The Lookout

Former Rutgers student gets 30-day jail sentence in bias crime case

The Lookout

A New Jersey judge sentenced a former Rutgers student to 30 days in jail for using a webcam to spy on his roommate kissing another man.

Dharun Ravi, 20, was convicted on two second-degree bias intimidation charges in a case that garnered national headlines because his roommate, Tyler Clementi, committed suicide after the spying.

Clementi, 18, jumped from the George Washington Bridge three days after learning that a September 2010 encounter with an older man was seen by a computer-mounted camera Ravi had set up in their dorm room. The case highlighted the issues of gay bullying and teen suicide.

The judge also placed Ravi on three years of probation. Ravi faced a maximum sentence of 10 years in a more strict and secure prison. The judge spared the stiffer prison time, and did not recommend Ravi be deported to India, where he was born and remains a citizen. Ravi was also ordered to get counseling and to pay $10,000 toward a program to help victims of bias crimes.

Judge Glenn Berman said he would not recommend Ravi be deported to India, where he was born and remains a citizen. But Ravi was ordered to get counseling and to pay $10,000 that would go to a program to help victims of bias crimes.

A jury in March convicted Ravi of hate crimes for spying on the encounter through a webcam and for trying to get others to do the same when the  man visited again. Ravi was not charged with causing Clementi's death.

Tyler Clementi's family asked the judge today to sentence Dharun Ravi to prison time.

The Associated Press reported that Clementi's father, Joseph Clementi, told the judge during the sentencing hearing, "One of Tyler's last actions was to check Ravi's Twitter page" and noted that his son checked his roommate's Twitter page 37 times before leaving the Rutgers campus and driving to the bridge where he jumped to his death. It was unclear why he checked Ravi's Twitter page so many times.

Ravi did not speak during Monday's sentencing hearing.

The lead prosecutor in the case had asked  for "a period of imprisonment" in her sentencing brief but according to Reuters did not seek the maximum 10-year sentence. The prosecution team wrote that Ravi "has failed to accept any degree of responsibility for the numerous criminal acts he committed, and shows no remorse for the same, despite significant evidence pointing directly at him."

Ravi's defense attorneys sought probation for Ravi, noting that he has no previous criminal record. The defense team also is appealing the verdict and seeking a new trial.

Before the sentencing, Ravi's parents and Clementi's parents each made appeals.

Ravi's parents attended a rally recently at New Jersey's State House in Trenton of several hundred supporters, many of them Indian or Indian-American, the Associated Press reported. The protesters said that Ravi, an Ultimate Frisbee player and computer whiz, should not have been convicted of hate crimes because he does not hate gay people and that prison is too harsh a punishment for someone who did not mean to hurt anyone, according to the AP.

His mother, Sabitha Ravi, aimed her words at journalists at the rally, saying that those who covered the trial should speak up against her son being sent to prison. "You were quiet there. Why don't you wake up now and bring some justice for Dharun?" she asked in the AP story.

The AP report said Clementi's parents had communicated  mostly through written statements or by reading prepared statements after court proceedings. In one, they said they wanted Ravi to be held accountable but that he need not be subject to a "harsh" punishment.

They also told the AP they have started a foundation to honor their son and have talked about how he had come out as gay to them days before he started at Rutgers University.

Julia McClure, the lead prosecutor in the case, asked for "a period of imprisonment" in her sentencing brief but is "not asking the court to sentence defendant Dharun Ravi to the maximum sentences."

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McClure wrote that Ravi "has failed to accept any degree of responsibility for the numerous criminal acts he committed, and shows no remorse for the same, despite significant evidence pointing directly at him."

She said that since Ravi carried out "planned, malicious and continued criminal conduct" over a period of several days, there were no extraordinary circumstances to justify giving him anything less than the standard prison sentence associated with his convictions.

Ravi's imprisonment would serve as a deterrent to other potential offenders, she said.

M.B.'s lawyer Richard Pompelio said in an interview on Thursday that M.B. also believed Ravi's sentence should include "some form of incarceration."

M.B. found the media interviews Ravi gave after his conviction were "disconcerting" and showed little remorse or willingness to take responsibility for the crimes, Pompelio said.

"There was an indication that he was still blaming my client to certain degree for the situation that (Ravi) ended up putting himself in. I don't think that bodes well for him," he said.

Ravi's lawyers have argued that the judge did not properly instruct the jury, and that his conviction for bias intimidation was an "extraordinary and unprecedented" use of hate crime laws, typically used to prosecute violent crimes.

A lawyer for the Clementi family did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Ravi's lawyers also did not immediately respond.

(Editing by Barbara Goldberg and Mohammad Zargham)

65 comments

  • michel 8 days ago

    Eric. he acts like the entitled little pri--k he is. he acted bored throughout the trial and at times dozed off. no acting lessions just respect for the procedure. He needs to go to jail then be deported back to India

  • chris Chicago, Illinois 9 days ago

    Hey Ravi... this is America speaking, "HOW YA LIKE ME NOW?" Hahahahahaha

  • Rightwing truth ministry Flagstaff, Arizona 9 days ago

    deport Ravi...

  • Whatthe.... 10 days ago

    So it would not have been so bad if it were a heterosexual couple?

    • Al-Zamar 10 days ago

      Uum, no. Perhaps you need to go back to school and learn reading comprehension. The point is not that if it had been a heterosexual couple, then it wouldn't have been as bad; the point is that the jury convicted him of a hate crime because they found that the criminal act was, in part, predicated on the fact that Tyler was homosexual.

    • Crocodile 10 days ago

      Actually, in my opinion it would have been bad were it a heterosexual couple. And were it a crime directed solely against them because they were heterosexuals and a contempt and hatred because of their sexuality then it could be prosecuted as a hate crime.

    • Mike 9 days ago

      I AGREE Crocodile. Unfortunately, our so called Justice System becomes more hypocritical by the day due to our ridiculous political correctness!

  • patriot 9 days ago

    wow jail for this guy is going to be a new experiance on gay love --karma is sometimes so great

  • Marie D Morristown, New Jersey 8 days ago

    Why have him serve time at taxpapers expense? The bigger punnishment is to send him back to India, loss of education, loss of a decent job and can never return...Good bye huge paycheck..that will hurt forever.

  • Michael 9 days ago

    The only reason I'm not totally up in arms about the ridiculous waste of time, money and damage to someone's life (Ravi's) that this trial - and possible jail time - entails, is that Ravi called his one-time co-defendant Molly Wei, while she was at the police station being questioned, to get their stories straight. Witness tampering. So he knew he did "something" wrong.

  • Gabriel 10 days ago

    How many Lawyer jokes are there?
    Only 3.
    (The rest are true stories.)

  • otis Las Vegas, Nevada 8 days ago

    this is a fine example of the tyranical laws the minorities have forced upon us in the name of political corectness.

  • PueotheWise Honolulu, Hawaii 9 days ago

    This sounds like a prank gone wrong. However, the decision to commit suicide wasn't Ravi's fault, that decision belonged to the Clementi's. Suicide is a mental ilnness. You can't blamed a third party for a mental illness. That responsbility belonged the victim and his family and their doctors. Ravi don't deserves jail time for a prank gone wrong. Beside, it wasn't as if Clementi's homosexuality was a deep secret. From everything I read, he was pretty much an open book. His suicide probably had nothing to do with prank gone wrong. Ten years sound like revenge justice.

  • Eric Atlanta, Georgia 8 days ago

    It seems weird to seek a worse punishment just because someone isn't displaying the "correct" emotions (such as remorse). Would everyone feel better if the defendant had taken some acting lessons before the trial?

  • WAYNE 10 days ago

    I do not want him to go to prison ! I want him deported with no chance to return! no sense to locking him up ! deportation would be the ultimate punisnment!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • DiMaria 10 days ago

      I support you Mr.

    • Wickedwolf 10 days ago

      The only reason this is new is due to obama playing the gay card yesterday.

    • noob 9 days ago

      Why is what you want even in discussion? This is not about you.

  • Chris 9 days ago

    so I wonder how many people can honestly say they have never played a prank on someone that embarrassed the person. Does this also mean that home security cameras are illegal. He was looking into his room not some other persons room. Having lived in a dorm I had no real expectation of privacy.

    • USMCGunner 9 days ago

      Don't we have a Presidential candidate the says he was just goofing around when he held a guyt down and shaved his head??

  • AnthonyM 10 days ago

    sure put someone who only spied on someone else in prison and let the real criminals (i.e. murders, sex offenders, illegal immigrants) roam the country on probation. this wasn't even a hate crime it was spying if he did physical harm to the kid then it MIGHT be considered a hate crime

    • _ 10 days ago

      HE was on trial and HE was convicted. You can save your bleeding heart nonsence for someone who cares.

      "IF" he did physical harm to "the kid?" THE KID had a name: Tyler Clementi. He was a son to his parents and a brother to his brothers. He had many relatives who were horrified when he took his life. Who will ever know the whole story? He can't tell us. And they are not making the note public. You seriously think no one believes the spying, the invitation to watch him and the arrogant superiority had a thing to do with it? Please. We're not imbeciles.

    • . 10 days ago

      Amen.!

    • Whatthe.... 10 days ago

      There is something wrong with anyone who kills themselves for any reason. We have to learn to live life as it comes at us and deal with the decisions we make.

  • The Stifled Patriot 10 days ago

    This common citizen requests prison sentences for these activist attorneys and prosecutors that have made this case much more than it ever should have been

  • jk 10 days ago

    The truth of the matter is that Clementi killed himself because his mother threatened to disown him after he came out to her. Maybe she should be on trial for a hate crime as well.

    • _ 10 days ago

      Nice try, Yahoo ABuser.

    • For the better 10 days ago

      Why? She didn't kill him. He did - case closed.

    • noob 9 days ago

      Case closed? No, Clementi killed himself! Neither his mother, nor Ravi physically pushed him off that bridge.

  • Crocodile 10 days ago

    Give him his prison sentence, then deport him. All he had to do was show a little bit of remorse, even if he was faking it. Who'd know?

  • Michael Fraser, Michigan 8 days ago

    He's a good student let him free, at least we won't have two wasted lives,

  • jeff 10 days ago

    Send him back to India, we have enough criminals here already and more flooding across our borders every day thanks to Obama's incentives.

  • Willow Tree 10 days ago

    There is no such thing as a "hate" crime! It is either a crime or not. Stop with this PC "Hate" shist!

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