Nancy Solomon, Managing Editor, New Jersey Public Radio
Nancy Solomon is the Managing Editor of New Jersey Public Radio.
Both the defense and the prosecution are unhappy with the sentence given to Dharun Ravi in the Rutgers webcam spying case.
Dharun Ravi was convicted of invasion of privacy and a hate crime for using a webcam to spy on his gay roommate. On Monday, he was sentenced to serve a 30-day jail term as part of a probationary sentence.
The Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office says the 30-day sentence is "insufficient" and plans on appealing the sentence.
Middlesex County Prosecutor Bruce Kaplan said his office didn't request the maximum length of incarceration — 10 years — but "it was expected that his conviction on multiple offenses of invading the privacy of two victims on two separate occasions, four counts of bias intimidation against Tyler Clementi, and the cover-up of those crimes, would warrant more than a 30-day jail term."
Supreme Court Judge Glenn Berman called Ravi's behavior "cold, calculated and methodically conceived." He said he did not believe Ravi hated roommate Tyler Clementi, but believed he acted "out of colossal insensitivity."
“I haven’t heard you apologize once,” Berman told Ravi, who made no statement as he faced a decade or more in jail.
In handing down the sentence, Berman quoted an email from Clementi himself describing Ravi’s actions as “wildly inappropriate.”
At the same time, Berman pointed out that Ravi was not charged in Clementi's suicide. He also said Ravi has spent 20 months in "exile" since his arrest. And he suggested "hate crime" is a misnomer for what Ravi was convicted of: "I do not believe he hated Tyler Clementi."
The judge said he would recommend Ravi not be deported to India, where he was born and remains a citizen. Deportation is still a possibility, but a sentence of a year or more would have been more likely to trigger it.
Ravi will not have to report to jail while both sides plan to appeal the 30-day sentence. He will begin his sentence on May 31. He will also serve three years probation, complete 300 hours of community service and attend a counseling program.
Ravi only showed emotion when his mother broke down sobbing after she pleaded for leniency in her son's sentencing.
"Dharun's dreams are shattered and he has been living in hell for the past 20 months," she said through tears, recounting how he has lost more than 20 pounds from an already-thin frame and how he only finds comfort with his little brother and his dog.
After the sentencing, Ravi, his family and his lawyers left court without comment. He is expected to appeal his conviction.
The father of Tyler Clementi told a judge Monday that Ravi deserves punishment.
Clementi, choking up, said Ravi saw his son as not deserving basic human decency that he saw him as below him because he was gay.
He says Ravi "still does not get it" and has no remorse. He said Ravi engaged in "cold-hearted" deception. Clementi's brother, James, also took the stand.
"I cannot imagine the level of disdain and rejection he felt from his peers," he said.
The tear-filled sentencing touched on many of the issues that made the case heart-wrenching and legally complicated: anti-gay bullying, teen suicide, hate-crime laws in the fast-changing Internet age, and the uses and abuses of technology in the hands of young people.
With the Associated Press