Defendant, Dharun Ravi, in Rutgers Spying Case Guilty of Hate Crimes

Reply Sat 17 Mar, 2012 09:53 am
It wasn't stupidity. Stupidity is when you make a mistake because you didn't realize what you were doing was wrong. Hate is when you intentionally do something to hurt someone, because you don't like the person. The defendant in this case intentionally instigated actions that were designed to harm another person, and he did so based upon his internal prejudices towards him. He carried out the actions in a premeditated fashion. He chortled about them with his friends while they were going on and tried to spread awareness of it to as many people as possible.

The guy deserves exactly what he gets - really, they should send him off for a few years in a federal pound-me-in-the-ass prison.

Reply Sat 17 Mar, 2012 12:31 pm
Sorry but I do not agree that there was likely any great hate of the gentleman in question or gays as a class behind Ravi actions.

I question if not ones of us had not in our childhood and or young adulthood had not harm someone who is not of our group for no good reason other then we view him or her as not ones of us.

This kind of behavior is build into us from our times living in small tribes.

Most of the time the person we harm does not go jumping off a damn bridge however!

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Reply Sat 17 Mar, 2012 04:18 pm
thoughtful post there, panz. (I haven't read the article yet, still have my own throw-the-book thing.)
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Reply Sat 17 Mar, 2012 07:33 pm

Editor's note: Paul Butler is the Carville Dickinson Benson Research professor of law at George Washington University. A former federal prosecutor, he is the author of "Let's Get Free: A Hip-Hop Theory of Justice."

(CNN) -- Dharun Ravi was an immature college kid who invaded his roommate's privacy. In New Jersey, that makes him a convicted felon who faces up to 10 years in prison. Locking up Ravi ultimately won't do much to stop bullying or fight homophobia.

His prosecution speaks volumes, however, about America's rush to use criminal justice to address problems that are better resolved by other means. Every bad act is not a crime. Every kid who does a stupid thing is not a criminal.

As the whole world knows, Ravi secretly videotaped his roommate, Tyler Clementi, having sex with another man. He let some other people watch the video, and he tweeted that Tyler was gay. Clementi then jumped off a bridge to his death.

Let's be honest. A lot of people want a pound of flesh from Ravi because they blame him for Clementi's death. Tyler's reaction was tragic, and it was idiosyncratic. It is possible to deeply mourn Clementi's death and also to acknowledge that he probably had issues other than Ravi. No judge in the country would have allowed a homicide prosecution, because, legally speaking, Ravi did not cause the death, nor was it reasonably foreseeable. Of the millions of people who are bullied or who suffer invasions of privacy, few kill themselves.

Paul ButlerBut in the classic fashion of overreaching prosecutors, the New Jersey district attorney found 15 other crimes to charge Ravi with. Legal experts expect that he will get at least a five-year prison sentence and then be deported to India, where he was born but hasn't lived since he was 2.

For his stupidity, Ravi should be shamed by his fellow students and kicked out of his dorm, but he should not be sent to prison for years and then banished from the United States.

In their hearts the prosecutors must know this, which is why they offered him a plea bargain that included no jail time and a recommendation against deportation. But prosecutors don't like it when a defendant exercises his constitutional right to go to trial, and after winning their case they are likely to ask for big time.

The prosecution seemed to play on the emotional circumstances of Clementi's death as much as the actual facts of the case. The most serious charge was that Ravi intended to intimidate Clementi by filming him having sex with another guy. But how can you intend to intimidate someone by filming him when you hide the camera and don't want the person to know he's being filmed?

In addition, New Jersey's hate crime law presents troubling First Amendment issues. If Ravi had been convicted of being motivated to act because someone was fat or a nerd, he'd be looking at five years in prison. Because he commented on Clementi's sexual orientation, he gets twice as much time. The problem with broad laws like New Jersey's is that they come too close to punishing people for what they think. Bigotry, including homophobia, is morally condemnable, but in a free country, it should not be a punishable offense.

When I was a freshman at Yale, my roommate constantly played a Patti Smith record called "Rock and Roll Nigger." I hated the song, but it never occurred to me that I should have called the police on my roommate. Part of the reason Yale paired me, an African-American from Chicago, with my roommate, a Jewish kid from Brooklyn, was for us to learn how to work out our differences. We did, and now, 25 years later, we're still friends. Those kinds of lessons are what college is for, as much as anything you learn in the classroom.

Ravi and Clementi never had that moment, but at the trial, evidence was presented that it might have happened. After Ravi had spied on Clementi, he heard that Clementi wanted a new roommate. Ravi texted him and asked him to reconsider. He said, "I've known you were gay and I have no problem with it." This does not sound like a homophobe -- it sounds like a freshman who was taking a step to becoming more mature.

Ravi did not invent homophobia, but he is being scapegoated for it. Bias against gay people is, sadly, embedded in American culture. Until last year people were being kicked out of the military because they were homosexuals. None of the four leading presidential candidates -- President Obama, Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich -- thinks that gay people should be allowed to get married. A better way to honor the life of Clementi would be for everyone to get off their high horse about a 20-year-old kid and instead think about how we can promote civil rights in our own lives.

Though a national conversation about civility and respect would have been better, as usual for social problems, we looked to the criminal justice system. The United States incarcerates more of its citizens than any country in the world. We are an extraordinarily punitive people.

Clementi died for America's sins. And now, Ravi faces years in prison for the same reason.

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Reply Mon 19 Mar, 2012 01:07 pm
It a roll of the dices................

CBS/AP) NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. - An alternate juror in the trial of former Rutgers University student Dharun Ravi, who was convicted in a webcam spying episode that ended in his gay roommate's suicide, said he disagrees with the verdict.

The jury, which returned its verdict Friday, was unanimous in finding Ravi guilty of all 15 charges, including invasion of privacy and anti-gay intimidation.

James Downey told The Record newspaper on Saturday that he wouldn't have voted to convict Dharun Ravi on any charges related to allegations that his actions were motivated but anti-gay bias.

Prosecutors said Ravi set up his webcam in his dorm room and watched Tyler Clementi kissing another man on Sept. 19, 2010, then tweeted about it and excitedly tried to catch Clementi in the act again two days later. A half dozen students were believed to have seen the live video of the kissing; no video was taken the second time.

As an alternate, Downey heard all the testimony but did not participate in deliberations.

Ravi wasn't charged with causing or contributing to his roommate's death. Clementi committed suicide by jumping off the George Washington Bridge days after his intimate encounter with the other man. The case stirred a national conversation about anti-gay bullying and teen suicide.

"Whatever (Ravi) did was stupid, but I don't think he ever had any intention of intimidating (Clementi)," Downey said. "I think that scenario could have happened 100 different ways, whether he had a straight roommate who had a girlfriend over ... there are 100 scenarios where he could have been goofing around and turning the camera on and it had nothing to do with somebody being gay."

Downey said he was "kind of up in the air" on the other charges, saying he likely would have voted to convict Ravi on charges of hindering apprehension and tampering with witnesses and evidence.

"The fact that I was picked as an alternate was almost relieving to me, especially considering the verdict they came back with," he said. "I don't really want to carry that around as far as the responsibility of sending somebody, especially a young man, to prison."

Ravi could face five to 10 years in prison on the bias intimidation charges alone when he's sentenced May 21. He could also be deported to his native India even though he has lived legally in the U.S. since he was little.

Ravi's lawyers have vowed to appeal the verdict.

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Reply Mon 4 Jun, 2012 01:34 am
interesting case..

that must teach him a great lesson.
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Reply Mon 4 Jun, 2012 03:26 am
As far as I can see, by reading the New Yorker article and if those facts are indeed correct- the only difference between what this guy did and what loads of other people have done in the past- is electronics.

I had a friend who was having sex with her girlfriend and she looked up to see a guy standing in the closet and peeking through the curtains and then this guy went and spread what he saw all around campus - only difference was there was no computer, webcam or twitter tools to make it happen instantly.
But same scenario - these girls were out, everyone already knew they were gay- and so they just laughed at the knucklehead.

I don't think this guy hated my friend or her girlfriend because they were gay - I think he was curious and an asshole with no respect for another person's privacy - but there have always been and always will be people like that. It's not like this guy was blackmailing Tyler with this information or anything.
This is just like someone watching someone else through a keyhole. He didn't tape the thing and he didn't out the guy - the guy was already out.

Something Tyler said in the article really stuck with me - he said that he didn't know if he was gay so much as 'asexual'. Maybe (when he finally experienced what sex would be for him) he was disappointed to find out that the sex wasn't all that he'd hoped it would be and maybe he was in fact 'asexual' and this was a disappointment to him.

I'm glad I read the article - it painted a totally different picture of what really happened than what I had thought had happened. I thought this guy was taping Tyler and using it to out him, etc., etc. If Tyler was already out and aware that there was no tape, I doubt he committed suicide because he was disappointed in his roommate's lack of courtesy, integrity and morals.
There had to have been something else going on inside of him to trigger such a response to something like this.
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