Braves’ Marcell Ozuna agrees to diversion program: successful resolution for Atlanta Attorney Michael LaScala

On May 29th news broke out of Sandy Springs, Georgia that Atlanta Braves’ two-time MLB All-Star Marcell Ozuna had been arrested. Ozuna, who had recently signed a new contract with the Major League team and recent World Series champs, was arrested on domestic violence charges after allegedly having a physical altercation with his wife. Reports by Sandy Springs police alleged that the Dominican-born outfielder had grabbed his wife, Genesis, by the neck and threw her. 

The details of the allegations put Ozuna’s baseball future in question as domestic violence is a series charge and would not be tolerated. In a statement made by the Braves organization, “… The Braves fully support Major League Baseball’s policy on domestic violence which stresses to the fullest that our society cannot and will not tolerate domestic violence in any form…”

Georgia Laws define domestic violence, known as “Family Violence,” as the following:

Assault, Battery, Stalking, Trespassing, Damaging Property, and other offenses, against people living in the same household, partners in a dating relationship, spouses or former spouses, immediate family members, and children/stepchildren. Domestic violence, or family violence, is an umbrella term. This characterization can lead to stricter punishment, bail agreement, and consequences as compared to crimes not characterized as domestic violence. Georgia does not categorize crimes based on a numbered or lettered system. For example, another state might categorize a charge by saying it’s a ‘Class C Felony.’ In Georgia, there are misdemeanors and felonies, and they are usually ‘simple’ or ‘aggravated.’ A domestic violence charge of ‘simple’ battery or assault comes with up to a year in jail and up to $5,000 in fines. On the other hand, aggravated battery or assault can be three to 20 years in jail. 

Ozuna, working with Atlanta Attorney, Michael LaScala, agreed to enter a pretrial diversion program that requires Ozuna to be placed on six months of supervision, undergo a 24-week family violence intervention program, and complete at least 200 hours of community service; according to Fulton County Deputy District Attorney Simone Hylton. Ozuna is also required to take an anger management course and undergo a psychological evaluation. Once completion of the required programs, Ozuna’s supervision could be terminated. 

Attorney Michael LaScala believes the Sandy Springs police should not have charged Ozuna with a felony in the first place. “Sandy Springs usually does an excellent job, but this case wasn’t well investigated,” LaScala said. “It was an unfortunate incident for everyone, and he is looking forward to putting this behind him.”

LaScala negotiated with the district attorney’s office and is pleased Ozuna’s charges will be dropped, calling it “a fair resolution for both the state and my client.” Attorney Michael LaScala is hopeful Ozuna will be allowed to return to baseball soon since he did not plead guilty and was not convicted.

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