sometime today. This is the second high profile case handled by the Queens District Attorney’s Office in the past few days after the arrest of Steven Slater, the JetBlue flight attendant.

Assault in the Third Degree is an “A” misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail. Generally, one is guilty of this crime if one intentionally causes physical injury or substantial pain to another person. Often time in cases where the injury is minor, police will issue a New York Desk Appearance Ticket as opposed to putting someone through the system. However, in criminal cases involving family members (“domestic violence”), Desk Appearance Tickets are not issued.

What will be interesting is how the case will proceed against the the Mets’ pitcher. Often times in cases involving family members, victims decide later that they do not wish to proceed. If Rodriguez’s father-in-law is the only source of direct evidence, then the case may be difficult to prove against the Mets’ closer. However, if there are independent witnesses, statements made by Rodriguez or there is video footage, a case may be able to be proven even without the cooperation of the alleged victim. Moreover, another noteworthy issue is whether the scrape and swelling rise to the level of “physical injury?” In other words, does the alleged injury satisfy the level of injury needed to prove this crime?

For detailed analysis, review and commentary on the crime of Assault in the Third Degree (NY PL 120.00), the elements of that crime as well other other levels of Assault, please review the New York Assault Crime section of Saland Law PC’s website (follow the highlighted link). Alternatively, you can go directly to the New York Criminal Lawyer Blog at NewYorkCriminalLawyerBlog.Com for information including legal decisions and newsworthy cases under either the Assault, Violent Crimes or In the News sections.

Representing clients in criminal investigations and arrests throughout the New York City area, the New York criminal defense attorneys at Saland Law PC served as Manhattan prosecutors prior to starting the criminal defense firm.

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