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Rutgers Student Ravi Convicted of Bias Intimidation and Spying 714

Posted by Soulskill
from the don't-be-a-jerk dept.
In 2010, Rutgers University student Dharun Ravi used his computer's webcam to spy on the activities of his gay roommate, Tyler Clementi, and commented about it publicly on Twitter. Days later, Clementi committed suicide. Ravi was indicted on 15 charges, going to trial last month. Now, reader doston sends word that the trial has ended, and Ravi has been found guilty on all 15 charges, though the jury returned a not guilty verdict on aspects of certain charges. "After less than three full days of deliberations, the five men and seven women of the jury found Dharun Ravi, 20 years old, guilty of invading the privacy of his 18-year-old roommate, Tyler Clementi, and his dorm-room date. They also found that Ravi was motivated by bias under a New Jersey hate-crime law that had been largely untested so far. ... The jury had been asked to decide Ravi’s motivations when he trained his webcam on Clementi and his date on two separate occasions in September 2010, in a case that set off a national conversation about cyber-bullying and treatment of gay youth. ... Ravi faces up to 10 years in prison on most serious bias intimidation convictions, but is likely to receive a lesser sentence based on sentencing guidelines because he is a first time offender. The India-born Ravi, who has spent most of his life in the U.S. as a permanent resident, faces the possibility of deportation as a result of his criminal conviction. He rejected a plea deal in December that would have kept him out of prison and offered him assistance with immigration authorities."
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Rutgers Student Ravi Convicted of Bias Intimidation and Spying

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  • Well (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 16, 2012 @02:35PM (#39380781)

    That's pretty gay... err, I mean retarded... err, I mean lame, err...

  • Damn unfortunate (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Stargoat (658863) * <stargoat@gmail.com> on Friday March 16, 2012 @02:36PM (#39380791) Journal

    It's damn unfortunate for everyone involved. But even worse, Ravi is also going to have his life ruined by a man who decided to end his own. What Ravi did was punch in the nose wrong - not 10 years in prison and deportation. Heck, the stupid stuff we did on our floor in college was just as bad or worse. I'm sure 99% of every man who went to college in the dorms can say the same.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Sometimes you have to make an example of someone in order to get a point across and discourage future morons from pulling the same kind of stunt. If all I'm risking is a punch in the nose, and I'm 50 pounds and 3" bigger than you, it's not really much of a risk for me, now is it?
      • by elrous0 (869638) * on Friday March 16, 2012 @02:43PM (#39380901)

        I think you could make a point without sending someone to prison for ten years on some vague charge of "bias intimidation." It's not like this guy hasn't already had his face plastered all over the news as an epic asshole, and (rightfully) been convicted of invasion of privacy.

        • Re:Damn unfortunate (Score:5, Informative)

          by binarstu (720435) on Friday March 16, 2012 @03:20PM (#39381451)

          I think you could make a point without sending someone to prison for ten years...

          From TFA: "He rejected a plea deal in December that would have kept him out of prison and offered him assistance with immigration authorities."

          He clearly could have avoided doing time. Instead, he and his lawyer tried to argue that (from this article [cnn.com]): "He hasn't lived long enough to have any experience with homosexuality or gays," attorney Steven Altman said in closing arguments this week. "He doesn't know anything about it. He just graduated high school."

          Evidently the jury didn't find it very convincing.

          • by interkin3tic (1469267) on Friday March 16, 2012 @04:14PM (#39382215)

            From TFA: "He rejected a plea deal in December that would have kept him out of prison and offered him assistance with immigration authorities." He clearly could have avoided doing time.

            Just like those people the MPAA/RIAA sues for 40 gazillion dollars could avoid it by settling for a mere $5000. What he did may have been mean and had terrible unforeseen consequences, but it should not have been prosecuted. His actions should have justified the victim's friends roughing him up a bit, that's about it.

            The prosecution is the really bad guys here. I can't exactly fault the guy for saying "No, I won't be intimidated into admitting what I did was CRIMINALLY wrong."

          • by bradley13 (1118935) on Friday March 16, 2012 @04:28PM (#39382419) Homepage

            Please note that the State uses a plea bargain as a way to avoid the effort of actually going to trial. Not saying this guy wasn't guilty, but the fact is that only a tiny fraction of criminal cases actually wind up in front of a jury. Why? Because the State says "take this deal or we throw the book - and the chair and the desk and the whole goddamn building - at you". It's not even remotely fair; it is a blatant attempt to intimidate people out of their right to a trial by jury. Of course, the juries are generally not aware of this, and are almost certainly unaware of the deal initially offered.

            "Bias intimidation" is even more idiotic that "hate crime". What kind of idiots are we electing as legislators? Oh, right...

        • Re:Damn unfortunate (Score:5, Informative)

          by Ahnteis (746045) on Friday March 16, 2012 @03:20PM (#39381455)
          Ravi faces up to 10 years in prison on most serious bias intimidation convictions, but is likely to receive a lesser sentence
      • by Metabolife (961249) on Friday March 16, 2012 @02:51PM (#39380997)

        Next time you wrong someone and they end up killing themselves due to their own unrelated emotional problems, you might just change your mind.

        • Re:Damn unfortunate (Score:5, Informative)

          by crgrace (220738) on Friday March 16, 2012 @02:58PM (#39381109)

          If you steal a stop sign and someone who was also speeding crashes, you are probably guilty of manslaughter.

          This poor kid was obviously very troubled, but if you look at the totality of his communications, he was obviously pushed over the edge by this Ravi asshole. If Ravi hadn't have been such a colossal jerk, the kid would still be alive. He only started thinking of suicide AFTER he started getting harassed.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by epyT-R (613989)

            This is the same crappy logic lobbyists use to justify censorship of all kinds. if it wasn't ravi, it'd've been someone else, or something else eventually. like a video game for instance, or a crap teen movie. anything, really. clementi had issues. Ravi might be a douchebucket, but he is not responsible for clementi's choice to take his life.

            • Re:Damn unfortunate (Score:5, Informative)

              by slimjim8094 (941042) <slashdot3@justconnected . n et> on Friday March 16, 2012 @04:22PM (#39382331)

              Ravi might be a douchebucket, but he is not responsible for clementi's choice to take his life.

              Looks like the prosecutor and the courts agreed with you. He isn't being charged with the kid's death.

            • by yurtinus (1590157)
              "bias intimidation and spying" right there in tf-title. Of course, we'll keep arguing over it anyway but the jury found pretty much exactly as I'd expect. In most states it is illegal to record somebody without their knowledge (or the knowledge of at least one person being recorded). "Bias intimidation" sounds like a twist on harassment, and while we could argue until we're blue in the face about whether that distinction is necessary (hate crimes vs plain harassment), I don't think we'd have as much argumen
          • You obviously haven't read the new yorker article here [newyorker.com].

            It was extremely more likely that the scorn he received from his mother likely pushed him over the edge. He even took her on "tours of bridges around new york". If thats not a cry for help...

            "Clementi wrote a message to Justusboys. He was clearly pained, but there's little to support the idea that he was mortified by the thought that he'd been outed. There are only hints of Clementi's mood in the previous weeks and months. There was his claim that he ha

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by mariox19 (632969)

          But, he had changed his mind. First off, there was never any "broadcast" to begin with. He and a friend (and maybe a third, I don't remember) saw exactly two seconds of the video feed from the webcam before turning it off. Why did they turn it off? Because they felt creepy watching it. He later posted a bunch of tweets and "invited" people to see the next broadcast, but there never was any next broadcast -- he changed his mind about doing one. There was no terrible crime here.

        • If you deliberately go out of your way to cause trouble to someone who already gets enough trouble from society, my sympathy isn't quite on your side if it backfires.

      • by EdIII (1114411) on Friday March 16, 2012 @03:03PM (#39381187)

        The point is going to be ignored and forgotten by the end of next week.

        Most people don't understand just how long 10 years really is. That punishment would not nearly fit the crime.

        Sure he was an asshole, but I don't think he was actually trying to set out to kill the man, or cause the man to kill himself. Just stupid actions on top of more stupid actions.

        Young people can be cruel and callous. However, that is equality. It makes no difference that the young man was gay. Every man, and every woman, has to deal with people like this, and a lot of stupid stunts pulled in high school and college. Yes, some of those stunts can be very invasive and designed to humiliate people. Welcome to college.

        While it is sad, that young man made the decision to end his life, there is a larger issue. That real issue here is not that Ravi recorded an intimate moment and broadcast it, it is that the fact this young man was gay and got "caught" engaging in homosexual activity and the loss of privacy caused enough stress upon him that he concluded that the only way out was suicide. That's sad and indicative of the depressing state of affairs in our society.

        If society were a little bit different that young man could have just been pissed off that Ravi secretly recorded him with his boyfriend. Pursuing other remedies available to him through the administration and local law enforcement would have been considered long before he ended his own life.

        Of course, even that is an assumption. Some people have such a low threshold for stress that it does not take much to make them snap and take other people with them.

        This whole situation is a tragedy and nothing really positive is going to come out of putting Ravi in prison for 10 years. The only positive outcome here is increased awareness and tolerance for others. Punishing people with years in prison for bullying is not going to be that effective at preventing young people from doing what they do.

        • Re:Damn unfortunate (Score:4, Informative)

          by mariox19 (632969) on Friday March 16, 2012 @03:19PM (#39381437)

          That real issue here is not that Ravi recorded an intimate moment and broadcast it, it is that the fact this young man was gay and got "caught" engaging in homosexual activity and the loss of privacy caused enough stress upon him that he concluded that the only way out was suicide.

          Actually, there is no evidence of this. Moreover, from the New Yorker article on the case, a few weeks back, I learned that Clementi had taken a "tour" of the bridges around the NYC area weeks before leaving for Rutgers. It's reasonable to believe he may have been harboring conflicting thoughts concerning suicide before he ever met Ravi.

        • Re:Damn unfortunate (Score:5, Interesting)

          by AthanasiusKircher (1333179) on Friday March 16, 2012 @04:07PM (#39382119)

          That real issue here is not that Ravi recorded an intimate moment and broadcast it,

          Can we clear up one thing that was repeated all over the internet and is still being repeated here:

          There was no "broadcast."

          Ravi and one friend viewed something through a webcam for a few seconds. After that, on a subsequent evening when Ravi was asked to stay out of the room, he tweeted that he was going to set up a public viewing. For various reasons that I've read in conflicting accounts, this more public viewing never happened. (I believe Ravi claims he decided not to do it long before the time came.)

          So, the "invasion of privacy" seems to be based on two people across the hall spying through a webcam for less than a minute. This was certainly a jerk thing to do, but is it much different from two people across the hall quietly opening the door and peaking in? How many college students do this to spy on a roommate?

          I'm not speaking about possible bias or motivation or whatever, but the invasion of privacy did NOT involve a recording or broadcast, at least according to reliable news sources I've read.

        • Most people don't understand just how long 10 years really is. That punishment would not nearly fit the crime.

          The upper limit of the range of punishments for a given category criminal offense is intended to fit every offense in the category. It's intended to fit the worst possible instance of the category that is not in a more severe category.

          nothing really positive is going to come out of putting Ravi in prison for 10 years.

          Well, that's true for a number of reasons, the most significant one of which is tha

    • by Ihmhi (1206036) <i_have_mental_health_issues@yahoo.com> on Friday March 16, 2012 @02:44PM (#39380925)

      I think the entire concept of a "hate crime" is wrong. Isn't stuff like this already covered by "making threats" and "intimidation"?

      Here's two similar situations:

      1) A man at a bar repeatedly punches another man because he is wearing a t-shirt that shows his endorsement of a rival sports team.

      2) A man at a bar repeatedly punches another man because he is wearing a skirt.

      The actual crime here is assault and battery, In 1), that's all it would be, but in 2) they would tack on "hate crime", "bias intimidation", and all kinds of other crap. It'd go from a fine and a couple hundred hours of community service (at most) to a community-wide (if not nationwide) spectacle.

      Now, I do understand that certain classes of people have had really, really horrible shit happen to them in the past. This is true for every country. They demand equality, they fight for it, and they are getting it - but then they also get a lot of special laws to protect them. I don't really see this as equal - more like swinging the pendulum the other way.

      I'm all for equality. I don't think you should discriminate against someone because of their skin color, beliefs, sexual orientation, any of that stuff really. If you're hiring them for a job the only thing that should matter is their skills, not their skin color or gender or sexual orientation. But, I do think that hiring someone because of their orientation or skin color or giving them any other special treatment after the fact is just as wrong as the initial discrimination. You can't fix discrimination by being more discriminatory.

      • Re:Damn unfortunate (Score:5, Interesting)

        by mjeffers (61490) on Friday March 16, 2012 @03:10PM (#39381299) Homepage

        First, we've already established for a long time that mindset matters. Each of these scenarios is a different crime with different sentencing guidelines

        1) Driving a car drunk with your spouse in it and getting into a crash where they die
        2) Walking in on your spouse cheating on you and killing them in the heat of the moment
        3) Meticulously planning how to kill your spouse over the course of several months

        In each case we have the same result (due to your actions, your spouse is dead) but we already recognize that your mindset (drunk, angry in the heat of the moment, systematically planning someone else's death) matters.

        Second, hate crimes are added on to other charges because hate crimes are actually a seperate crime. If you were driving drunk with a black friend in the car and crashed it's different than if you went and lynched someone. In the second case, you not only wanted to hurt the person directly involved but you wanted to send a message of intimidation to people like them.

        In this particular case, I think the jury did the right thing by rejecting the hate crime charges. It seems as it Ravi was dumb, insensitve and certainly invasive of his roomates privacy but it doesn't seem like this was a crime intended to intimidate the community.

        • by serano (544693) * on Friday March 16, 2012 @03:58PM (#39381983)
          Hate crime laws exist to address the fact that certain attacks are a type of terrorism that affect an entire community. If a man kills his wife, that is horrible, but it doesn't cause everyone other wife to have reasonable fear that they will likewise be attacked. If a random guy walking down the street in a gay neighborhood is gaybashed, that pointedly does strike terror in an entire community. It deserves an additional deterrent.
        • Second, hate crimes are added on to other charges because hate crimes are actually a seperate crime. If you were driving drunk with a black friend in the car and crashed it's different than if you went and lynched someone. In the second case, you not only wanted to hurt the person directly involved but you wanted to send a message of intimidation to people like them.

          DING DING! We have a winner!

          This is the entire point of having "hate crime" legislation. It has nothing to do with victim of the crime, it has to do with the message he's to sending to other gays (who are, we can all agree, a historically shat-on group)

        • by Solandri (704621)

          Second, hate crimes are added on to other charges because hate crimes are actually a seperate crime. If you were driving drunk with a black friend in the car and crashed it's different than if you went and lynched someone. In the second case, you not only wanted to hurt the person directly involved but you wanted to send a message of intimidation to people like them.

          You're conflating pre-meditation with hate. The drunk driving case doesn't involve intent to kill your black friend in the car. The comparis

      • by girlintraining (1395911) on Friday March 16, 2012 @03:13PM (#39381357)

        I think the entire concept of a "hate crime" is wrong. Isn't stuff like this already covered by "making threats" and "intimidation"?

        Yes, it is. But when someone makes a threat based on certain characteristics of a person, such as race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, or ethnicity, they are disgracing the very foundation of this country, as well as any country that would consider itself a democracy: Namely, that all people equal under the law. But that equality doesn't start with the law, rather it is the product of a deeply-held cultural belief, which the law reflects and follows from. Democracy is, at its very core, about creating great people, who can then do great deeds for its own citizens: All the great scientists, engineers, poets, writers, politicians, are a product of this cultural belief. If a person is not able to rise to a point where they reach their full potential, that harms the whole. Within that context, hate crime legislation is specifically a response to the behavior of others which is overtly limiting and damaging to this most central of beliefs.

        I'm all for equality. I don't think you should discriminate against someone because of their skin color, beliefs, sexual orientation, any of that stuff really.

        But you're a man of words, and not of deeds. You stop short of giving your belief any teeth, any hope of implimentation. What you are saying is "discrimination is wrong, but if you do it, you shouldn't be treated any worse for having done so." There is another school of thought: That is, for people who are predatory, people who discriminate overtly and sufficiently to break the law, more severe punishment is called for because they are not as easily deterred as someone who lacks a strong motivation, or had a momentary lapse of judgement.

        you're hiring them for a job the only thing that should matter is their skills

        Except that nobody hires based only on skills. That's a myth, an illusion -- most people hire other people based on their likeability, which is exactly how it sounds: How much like you the person being interviewed is. That, right there, is the loci of discrimination: a person is either like you, or unlike you. A person like you will naturally receive more favors from you. The law steps in here and says: This is not what makes for a great society. A great society must rise above petty differences.

        You can't fix discrimination by being more discriminatory.

        Neither can you fix it by ignoring the problem, or not recognizing that people who are motivated to commit crimes on the basis of minority attributes are far more likely to continue to commit similar crimes against those possessing said attributes than a person who exhibits the same behavior, but is not motivated by hatred. A man who hits someone while drunk at a bar might only do that once in his life. A man who hits someone at a bar because he's wearing a skirt is far, far more likely to do it again.

      • by Translation Error (1176675) on Friday March 16, 2012 @03:42PM (#39381779)
        The concept of hate crimes is that the offense is greater than an attack on an individual--that the act was intended to be a threat against an entire class of people. For example, lynchings during the Civil Rights Movement were committed to terrorize people who spoke out (or were considering speaking out) against the status quo. Similarly, vandalism of churches/temples are messages to all the followers of a faith.

        The laws aren't designed to be harsher because the poor minority members have already suffered so much and need to be compensated. The laws are harsh because in addition to the actual assault, the offender is attempting to terrorize a large number of people, resulting in additional penalties.

        Obviously, every offense against members of groups who are often targeted isn't done for such reasons, and it's the job of the legal system to determine when bias charges should be applied, but some acts really are greater offenses than violence against the direct victim.
    • Re:Damn unfortunate (Score:4, Interesting)

      by crgrace (220738) on Friday March 16, 2012 @02:47PM (#39380949)

      True, he didn't do anything worse than what you would see on the American Pie movies.

      But, the fact remains he is guilty of the crimes. It's like those kids you steal stop signs and street signs. Lot's of kids in my area used to do that. But only once that I know of did someone die because they didn't stop. Now the kids have involuntary manslaughter convictions and that is appropriate, even though probably dozens of kids did the same thing without being caught.

      My point is his actions certainly contributed strongly to the suicide. He did the crime. True, there are a lot of jerks in dorms all over the country, but they are lucky enough to not have people kill themselves over their actions.

      Lastly, even if you consider spying on someone having sex and displaying for others on a computer to be equivalent to assault, keep in mind he was also convicted of witness tampering and felony intimidation.

      • My point is his actions certainly contributed strongly to the suicide.

        And the actions of his mother did not? And the actions of all the other people whom we don't even know but who certainly exist, in a world populated with homophobes to a certain degree? Yet none of these are being prosecuted. Why?

      • by epyT-R (613989)

        why stop there? why not make their parents liable? and the corporations that built the vehicles they used to steal the signs..and.. the manslaughter convictions are NOT appropriate. they are guilty of stealing signs. idiot drivers who were not paying attention are guilty of the results of that. if you rely solely on signs instead of the road/cars around you for safety, you probably shouldn't be on the road yourself. when you come to unsigned intersections, do you just drive on through without looking? real

      • by glodime (1015179)

        My point is his actions certainly contributed strongly to the suicide.

        He was not found guilty of contributing to the suicide of Mr. Clementi.

    • by mcmonkey (96054) on Friday March 16, 2012 @02:53PM (#39381027) Homepage

      It's damn unfortunate for everyone involved. But even worse, Ravi is also going to have his life ruined by a man who decided to end his own. What Ravi did was punch in the nose wrong - not 10 years in prison and deportation. Heck, the stupid stuff we did on our floor in college was just as bad or worse. I'm sure 99% of every man who went to college in the dorms can say the same.

      No, Ravi's life was ruined by Ravi (if at all).

      Do I think criminal charges would have been filed if his roommate didn't kill himself? No. But does that mean Ravi is a victim of the roommate's actions? Heck no. If he doesn't realize there are other people in the world who might react to his actions, then he should be locked up.

      If he was robbing a bank when a guard pulled a gun, he couldn't shoot the guard and claim self defense. He broke the law and as a result someone is dead. Is it murder? I don't think so. Even man slaughter? That's the jury's job to decide. But to say Ravi had nothing to do with the situation he is in is insane.

      I infer from the rejection of the plea deal that this guy still doesn't understand what he did wrong.

      As for his life being ruined, I doubt this was front page news in India. He has a better chance of finding a job there anyway.

      • Re:Damn unfortunate (Score:5, Informative)

        by khallow (566160) on Friday March 16, 2012 @03:13PM (#39381349)

        If he was robbing a bank when a guard pulled a gun, he couldn't shoot the guard and claim self defense. He broke the law and as a result someone is dead. Is it murder?

        In the case of the robbery, this would be first degree murder. As I understand it, a number of states also consider deaths caused in pursuance of a crime to be "aggravating circumstances" and could subject the person in question to a death sentence. This is very different from the current crime, but I imagine the jury and judge might have treated the suicide as an aggravating circumstance, say with respect to sentencing.

        Moving on, I am concerned that Ravi was tried on various "hate crime" related charges. There really isn't a place for these in a democratic society. The social or physical characteristics of the victim shouldn't matter for the most part.

        • Moving on, I am concerned that Ravi was tried on various "hate crime" related charges. There really isn't a place for these in a democratic society. The social or physical characteristics of the victim shouldn't matter for the most part.

          Tell that to the African-Americans who marched to abolish "separate but equal" and were subsequently beaten, terrorized and lynched in droves....

    • by wickerprints (1094741) on Friday March 16, 2012 @02:56PM (#39381065)

      Sure, because as we all know, Tyler Clementi obviously used his gay powers of mind control to subconsciously (a) instruct Ravi to modify his computer to auto-accept remote requests to activate his webcam, (b) point the webcam at Clementi's bed, (c) brag about the experience to his friends over twitter, (d) then try to delete incriminating texts and tweets. Wow those suicidal gays sure are sneaky!!!!

      Ravi's life wasn't ruined by Clementi or his suicide. Ravi has himself, and only himself, to blame. You seem to have missed out on a crucial aspect of the chain of causality. Short of spelling it out in crayon for you, the unassailable fact remains that Ravi engaged in a pattern of behavior resulting in the charges he was convicted of.

    • by roeguard (1113267) on Friday March 16, 2012 @02:58PM (#39381101)

      I initially felt sort of bad for Ravi, for the same reasons everyone else has stated.

      Then I read that he had been offered a plea that would have avoided all jail time and probably avoided any deportation issues. And he turned it down. So he has admitted all the particulars of the "cyber-bullying", but refuses to accept a slap on the wrist and instead decides to take the fight all the way to a jury verdict? Sounds to me like he really thought he hadn't done anything wrong at all -- completely justified in actions.

      You have to be some sort of serious bigot to think what Ravi did was completely okay, and so if he thinks himself so justified to deny any wrong doing at all then I have no problem with him rotting in a cell for (up to) 10 years and then being expelled from the country.

      • by stdarg (456557)

        Just wanted to add, I read this in a New York Times article [nytimes.com]:

        Mr. Ravi had rejected plea deals, because prosecutors would have required him to admit to bias intimidation. His lawyers said he simply did not believe he had committed a hate crime. They argued that he was “a kid” with little experience of homosexuality who had stumbled into a situation that scared him.

        So it's not that he refused to accept a slap on the wrist, it's that he refused to have a hate crime on his permanent criminal record. Even if there was no prison sentence, that's a pretty serious thing to have to talk about on your future job interviews, if you really believe you didn't commit a hate crime.

    • Re:Damn unfortunate (Score:4, Interesting)

      by girlintraining (1395911) on Friday March 16, 2012 @02:59PM (#39381123)

      But even worse, Ravi is also going to have his life ruined by a man who decided to end his own.

      No, there is no "even worse". Someone is dead, and it isn't him. There are precious few situations in life in which surviving is a worse fate than dying: Getting deported, or spending 10 years in jail, is not on the short list.

      What Ravi did was punch in the nose wrong - not 10 years in prison and deportation.

      A jury of 12 people disagrees with your assessment. This wasn't some judge with an attitude problem: This was a law passed by elected representatives, in an open and accessible public forum, with ample opportunity for public discourse. It has been affirmed countless times by a majority -- and now has been affirmed unanimously by 12 randomly-selected people from that community. You are welcome to your opinion but as a matter of law, there is little doubt as to his guilt. That said, my opinion is that you are short-sighted and bigoted, and have probably done (or thought of doing) things like this because of your own homophobia. For someone like you, a verdict like this must be pretty scary.

      Heck, the stupid stuff we did on our floor in college was just as bad or worse. I'm sure 99% of every man who went to college in the dorms can say the same.

      And for the 1% of every man, would that be his sense of civic responsibility? The stupid stuff most people do is not motivated by a hatred or bias based on sexual orientation, race, or other immutable attributes of a person... as a rule, the stupid things people do in college comes down to matters of romance, and matters involving alcohol and a desire for peer acceptance.

      I'm appalled by your casual disregard for the seriousness of this person's crime: It was clearly motivated by a desire to embarass his victim, was clearly done because of the victim's sexual orientation, and in fact rises to the standard of malicious intent because he recorded it with the intention of making it public.

      I, for one, see no reason to invite more people into this country to practice hate crimes when we already have a full load of loonies and people trying to screw up our civil liberties as it is: If you're immigrating to another country, you don't do anything that could get you in trouble with the law. You have to be a model citizen, better even than the people you want to live with, at least until you get your papers. Maybe that's unfair, but that's the way it is, and if this guy gets deported it'll be (at the very, very least) because he was weapons-grade stupid. And that is nobody's fault but his own.

      • by glodime (1015179)

        But even worse, Ravi is also going to have his life ruined by a man who decided to end his own.

        No, there is no "even worse". Someone is dead, and it isn't him. There are precious few situations in life in which surviving is a worse fate than dying: Getting deported, or spending 10 years in jail, is not on the short list.

        He was found not guilty of contributing to the suicide of Mr. Clementi.

    • by greg_barton (5551) <greg_barton@nosPAM.yahoo.com> on Friday March 16, 2012 @03:02PM (#39381173) Homepage Journal

      I know. It's a shame we don't have the freedom in our society to harass people to death. Really. A damn shame.

    • I have a very hard time feeling sorry for Ravi.

      Not only is he guilty of what he was accused of doing, he rejected the plea offer that would have spared him jail time and deportation (the same deal that the girl in the case took). He had his chance to admit what he did was wrong and atone, but he flat out rejected that and decided to take his chances.

      Now, he can think about the consequences of his actions while sitting in jail and in India once he is deported.

    • by snowgirl (978879)

      Please check out the Eggshell skull rule [wikipedia.org], it holds that once you commit to performing a criminal act, you are responsible for all damages as a result of that act, even if the results are exaggerated beyond all expectations.

      Namely, pushing someone over is a relatively benign assault, and unlikely to cause serious injury. But wait! The victim has an eggshell skull, and thus his brains splatter all over the pavement, and he's dead on impact. Congratulations, you're charged with 2nd degree murder!

      So, no, it's n

  • I'll bet he would have done the same thing if his roomie had been straight and brought back a chick.
    I really doubt the gay roomie was singled out for his orientation.
  • Mindcrimes (Score:4, Insightful)

    by XxtraLarGe (551297) on Friday March 16, 2012 @02:40PM (#39380863) Journal
    I think what Ravi did was wrong, and had tragic consequences, but I have a problem with the term "hate crimes," and giving certain segments of society special protections over other segments of society. There should be other crimes that he could be charged with (invasion of privacy laws, etc.), but to charge someone having a particular belief system is wrong. I don't have a problem with considering intent when it comes to sentencing, but it seems entirely improper to consider it as a crime in and of itself.
    • Re:Mindcrimes (Score:5, Informative)

      by crgrace (220738) on Friday March 16, 2012 @02:54PM (#39381031)

      The theory of "Hate Crime" was introduced to combat people with a shared belief system looking the other way. It was very hard to fight the KKK during the 20s because so much of the local police forces were members. The feds needed new tools to take them down.

      Certain segments of society have special protections over other segments of society because, historically, certain segments of society have special animosity coupled with power over other segments of society.

    • Re:Mindcrimes (Score:5, Insightful)

      by bws111 (1216812) on Friday March 16, 2012 @03:04PM (#39381211)

      Hate crimes do not "give certain segments .. special protection". They protect everyone from crimes committed against them because of their race, color, gender, sexual orientation, etc. There is no 'special protection' for blacks, or women, or gays, or anyone else you think is getting special protection. Everyone has a race, color, gender, etc.

    • by chrb (1083577)

      to charge someone having a particular belief system is wrong

      Hate crimes don't prosecute people for having a particular belief system - they prosecute people for having committed crimes that were motivated by a particular belief system.

      It's similar to terrorism. If you blow up a room full of people, then they are all dead whichever way you charge the perpetrator. But do you charge with 50 counts of murder, or terrorism plus murder? You could, as you say, ignore the "terrorism" and just use murder charges and consider the motivation during sentencing, but the legal

  • by elrous0 (869638) * on Friday March 16, 2012 @02:40PM (#39380865)

    Yeah, he definitely was guilty of invasion of privacy and most certainly was an asshole of extraordinary magnitude. But am I the only one kind of creeped out by the idea that something as vague as "bias intimidation" can get you ten years in prison? I mean, what the hell even *is* that?

    • by bws111 (1216812) on Friday March 16, 2012 @03:14PM (#39381359)

      Bias intimidation is intimitading a group of people based on your bias. He didn't just post the video (which would just be an invasion of privacy), he posted text saying in effect 'look at these digusting people, gays deserve ridicule'. That is bias intimidation. The same thing is true of burning a cross in a black's front yard, or painting swastikas on synagogues. Those are not just simple acts of arson and vandalism, they are intended to send a message to all blacks and Jews that they better watch out. That is intimidation.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Sebastopol (189276)

      "Targeting someone for a crime specifically because they are different than you" is a good place to start trying to understand. Its a new concept. America has a long history of segregation and punishing "different" people, so it makes sense that our culture largely doesn't get the "hate crime" concept yet. And I agree that with all laws there are fuzzy areas (hence: juries and appeals).

      Unfortunately a lot of people clearly understand hate crimes, they just get butt-hurt because they are guilty of them, a

  • by ndykman (659315) on Friday March 16, 2012 @02:56PM (#39381071)

    Firstly, he can be sentenced up to ten years. Sentencing hasn't occurred yet. In fact, the article notes the time spent will likely be less because of the nature of his background and lack of criminal history.

    Also, he was offered a plea deal that included no prison time. By, rejecting this deal, he decided to take his case to the jury and accepted the chance of a harsher sentence if found guilty on the charges.

    As for the motivated by bias factor that made him guilty of a hate crime, certainly, these laws are controversial and this case may lead to their re-examination.

    But, it is the law of the state he was in, he was found guilty of violating it. If the jury thought he violated the law, then good for them for putting aside their personal objections to it and doing what is required of them.

    If you don't like these kinds of laws, you lobby to change it. Via the courts or legislation. Maybe this case will be a basis for challenging the law in this state, for example.

    All in all, this seems very simple. Don't spy on people. Don't violate their privacy. There are consequences for such actions, and those may be legal in nature.

  • by DarthVain (724186) on Friday March 16, 2012 @04:03PM (#39382075)

    The guy should count his lucky stars. Not to be harsh, but if the gay guy in question was so distraught about the whole situation that he killed himself, it likely isn't such a far jump to move the victim from oneself to that of the jerk at the root of it all. He should feel very lucky that that guy didn't have murder in him, as it might been the gay roommate on trial, and the other jerk just dead.

    Hell, if some asshole made me feel so horrible that I felt that killing myself was the only option, I'd make damn well sure that person was coming with me.

    So I guess the moral of the story I am trying to get at, is be nice to one another and be respectful, as their may be repercussions for your actions. The "be very careful" bit, is that those repercussions will be dependent on the individual which may very wildly from person to person.

    Sort of makes me think of the movie "Billy Madison" where he calls to apologize after many years to a kid he picked on and bullied. Who played by Steve Buscemi crosses his name off his "People to Kill" list.

    Can't we all just learn from Billy Madison?

     

  • by seebs (15766) on Friday March 16, 2012 @05:34PM (#39383377) Homepage

    I dislike the concept of hate crimes laws.

    But I dislike a lot of things, and one thing that hanging around with gay and trans people has taught me is: We appear to need these laws, in that in their absence, people get away with a lot of crap.

    Here's the thing. Someone said this was "punch in the nose" wrong behavior. Well, think of what happens if people decide that punching people like you in the nose is okay, or possibly morally obligatory. So it's not that some guy punches you in the nose once; it's that everywhere you go, about 10% of the time when you walk into a public place, someone punches you in the nose.

    The cumulative effect is wildly different from what you'd expect if you just looked at the severity of a single offense and multiplied by the number of times it happens. It turns out that there is a big difference between "sometimes people are a jerk to you, it happens, you deal", and "people are systematically and consistently a jerk to you and anyone like you no matter what you personally have or haven't done."

    I really don't see a problem with this outcome. You bully a lot of people, especially people that you know to already be subject to excessive harassment, and sometimes things go very wrong. Solution: Don't bully people, and especially don't bully people you know to be members of groups that are systematically bullied by lots of other people. If you do, you take the risk that the bullying will go horribly wrong and people will blame you for it. Possibly because, if you hadn't done it, that wouldn't have happened.

    Basically, what the comments here do is illustrate, to me, why hate crime laws are a necessary thing; because the world is full of people who, never having been the subject of systematic harassment, are quick to dismiss it as no big deal and think it's funny when it happens to people they look down on. So we do need a way to clarify that, yes, this really is a big deal, and really is a problem. Congratulations! The reason we need hate crime laws is that a significant number people, some of them slashdot commenters, have not yet reached the level of empathic response to other peoples' circumstances that we would typically expect from an autistic teenager.

    (... And I know, because I was an autistic teenager, and I was a little better than what I'm seeing here. Not much better, though.)

  • by mkraft (200694) on Friday March 16, 2012 @05:51PM (#39383619)

    If you look at the actual breakdown of the charges [nj.com] Ravi was convicted of, you'll notice that he was acquitted of all the bias intimidation sub-charges that he knowingly intimidated Clementi. The one that he was convicted of, which caused the bias intimidation guilty verdict was that "under circumstances that caused Tyler Clementi to be intimidated, and considering the manner in which the offense was committed, Clementi reasonably believed that he was selected to be the target of the offense because of sexual orientation".

    So basically he was convicted not because Ravi had any bias when committing the act, but but because Clementi believed that the act was committed out of bias.

    That's a very scary verdict because it basically states that it doesn't matter whether or not you have any real bias when committing a crime. You can still be convicted of bias intimidation if the victim believes you are biased. In other words, it's not what you believe, it's what someone else things you believe.

    With that precedent, you can use bias intimidation charges to charge and convict preachers for preaching against homosexuality in churches or comics for making "inappropriate" jokes in comedy houses.

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