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30 Days In Jail, Three Years Probation In Rutgers Webcam Case

Filed by KOSU News in US News.
May 21, 2012

After emotional appeals from parents on both sides of the case, Dharun Ravi was this afternoon sentenced to 30 days in jail and three years of probation for bias intimidation and invasion of privacy when he used a webcam to spy on his gay roommate at Rutgers University in September 2010.

That roommate, Tyler Clementi, committed suicide shortly after the incident involving the webcam. The tragedy has gotten national attention. As The Associated Press says:

“The case has turned both Clementi and Ravi, who for just three weeks shared a Rutgers University dorm room they were randomly assigned, into widely known symbols. Clementi is seen as an example of what can happen to young gays who are too often bullied even as acceptance of gays has increased. Ravi has been portrayed as a young man victimized by overzealous prosecutors who reacted to a tragedy by piling on charges.”

New Jersey Superior Court Judge Glenn Berman told Ravi that “I haven’t heard you apologize once,” but also that he did not believe the 20-year-old would ever commit another such crime.

New Jersey’s Star-Ledger live blogged today’s sentencing hearing. As it reports, Clementi’s parents asked for justice. Jane Clementi, Tyler’s mother, called Ravi’s actions “malicious and evil.” James Clementi, the young man’s father, said he wonders if Ravi is “even capable of emphathizing with another person.”

Ravi Pazhani, the defendant’s father, said “we are not a homophobic family.” Sabitha Ravi, the mother, said her son’s life has been shattered and taht he is “kind-hearted and loving.”

Dharun Ravi did not address the court.

As we’ve said in other posts, for a very detailed look at “The Story Of A Suicide,” see this piece from The New Yorker.

Update at 12:55 p.m. ET. Both Sides To Appeal:

Ravi’s attorney and the state both ask the judge to “stay” the sentence (put it on hold), and he agrees to do that. The state prosecutor also says she is going to appeal Berman’s ruling. Berman says he understands that the state wanted him to send Ravi to a longer term at a state prison, and that he understands the defendant wants to object to any jail sentence.

The judge says it’s his understanding that with a stay, the two sides have 10 days to make their case that his sentence was wrong.

Update at 12:50 p.m. ET. Three-year Probation:

Judge Berman just added that Ravi’s probation will last for three years. He must also perform 300 hours of community service, get counseling for cyber bullying and on “alternate lifestyles,” and pay nearly $12,000 in fines that will go to a variety of state services. [Copyright 2012 National Public Radio]

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