Dharun Ravi convictions in Tyler Clementi case

UPDATE: Garden State Equality statement.

Among the guilty verdicts returned today against Dharun Ravi, the former Rutgers student and roommate of Tyler Clementi, who jumped off the George Washington Bridge to his death a few days after learning Ravi was spying on his private sexual encounters with another man in the dorm room he shared with Ravi:

GUILTY: Bias intimidation against Tyler Clementi

GUILTY: Invasion of privacy against Tyler Clementi

GUILTY: Invasion of privacy against M.B. (the other man)

GUILTY: Witness tampering

GUILTY: Evidence tampering

Star-Ledger details all counts here. (h/t dennismcgrath)

After 12 hours of deliberation over almost 3 days, the jury and 3 alternates (who did not participate in deliberations) have returned their verdicts. The trial played out over almost two weeks, with more than 30 witnesses, including dorm mates of both Ravi and Clementi, and Molly Wei, who viewed the webcam spying of Tyler Clementi’s private moments in his dorm room along with the “other man” whose identity is still being protected and is known only as M.B.. Ravi was also convicted of invading M.B.’s privacy along with Clementi, as both of them were glimpsed on Ravi’s webcam in moments meant to be private, but viewed in another room in the dorm.

The jury judged Ravi guilty of 23 of the 35 counts against him, fifteen of which are felonies.

The trial stretched over 13 days including opening and closing statements, with more than 30 witnesses and 100 pieces of evidence.

Dharun Ravi may be facing deportation, following these felony convictions, back to India where he was born and is a citizen. He has been living legally in this country since age 3 (he is 20). Any deportation decision would have to be made by a federal immigration judge. Last year, prosecutors offered Ravi a plea bargain that called for no prison time – and help avoiding deportation. He and his legal team decided against this route, preferring to face the charges.  

Comments (13)

  1. denniscmcgrath
  2. johnleesandiego

    It’s time for everyone to exhale, the jury has given his verdict and bullying will not be tolerated. We can all breathe a little easier this afternoon, but not for long. The MPAA still holds fast to its R rating for “Bully” despite the fact that the audience that will most benefit from this film will be denied access to theatres. Today also marks a day in which George Clooney was arrested protesting outside the Sudanese Embassy. Take a deep breath and let’s show the world that we’re from Jersey and we’re not going to put up with that crap.  

    Reply
  3. Blue12345

    While I certainly do not condone Ravi’s actions, I can, speaking as a parent to an older teen, see how this is sad from all angles.  Technology has become so advanced and a lot of young adults don’t think twice about cyber bullying.  While Ravi’s actions were quite wrong, he probably did not realize the gravity of what he was doing at the time of his actions.  He was most likely swept up in the bullying, and did not realize when he had totally crossed the line.  

    I hope this conviction makes others second guess themselves before engaging in any form of cyber bullying.  Just scan a few teenagers’ facebook pages and there is a plethora of bullying, hate speech, etc., going back and forth amongst themselves.  This does need to stop.

    On a side note, does anyone know why Ravi chose not to take the plea deal he had been offered beforehand???  Molly Wei made the smart choice and can continue on with her life – I fear Ravi may have destroyed his, if he is indeed sent to prison for 10 years and sent back to India.  

    Reply
  4. Bill Orr

    This trailblazing case was particularly complex with many interlinking charges and moving parts.  Juror Kashad Leverett in the 3-minute video attached to this article presents the most articulate, clear, and complete explanation I have ever heard from a juror. He delineates how the jurors reached their decision. It’s worth watching.  

    Reply
  5. Bertin Lefkovic

    …who thinks that deportation would be sufficient in this case?  As terrible as the result of Ravi’s actions (Tyler Clementi’s suicide) were, would anybody be clamoring for prison time if Clementi had not attempted to commit suicide or if his suicide attempt was unsuccessful?

    Unless our criminal justice system is going to create a truly correctional facility for criminals like Ravi, I see no societal benefit, aside from the possibility that it could deter similar acts in the future, to sending him to the same correctional facility where the rest of our non-violent and violent criminals are not being rehabilitated.

    Does anyone know if the Clementi family is pursuing any civil action against the Ravi and Wei families?  It is possible that more justice will be served through this process than the criminal process, because in my opinion, the parents of a bully are just as much to blame as the bully himself/herself.

    Reply
  6. toyotabedzrock

    I am a gay democrat but I don’t see justice.

    All I see is a over eager prosecutor who wants to advance his/her career with a elongated list of charges.  

    Reply
  7. Erik Preuss

    Jail time seems absurd for several reasons:

    Yes Ravi acted  like an idiot and a bigot.  However, Ravi did not commit any act of violence against Clementi.  He harassed him and invaded his privacy, but does anyone really think that he would have done what he did if he knew Tyler was going to take his own life?  

    The other reason jail time is absurd is that he was only 18 when he did this. He was a dumb kid, plain and simple.  Sure he was “legally” an adult, but how mature are most 18 year olds? Kids make mistakes, and I’m sure this is one he will regret for the rest of his life.

    I agree with Bertin that deportation is completely appropriate.  However I can think of a better solution to deportation:

    Have Ravi travel the country doing “community service” speaking with other kids about bullying and the fallout.  Someone in Ravi’s position could have a potentially much bigger role in stopping bullying than any law, teacher, or parent will ever have. Kids learn from what they see, his explaining his mindset when he committed these crimes and explaining the fall out I believe could positively affect the younger generation.

    Reply

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