Dharun Ravi Sentenced to 30 Days in Jail
May 21st, 2012
After emotional statements from Tyler Clementi’s parents and surviving brother, Rutgers University freshman Dharun Ravi was sentenced to 30 days in jail and three years’ probation for invasion of privacy, witness tampering, tampering with evidence, and hindering prosecution. According to the New York Times:
Prosecutors appeared visibly angered by the sentence, and said they would appeal. Mr. Ravi’s family, meanwhile, hugged one another; just a few minutes earlier, his mother sobbed through a statement in which she implored the judge to go easy on her son.
Ravi was also sentenced to 300 hours of community service, counseling about cyberbullying and LGBT issues, and a $$11,950 fine which will be donated to astate-sponsored group “dedicated to assisting victims of biased crimes.” Ravi also faces deportation back to India, but the judge said that he would add a letter to Ravi’s record recommending that immigration authorities decline to deport him.
Ravi was expected to address the court before sentencing, but he chose not to do so. Superior Court Judge Glenn Berman addressed Ravi before imposing the sentence:
“I do not believe he hated Tyler Clementi,” Judge Glenn Berman told the court. “He had no reason to, but I do believe he acted out of colossal insensitivity.”
Ravi must report to Middlesex Adult Correctional Center on May 31 at 9 a.m. for his probationary sentence.
“I heard this jury say, ‘guilty’ 288 times–24 questions, 12 jurors. That’s the multiplication,” Berman said. “I haven’t heard you apologize once.”
During statements before sentencing, Clementi’s family asked the judge to impose an unspecified prison term. Joseph Clementi, Tyler’s father, noted that his son had checked Ravi’s Twitter page 37 times before jumping off the George Washington Bridge.He also accused Ravi of “lack of remourse“:
Joseph Clementi said that Ravi decided his son “wasn’t deserving the respect of basic human decency” and “was below him” because Tyler Clementi was gay.
“He did it in a cold calculating manner and then he tried to cover it up,” the father, who had to pause to compose himself, said. Clementi’s mother Jane Clementi cried in the front row has her husband spoke.
He asked for a fair sentence “to serve as an appropriate deterrent,” but didn’t suggest a term.
According to court testimony, Ravi learned that Tyler was gay through internet searches before the school year started. Jane Clementi, Tyler’s mother, recalled that Ravi never bothered to speak with Tyler or his parents when they were moving him into his dorm room:
“He never even paused to acknowledge that Tyler was in the room,” she said. “He never stopped what he was doing, no greeting, no smile, no recognition, no nothing.”
…He never really knew Tyler, not the smart, kind, articulate, humble, funny, talented, caring, thoughtful, generous, trustworthy and dependable person Tyler was,” she said. “All he found out was that Tyler was gay.”
She called Ravi’s actions toward her son “arrogant and mean-spirited.”
Jane Clementi called Ravi’s actions “evil and malicious” and called for justice:
What I want is justice,” Jane Clementi declared before a packed courtroom in New Brunswick. “The court needs to show … this was not right and it was not acceptable behavior and it will not be tolerated.”
Update: Garden State Equality reacts:
Moments ago, Judge Berman decided to sentence Dharun Ravi to 30 days in jail. We have been public in taking a position of balance: We opposed throwing the book at Dharun Ravi. We have spoken out against giving him the maximum sentence of 10 years in jail and against deporting him. That would have been vengeance beyond punishment and beyond sending a message to the rest of society.
But we have similarly rejected the other extreme that Ravi should have gotten no jail time at all, and today’s sentencing is closer to that extreme than the other. This was not merely a childhood prank gone awry. This was not a crime without bias.
Update: Dan Savage reacts:
Ten years and deportation—which the judge could’ve ordered—seemed excessive to me, like overkill and blame-shifting. I was one of the “gay rights advocates” quoted in a NYT piece this morning who expressed misgivings about the severity of the sentence that Ravi faced. But a 30 day sentence is far, fat too lenient—a slap on the wrist.