LOS ANGELES — On July 2, as part of a plea agreement, Los Angeles Kings defenseman Slava Voynov, who had been charged with one felony count of “corporal injury to spouse with great bodily injury,” has pled no contest to one misdemeanor count of corporal injury to a spouse.
According to a press release from the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office, “Voynov caused his wife to suffer injuries to her eyebrow, cheek and neck during an argument at their Redondo Beach home. The injuries required medical attention at a local hospital where the defendant was arrested.”
The news was first reported by Larry Altman of the Daily Breeze and Rich Hammond of the Orange County Register. Both were at the Los Angeles Superior Court in Torrance, California where Judge Eric C. Taylor accepted the plea agreement.
As reported by Altman and Hammond, Voynov, who was arrested on October 20, 2014, was sentenced to 90 days in county jail (or another local jail), three years probation, 52 weeks in a domestic violence prevention program and approximately $700.00 in fines. He must begin serving his jail time by July 14.
Voynov will be credited with time served (one day) in a local jail after his arrest by Redondo Beach Police. He could be eligible for good behavior, which could shorten his time in jail to 45 days. Voynov must also return to court on October 5 to prove that he is enrolled in a domestic violence prevention program.
Voynov could also face deportation, which would be decided at the Federal level. However, it seems unlikely that Voynov will be deported, given that this involved a misdemeanor, not a felony, it seems unlikely that his attorneys would have agreed to such a plea deal if they did not think it would protect their client from possible deportation.
Voynov’s attorney issued the following statement, as reported by Nathan Fenno of the Los Angeles Times: “Mr. Voynov accepts responsibility for his actions the night of the incident. Mr. Voynov and his wife believe that ending domestic violence both inside and outside of professional sports must be a high priority. Mr. Voynov has been and remains fully committed to long-term therapy and counseling, individually and with his family.”
What Happens Now?
Shortly after the plea agreement was reached. the Kings released the following statement:
We believe the legal system has effectively resolved this matter and the punishment is fair and just. Any act of domestic violence is unacceptable. As an organization, the prevention of domestic violence and the education of our players and employees is of paramount importance. We will continue to actively develop and implement a strategy to deliver this message. We remain steadfast in our support of the National Hockey League as they now begin their own investigative process. Until that is complete we will withhold further comment.
Voynov remains suspended indefinitely by the NHL, and under a team suspension (for a non-hockey-related Achilles injury), which removes his salary from their salary cap.
Until the league lifts its suspension, Voynov’s career remains in limbo. However, should the league lift its suspension, the Kings would have to reinstate him, or move to terminate his contract.
Although it would likely result in Voynov filing a grievance, followed by a lawsuit, it would be a mistake of epic proportions for the Kings to reinstate Voynov, should the league lift his suspension, a move the NHL might have to make in order to move the process forward, regardless of their intentions.
If the Kings were to reinstate Voynov, it would not only open them up to criticism from their fans, the rest of the hockey world and beyond, but such a move would also be viewed as an implicit acceptance of domestic violence.
Implicit or not, as the Kings stated, domestic violence cannot be accepted. Reinstating Voynov, as good a player as he is, would send the wrong message, on multiple levels.
The Kings, and the NHL know what they must do. Let’s hope they get this one right.
LEAD PHOTO: Los Angeles Kings defenseman Slava Voynov’s booking photo. Photo: Redondo Beach Police Department
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