Former U.S. District Judge Jones to hear Rice appeal

The league on Thursday announced that former U.S. District Judge Barbara S. Jones has been appointed by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to hear and decide the appeal filed by the NFL Players Association on behalf of Ray Rice.

A league press release stated that the NFL and NFLPA collaborated on the selection and appointment of Jones.

Judge Jones served in the Southern District of New York from 1996 to 2013. Prior to her appointment to the bench by President Bill Clinton, she served as an attorney in the Department of Justice, an Assistant United States Attorney in the Southern District of New York and Chief Assistant District Attorney in Manhattan. Judge Jones is currently a partner in the law firm of Zuckerman Spaeder.

"We are grateful to Judge Jones for taking on this role," Goodell said in the release. "She will have our full cooperation as she hears and decides this appeal."

Rice was initially suspended two games for a domestic violence incident involving his then-fiancee, Janay, at an Atlantic City casino in February. The suspension became indefinite in September after TMZ posted a video that showed the former Ravens running back striking Janay Rice in a Revel Casino elevator, causing her to hit her head on a railing and lose consciousness.

Prior to the release of the TMZ footage, the NFL announced sweeping changes to the league's Personal Conduct Policy. In a letter to league owners, Goodell apologized for his initial decision in the Rice case.

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