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Rutger's Student Dharun Ravi Sentenced To 30-Day Jail Time 683

parallel_prankster writes "New York Times reports that a judge in New Jersey has sentenced Dharun Ravi to 30 days in jail Monday for using a webcam to spy on his Rutgers University roommate having sex with a man, in a case that galvanized concern about suicide among gay teenagers but also prompted debate about the use of laws against hate crimes. The case drew wide attention because his roommate, Tyler Clementi, jumped to his death from the George Washington Bridge in September 2010, a few days after learning of the spying. A jury convicted Mr. Ravi in March of all 15 counts against him, which included invasion of privacy and bias intimidation. The relatively light sentence — he faced up to 10 years in prison — surprised many who were watching the hearing, as it came after the judge spent several minutes criticizing Mr. Ravi's behavior."
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Rutger's Student Dharun Ravi Sentenced To 30-Day Jail Time

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 21, 2012 @05:21PM (#40069753)
    That would be a civil case brought by the family of the victim, not part of the criminal trial.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 21, 2012 @05:23PM (#40069771)

    Because wrongful death is a civil matter. The roommate's family is well within their rights to try and sue him for wrongful death. They might even win.

    But, yeah, for something to be criminal, you have to be grossly negligent and directly cause the death, or be doing something with the direct purpose of causing a death.

  • by guises ( 2423402 ) on Monday May 21, 2012 @05:30PM (#40069887)
    I'm also surprised, but apparently the judge saw it in more or less the same light - what he did was not deserving of the kind of harsh sentence that the prosecutors were asking for.

    On the other hand, thirty days in jail is not the whole sentence. From the article:

    In addition to jail, Judge Berman sentenced Mr. Ravi to three years’ probation, 300 hours of community service, counseling about cyberbullying and alternate lifestyles, and a $10,000 probation fee, to be used to help victims of bias crimes.

    I'd make some remark about how I feel about the appropriateness of the sentence, but I don't know squat about anyone involved here. I'll presume that the judge, who was much better informed than I, knew what he was doing.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 21, 2012 @05:33PM (#40069915)

    I think "a little worse" was meant to be sarcastic. It's a lot worse.

  • by Jeng ( 926980 ) on Monday May 21, 2012 @05:33PM (#40069919)

    Here is a more complete listing of it's legality in different countries. []

    In the US it used to be illegal in many states, but not so much anymore.

  • by Animats ( 122034 ) on Monday May 21, 2012 @05:55PM (#40070185) Homepage

    Prior to 2003, he would have been reporting a crime in Alabama, Florida, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, or Virginia.

  • by MightyMartian ( 840721 ) on Monday May 21, 2012 @06:19PM (#40070443) Journal

    Hate crimes were invented during the civil rights era, both out of recognition that certain kinds of crimes were very much intended as attacks against whole communities and, at least so far as Federal legislation goes, to give Federal authorities some ability to prosecute such crimes where state authorities were frequently much less willing to pursue such criminals.

  • by Aglassis ( 10161 ) on Monday May 21, 2012 @06:34PM (#40070621)

    Of course lawyers on both sides are unhappy, one side wanting exoneration, the other wanting public human sacrifice.

    No. The prosecution offered a plea deal of no jail time and recommending against deportation that was rejected by Dharun Ravi because he refused to accept guilt.

  • by LocalH ( 28506 ) on Monday May 21, 2012 @06:45PM (#40070727) Homepage

    I read the entire article you linked to, and he did far more than what you write. He was a bigot and he tried to cover up what he did to Clementi, only because of Clementi's homosexuality.

    The bastard should have gotten more jail time than he did. Bigotry should be unacceptable in this day and time, and things are slowly changing, but when someone does what Ravi did, [b]they deserve to pay[/b]. He may not have been directly responsible for Clementi's death, but he sure pushed him much closer towards the edge.

    If he had "turned on his webcam, saw his roommate kissing [a girl], turned it off", do you think things would have happened the way they did? Do you think Clementi would be dead today?

  • by GodfatherofSoul ( 174979 ) on Monday May 21, 2012 @07:32PM (#40071119)

    Hate crimes have a very real distinction. They're intended to intimidate a subset of your community, that's why they're elevated. If that doesn't make sense to you, consider that we have at least 4 standards for the fundamentally same crime of taking a life; accidental death(?), manslaughter, 2nd degree murder, and 1st degree murder.

    And, contrary to popular belief, a hate crime doesn't mean killing a minority. It's a very difficult legal bar to reach.

  • by chrb ( 1083577 ) on Monday May 21, 2012 @07:39PM (#40071189)

    Both are just wrong, but the first one is more so because it carries social prejudice along with it.

    Indeed, but it's worth remembering that there are plenty of places in the world where the social stigma of being filmed having heterosexual sex would likely lead one of the partners to suicide.

    Antiguan Girl Attempts Suicide After Sex Tape Leak []

    Yang Qi Han Attempts Suicide For Sex Video []

    Officer videoed having sex on duty attempt suicide []

  • by artor3 ( 1344997 ) on Monday May 21, 2012 @10:12PM (#40072197)

    Maybe the person was really lynching the guy wearing flip flops, who just happened to be black!

    That's a pretty lame example, but sure, in some fantasy world in which people lynch people for wearing flip flops, then yes, that would be a hate crime. No one should have to live in fear of wearing certain footwear. If someone grabs you in the parking lot and starts stomping the shit out of you while screaming about your bad fashion sense, that person is committing a hate crime.

    Should a completely secular serial killer be let off easy, simply because "hey, at least he/she didn't target a specific group"?

    They're not being let off easy, they're just not getting an additional penalty heaped on top. It's just like there's an extra penalty for using a handgun in the commission of a felony. If someone commits murder with a knife, you don't say they're getting off easy.

    Do the police not protect black people? Do the courts refuse to take on cases against black people?

    They do, and hate crime laws are a part of that protection. And guess what, hate crime laws protect white, straight men as well! You'd never know it, getting your world view exclusively from Rupert Murdoch, but people do get charged with hate crimes for targeting white people. I recall a case around Seattle a few years back where some guy got beat up, burned with cigarettes, and left in an alley by a couple of black guys who were calling him a cracker and all that. They got charged with a hate crime. So drop the "white men are the most victimized group" crap. Rush just says all that to stroke your ego.

  • by euroq ( 1818100 ) on Tuesday May 22, 2012 @04:18AM (#40074085)

    +1. "Hate crime" is a very media-tinged description of the law. The actual laws are not based on the "emotion" of hate at all - they are called "bias intimidation". They are meant to address the crimes that are meant to intimidate a large group of people through a smaller crime. The classic example is a burning cross in a yard - a crime which is similar to TP-ing (toilet papering) a person's yard in terms of property damage, but has implications and damage to a community well beyond the personal property damage of the victim.

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