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Ex-Rutgers Student Reports to Jail in Webcam Spying Case

Thursday, May 31, 2012

The former Rutgers University student convicted of using a webcam to spy on and intimidate his gay roommate has reported to the county jail where he will spend the next 30-days.

Dressed in a T-shirt and khakis, Dharun Ravi arrived at the sheriff's department in New Brunswick, N.J., shortly after 12:30 p.m. to be fingerprinted and photographed before being driven to the county jail to serve his 30-day sentence. He is expected to be housed at the Middlesex County Adult Correction Center, as WNYC reported:

He will first have a medical and mental exam, de rigueur for incoming inmates, according to the Star-Ledger.

Ravi will then be assigned a room. It’s possible he will be held in a maximum security cell to protect him from the rest of the population, the paper reported. This would place him in a two-person, 15-by-10-foot cell.

The jail is blue-green concrete walls and floors with metal-framed bunk beds in a room with a view of razor-wire rimmed chain-linked fences, the Ledger reports.

Ravi will be served breakfast at 5:15 a.m., lunch at 11:30 a.m. and dinner at 5 p.m. Lights out is at 9 p.m., the paper reported.

Ravi arrived at the sheriff's office with his father and his two attorneys who hugged him before exiting.

It's not clear whether he will serve the sentence or not. In most cases, New Jersey county jail inmates with 30-day sentences automatically have them reduced by 10 days for good behavior.

Dharun Ravi appeared in court in New Brunswick on Wednesday to formalize his decision to waive his right to remain free, as prosecutors continue with their appeal of the sentencing decision.  Ravi has waived his protection from double jeopardy – in essence he will not be allowed to argue that he has served his time if prosecutors are successful in the appeal and Ravi is sentenced to a longer prison term.

Prosecutors seek a five-year prison term for Ravi.

Judge Glenn Berman defended his 30-day sentence on Wednesday, saying a longer term would have been an injustice. “I can't find it in me to remand him to state prison that houses those found guilty of murder and robbery and rape. I don't believe that fits this case. I believe he has to be punished and he will be,” the judge said.

Berman said he wanted to explain further the sentence he handed down largely because it's being appealed by prosecutors, who say it's too lenient, and he wanted to provide appellate judges for a clear rationale for his decision.

The Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office said the sentence was “insufficient,” after the sentencing hearing on May 21.

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."

Meanwhile, Ravi’s attorney, Joseph Benedict, is still planning on appealing the conviction altogether.

Benedict said Ravi would also begin working on his 300 hours of community service and start paying the more than $11,000 in fines and assessments that are part of his punishment.

Ravi offered his first apology for his actions in the case on Tuesday.

"I accept responsibility for and regret my thoughtless, insensitive, immature, stupid and childish choices that I made on Sept. 19, 2010, and Sept. 21, 2010," Ravi said in a statement through his lawyer. "My behavior and actions, which at no time were motivated by hate, bigotry, prejudice or desire to hurt, humiliate or embarrass anyone, were nonetheless the wrong choices and decisions. I apologize to everyone affected by those choices."

But Clementi's family said the apology was "no apology at all" and instead a "public relations piece."

Joseph and Jane Clementi say Ravi had a chance to express remorse during sentencing but instead issued a press release days later.

The Clementis also say they are troubled by the judge's decision not to impose jail time for the bias crimes for which Ravi was convicted.

With the Associated Press

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