Dharum Ravi Sentenced to 30 Days

Via Dan Savage, the NYTimes reports:

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. — A judge here sentenced Dharun Ravi to 30 days in jail on 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…

“You lied to your roommate who placed his trust in you without any conditions, and you violated it,” the judge, Glenn Berman of State Superior Court, said. “I haven’t heard you apologize once.”

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.

Prosecutors appeared angry — they and the Clementi family canceled a planned post-sentencing news conference — and said they would appeal…

Mr. Ravi, who is a legal resident of the United States but a citizen of India, could face deportation, but the judge said he would add a letter to the record encouraging the immigration authorities not to deport him.

Mr. Ravi had rejected three offers for a plea bargain that called for no jail time but a long period of community service, along with sensitivity training. That sentence resembled what many of those rallying to his defense were calling for. But the plea would have required him to admit to hate crimes, and his lawyers said he refused to say he had acted out of bigotry.

Savage, who is on the record as believing that ten years and deportation would have been too harsh, says “a 30 day sentence is far, far too lenient—a slap on the wrist.”

I agree with Savage. Truthfully, I’m not sure deportation wouldn’t have been the “best” solution, but that may be just that I’m expecting the Wingnut Welfare Wurlitzer to offer Ravi a highly-paid national speaking tour of college campuses timed to coincide with this year’s campus get-out-the-vote efforts. Oh, well, at least his novelty value may nudge James O’Keefe and Project Inveritas a little bit further out of the limelight…

92 replies
  1. 1
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    The thing in this case is, Ravi took all sorts of actions attempting to conceal his activity.

    He was acting very guilty about SOMETHING.

  2. 2
    sb says:

    This unapologetic cyber-bully caused the death of another human being. To call 30-days a slap on the wrist is an understatement. Hell, the judges language was harsher than the sentence. Much harsher, I might add.

  3. 3
    WereBear says:

    If he truly hadn’t meant any harm, then once he saw he had, he could have mitigated the damage with remorse and other positive actions.

    But it seems he didn’t do that. At all.

  4. 4
    Ben Franklin says:

    If it wasn’t bigotry, what was it? An Impish prank?

    His community service should center on bully counseling, as a recipient

  5. 5
    Suffern ACE says:

    You will not hear from him again. Honestly, what’s he going to say? Who’s going to want to hear someone talk about Broadcasting sex acts without permission? There isn’t really much support for that.

  6. 6

    Sounds like the sort of thing Romney would have done had there been an Internet and/or webcams in the 1960’s.

  7. 7
    Steve in DC says:


    That doesn’t matter much. Not meaning to do any harm doesn’t mean you have to care if harm happens. It’s called not giving a shit. And the majority of people truly do not give a shit about other people. That’s the society we live in.

    I’m not sure why people wanted jail time out of this. It’s not like the criminal justice system produces better people. The criminal justice system hardens people and makes them more violent criminals. It serves no good outside of a cheap sense of revenge by forcing people into a rape and assault factory. Community service done right and properly targeted does far more than jail time. I’m not shocked that Savage wants his pound of flesh, he’s always been a sadistic asshole, but it sure as hell isn’t going to solve anything.

  8. 8
    Ben Franklin says:

    How did Obama lose one of the most iron-clad Romney fuck-ups, Bain.

    Now THIS crap

    Booker and Ford had better step up to the plate and EACH hit a GRAND SLAM!


  9. 9
    Heliopause says:

    The question is, what have the sentences in this jurisdiction been for individuals who have done similar things and had Ravi’s general profile?

  10. 10
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Steve in DC:

    I’m not sure why people wanted jail time out of this.

    Pretty much for the same reason I want the deserting coward and Darth Cheney to die in dank, unlighted cells.

    Because it will remind others that some actions have severe negative consequences.

  11. 11
    Steve in DC says:

    @Ben Franklin

    Stupidity probably. Like it or not broadcasting sex acts online is very common and a bit of a joke with people.

  12. 12
    Ben Franklin says:

    WTF was THAT moderated?


  13. 13
    Ben Franklin says:



  14. 14
    Persia says:

    The judge doesn’t have any control over deportation, apparently, that’s all up to INS. He might well get deported after his sentence is served. No idea how probation might affect that.

    I felt better about the sentence once I read the whole article and realized he also mandated “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.” That seems more effective than jail time anyway.

  15. 15
    Steve in DC says:

    @Villago Delenda Est

    Except that punishment doesn’t really work as a deterant, and never really has. What you’re saying is just as moronic as the right wingers screaming that the death penalty is the only thing that prevents people from mudering people. It never really passed the smell test.

    You also certainly won’t solve anything. At best you’ll get a pissed off human with a grudge. At worst you’ll have a victim of rape and assault with a PHD at causing havok and no real job prospects. People like you should have to live with cons and see how much you favor state sanctioned revenge against people when they explode after they are released and go on a rampage.

  16. 16
    Persia says:

    @Steve in DC: You do know American Pie was a movie and not real…right?

  17. 17
    sparrow says:

    Sentence seems reasonable to me, especially the community service part. Ravi acted like an asshole, and without empathy, but I am not convinced he caused Tyler’s death. (Tyler had asked his mom to drive him around to “visit” bridges in the area before all the stuff in question happened). Our brains don’t fully develop (especially social reasoning, judgement) until mid-20s supposedly. I remember doing things that were not nice at all to other teens, and then having the guilt come crushing down on me when I realized that I really hurt someone’s feelings (when I said something just to look cool, without thinking about the effects). Granted this case is a far bit worse than insulting someone, but I think 10 years in jail would be a travesty. The kids life is already mostly ruined, I don’t think doing serious time would make him a better person.

  18. 18
    Walker says:

    There is an additional punishment. He was expelled, and all but the most right wing US universities will deny him admission in the future.

    Is that enough? No comment.

  19. 19
    jrg says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: This was a kid who did something very, very stupid. No amount of “making an example” will disincentivize stupid behavior from other kids, who are and will always be kids… If it did, no college student would ever drive drunk.

  20. 20
    Ash says:

    I still don’t understand why he would deserve jail. Sure, he’s a terrible human being, but he did not kill anyone. It’s not like other cyberbullying that goes on for months or years and involves taunts and telling people flat out to kill themselves like has happened before.

  21. 21
    JPL says:

    Hopefully, Ravi will be deported. For the judge to use his position to orate how bad Ravi was to do this and how the Clementi’s will never find closure and then say, btw don’t deport him and let’s give him thirty days in jail and counseling was beyond disbelief. Did the judge go to school at Cranbrook with Mitt?

  22. 22
    Spaghetti Lee says:

    I don’t know what to make of this case. If the act was done out of deliberate homophobic intent, expecting that Clementi would be harassed and maybe even hoping that Clementi would kill himself, then 30 days is probably too light. If it was just a dumb prank, the punishment seems appropriate. The difference between the two can be hard to define, I admit.

    I also think that judging someone’s emotional reactions to determine how guilty they are is…suspect, at best? But in a case like this, emotional intent kind of can’t be avoided.

  23. 23
    Steve in DC says:


    I know several people that web cam’d all sorts of stupid shit while in college. It’s as much part of the experience now as drinking. Hell most club owners I know have cameras in the VIP areas now.

    Like it or not the entire world is one big camera. Every person with a cell phone will film you the first chance they get and toss that shit up on youtube.

    Crying about it won’t stop it, that’s the world we live in. The joker that jumped wasn’t the first and certainly won’t be the last to be filmed. We all are, every day.

    This isn’t the first “dude was filmed and then killed himself” incident either. Those funny viral youtube videos, yeah, often destroyed someones life.

    Call me jaded but this is a giant yawn. Everyone is recording you, you can’t trust anyone. So take precautions against it.

  24. 24
    Walker says:

    What visa is Ravi here on? If it is a student visa, then his expulsion will work into a defacto self-deportation.

  25. 25
    Elias says:

    @Walker: Time to go to Liberty University! They’ll probably give this kid a full ride, what with his standing up for family values.

  26. 26
    Steve in DC says:


    Because cheep sadists get off on using the state to carry out violent revenge that they themselves don’t have the balls to do on their own.

  27. 27
    jon says:

    I’m not happy with anything about this case. Not long ago, just saying someone had gay sex could have “made” someone kill himself. This isn’t too different from that, aside from the technology involved.

    This whole “throw the book at him” stuff is about revenge, not justice. Was the sentence just? I can’t say I like it, as I think doing what he did warrants some serious time. What happened as a result of his actions wasn’t expected. He didn’t “make” the young man kill himself, as it was a world of assholes who did that. This guy made it easier for that world of assholes to hate that young man, but I can’t call him a murderer even if he is responsible for the death. But responsible doesn’t mean he’s fully culpable, does it?

    He tried to hide what he did, but who wouldn’t? He fucking felt like he would get (not wrongly) blamed for what happened! I don’t think his actions afterward matter as much as what he did to cause (to whatever extent) the death. (And he got charged with that stuff, too.) Being a reprehensible human being is worthy of punishment. But I want that punishment to match his actions, not just the results. The fact that I’m dissatisfied with the sentence while unsure of what is correct mostly makes me damn glad I’m not a judge.

  28. 28
    KXB says:

    So, in a case where the prosecution could not establish a pattern of homophobia, where there was no “webcast” of sexual activity, where they had to refer to Ravi’s actions as contributing to a mental state that led Clementi to commit suicide, without mentioning the suicide, and where there is a text record of Ravi apologizing to Clementi, while he was preparing to kill himself – this is considered a “victory”? No – what it is, is a case of prosecutors trying to use the brown kid with a funny name who was not born in America as an example in a redball case. In no other case has one person been found legally liable in the suicide of another. It has not happened before, and you will likely not see it happen again.

    Was Ravi an ass to Clementi? Yup, and Clementi tossed some pretty ugly slurs at Ravi as well. Ravi also destroyed evidence and tampered with a witness. For all of that, prosecutors had a strong case for his guilt. But “bias intimidation”? Is that even a thing?

  29. 29
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Steve in DC:

    If it has no deterrent effect, then why do we bother?

  30. 30
    gex says:

    @Ash: I imagine there are a number of wiretap/Internet/Patriot Act laws he violated, all of which can involve jail time even factoring out the suicide.

    We can argue about his sentence. No matter how harsh his sentence could have been or actually is, it is way better than the sentence his roommate got when he was paired up with this asshole.

  31. 31
    Steve in DC says:

    @Villago Delenda Est

    Because people are sadists and would rather inflict pain on others than solve problems. They are also cowards and would rather the state do it than put their own skin on the line. It’s also a massive money making scheme for several others.

    That’s all it is, cowards who lack the balls to take action on their own having others do it for them.

    Don’t act like the criminal “justice” system is anything other than cheap labor and a way to inflict pain on people.

  32. 32
    Villago Delenda Est says:


    The stupid thing was the webcam episode.

    Then again, there’s the destruction of evidence and the witness tampering. That’s not just stupid. It’s criminal.

  33. 33
    gex says:

    @Spaghetti Lee: Ravi spent a lot of time covering up his tracks, and yes, he was anti-gay prior to the event. What he deleted from his computer and various web sites, we’ll never know. But somehow I think it was probably not going to reflect on Ravi very well.

  34. 34
    gwangung says:

    He tried to hide what he did, but who wouldn’t?

    Yeah? And they should still get jail time for that. Most idiots trying to destroy evidence would get more than 30 days.

  35. 35
    Spaghetti Lee says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    I can’t speak for Steve, but I personally think criminal punishment should ideally work for the rehabilitation of the prisoner, not the satisfaction of the onlooking crowd. And I do think you’re getting a bit bloodthirsty here. “Die in a dank unlighted cell,” really?

  36. 36
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    What? Not even an “I don’t recall the incident myself but I’ve seen the reports and I’m not going to argue with that. There’s no question that I did some stupid things in college, and obviously if I hurt anyone by virtue of that, I would be very sorry for it and apologize for it.” non-apology Mittapology?

  37. 37
    JPL says:

    @KXB: Ravi was here on a student visa. Well now that no longer seems to be the case and he needs to go home. He was a mean, vindictive, cruel individual and hopefully when he returns home, his parents get him counseling. I certainly don’t want my tax money supporting him.

  38. 38
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Spaghetti Lee:

    “Die in a dank unlighted cell,”

    That’s reserved for the two war criminals I mentioned in my post. Who are responsible for the death and maiming of hundreds of thousands.

    I don’t think 30 days is quite enough for Ravi, but the dank cells are a bit much for what he did.

  39. 39
    Steve in DC says:


    No, not really. And that’s the kicker of it all. Expectation of privacy applies to the government, not to private citizens. You can’t sue people that record you doing something stupid on their iphone, if that was the case youtube wouldn’t exist.

    You’d have to violate other laws for things to matter. But there is nothing illegal about recording everything and anything in public or on your own private property.

    Expectation of privacy went out the fucking window the second every persons phone turned into a video camera and every computer into a video monitoring system.

    Most of this shit lands in civil court where you sue people for damages. But you landing on candid camera fucking in the VIP room or puking in the middle of the street isn’t wire tapping.

    Now you could run into those charges if you hacked into someone elses phone or computer to record them, and you’d be in a world of shit. But doing it with your own gear, civil matter at best.

  40. 40
    Spaghetti Lee says:

    I guess what makes me nervous is that I think legal punishment needs to stay in the realm of the provable, or else you just get into trouble. Realistically speaking, can it be proven exactly who or what drove Clementi to kill himself? The default culprit is Ravi, who took the video, but what if the video had gone ignored, and Clementi didn’t kill himself? Then all of a sudden Ravi’s not being tried, even though he did nothing different. I just don’t think trying these sorts of things as high-profile criminal cases will turn out well. Of course, in my opinion, people learning that not everything in human existence needs to be filmed and slapped on YouTube for the whole world to see would be the best solution of all.

  41. 41
    Steve in DC says:

    @Spaghetti Lee

    That’s pretty much my view. We should try to fix the basic issues and treat people humanely. Locking them in a cage in buildings where they will probably get raped and beaten, ruining their lives forever by not hiring them when they get released, treating them like animals, all for a corporate buck doesn’t solve anything. People who are put through the penal system tend to turn into far more violent and active criminals then they were before. That’s not solving anything.

    Other nations get this correct. But the US criminal justice system is more savage than serveral third world nations. Till that’s fixed I can’t honestly say that putting people through it only to have them come out the other side far more violent and screwed up is a good idea.

    Unless you know, you want to hurt people but lack the stones to do it yourself. Which makes you a sadist and a coward.

  42. 42
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Steve in DC:

    But there is nothing illegal about recording everything and anything in public or on your own private property.

    Yeah, if women don’t want upskirt photos that were taken while they were walking down the street minding their own business showing up on the internet, they shouldn’t wear skirts in public. Problem solved.

  43. 43
    Amanda in the South Bay says:

    I normally don’t appreciate contrarian bullshit, and as an LGBT person I’m acutely sensitive to this sorta thing, but I can see why exacting harsh penalties can be counterproductive, rehabilitation vs punishment and all that stuff.

    Honestly, my own opinion is that harsh sentences for hate crimes are sorta counterproductive to rehabilitation, since the prison system is in no way set up for that. That being said, i think his behaviour has been pretty reprehensible regardless of any hate crimes issues. There has to be a balance between punishment and rehabilitation.

    Its tough-he most certainly deserves some punishment, trying to figure out what is the hard part. And yes, figuring out a way to deport him/denying him a college education will be…a decent punishment, IMHO.

  44. 44
    BethanyAnne says:

    @Persia: Thanks, that’s very useful. And it makes me feel, too, like the full sentence was appropriate.

  45. 45
    Steve in DC says:

    Spaghetti Lee

    Which is why most of the cases land in civil court. Star Wars Kid? Yeah his life was ruined and his family had to move, he still couldn’t get away from it. His life is ruined. So it was a civil suit and the extracted damages.

    That’s how this sort of stuff is normally handled. However because a homosexual was killed, we have to have our pound of flesh and blood out of this. Revenge must be had! Special execptions must be made.

    This was stupidity that ballooned way out of control. But what happened is no more unusual than the milliones of videos of college girls fucking and acting stupid that are uploaded daily and nobody so much as bats an eyeball.

    Did you do something embarassing? Congrats it’s on someones iphone.

  46. 46
    PeakVT says:

    The sentence seems light given the effort to cover up by Ravi.

  47. 47
    Villago Delenda Est says:


    That’s my position. It seems light given the lengths he went to.

    Ideally, if he were actually repentant about what happened, he would have come forward, confessed his role, and demonstrated his remorse.

    But he chose to go the other direction.

  48. 48
    Steve in DC says:


    That’s not really criminal though. You have no right to privacy from private citizens in public places. You also don’t have a right to privacy in someone elses residence. There are millions of pictures and videos of naked or half naked women uploaded to all sorts of gag websites. Mostly of college age kids while drunk.

    It’s a civil matter, not a criminal one. It’s only criminal when you hack someones photographs out of their own phone, which has happened before.

    The internet age has just made this all more ugly.

    Heck upskirt photos and blogs are a cultural thing in several places.

  49. 49
    Ben Franklin says:

    @Steve in DC:

    I hear you. It’s not something those who don’t have the transgendered emotional conflicts, can understand. It’s a special case because of that. For those not burdened with the additional challenges of growing up, it seems overreach.

  50. 50
    Amanda in the South Bay says:

    @Steve in DC:
    Jesus stop saying stupid shit. You have a grain of truth in your posts, but then go into some sorta pretentious 20 something grizzled tough guy schtick that is annoying.

  51. 51
    Steve in DC says:

    I’m not in my 20s

  52. 52
    Steve in DC says:

    I’m not in my 20s

  53. 53
    Keith G says:

    30 days for a nonviolent (and non drug))offense by a first timer in not a slap on the wrist. 30 days for an upper status kid in an urban county jail will be quite a learning experience in humility.

    This stupid kid is not getting off easy.

    That said….I want his a-hole mother to do time too.

  54. 54
    Ben Franklin says:

    @Amanda in the South Bay:

    He has a legitimate point. Let’s not degrade to villager gas-lights for illumination.

  55. 55
    jlow says:

    I thought a felony conviction was automatic deportation these days. Isn’t that why they toss Hispanics with DUI’s?

  56. 56
    Steve in DC says:

    @Keith G

    Why are you in favor of jail for non violent offenses? One of the biggest indicators that someone will commit a violent offense is that we have locked them up. We turn countless non violent offenders into violent offenders by forcing them through the criminal justice system. This isn’t a good thing.

    There are more productive ways to do this. Have him do public service work on why not everything in your life needs to be recorded and put on the web. Have him do community service work with bullied teens and LGBT people. Have him work at a shelter.

    This kid isn’t a danger to anybody. He’s not a violent offender. He’s stupid and insensitive which sums up just about everybody in their early 20s.

    IMHO jail should be more about rehabilitation and strictly reserved for violent offenders. Locking up non violent offenders only to have the emerge violent offenders is pretty damn stupid but it’s the way our system works.

  57. 57
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Steve in DC:

    The crime was destroying evidence and tampering with witnesses.

    The intertubes and gay aspect of this is obscuring the actual crime.

    Sort of like Mark Sanford’s actual crime was abandoning his post as Governor with no instructions to his staff. The fact that he did it to fly to Argentina to be with his mistress is irrelevant. It would have been as much a crime if he did just go hiking on the Appalachian Trail.

  58. 58
    Keith G says:


    You two have good summations. Ravi and his mom are creeps. That is not punishable under our legal system. Ravi’s actions are detestable but are a minor matter as treated by law.

    The civil process may better provide the deterrent effect that some are looking for.

  59. 59
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    The intertubes and gay aspect of this is obscuring the actual crime.

    I SHOULD have said “obscuring the actual crime for which he was prosecuted”.

    The one that could be proven.

    Obviously, there are other issues aside from destruction of evidence and witness tampering, just as with Al Capone, he was nabbed on what could be proven, not on his more nefarious actions.

  60. 60
    jon says:

    @Amanda in the South Bay: I worry about the need to overprosecute that too-often leads to acquittals and such. I remember the Rodney King trial, where the accusation was of civil rights violations that required the prosecution to prove intent. If there was a prosecution for beating the living crap out of some guy well beyond anything reasonable even for police officers who had no idea they were being videotaped, there would have been more punishment. Of course, going for assault would have been a travesty of justice. (Yes, I know it was a federal case rather than a state one. And that made a lot of the difference.)

    In this instance, there was a desire to make this foreign kid the scapegoat for the bullying of gays past, present, and future. Maybe he’ll be that to some extent, but the disappointment of the verdict reflects more on that desire than on legal reality.

  61. 61
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Steve in DC:

    This kid isn’t a danger to anybody

    He’s demonstrated the lengths to which he will go to avoid being held responsible for his actions.

    Why this eludes you, I can’t say.

  62. 62
    catpal says:

    Much too lenient. Ravi was convicted of Serious crimes.

    Ravi was found guilty of invasion of privacy, hindering apprehension, witness tampering, and all four of the bias intimidation counts.
    – In regard to the attempted viewing on September 21 and Ravi’s encouragement of his Twitter followers to watch, the jury concluded that Ravi acted with the purpose to intimidate.

    so why was the judge so nice? is the judge a friend of the ravi family? is judge anti-gay? I don’t get it.

    NJ has mandatory 90 days sentence for 3rd shoplifting conviction.

  63. 63
    hitchhiker says:

    @Steve in DC:

    Savage wants his pound of flesh, he’s always been a sadistic asshole

    You actually lost me with that throwaway line, but since you seem to have a very special intensity on this particular issue, I have to question you on another part of your argument.

    Taking videos of drunk college girls having sex may be part of the culture you inhabit (I wouldn’t know; both my kids just finished college and managed not to be in anyone’s home movie of sloppy sex), but it’s emphatically different from staging and capturing video of a gay college student. You don’t seem to think that’s so, but why not?

    Drunken college girls are not usually the subject of venomous disgust; it’s far more likely that they’d be laughed at than spit on or beaten up. One movie is embarrassing. The other one could get you hurt.

  64. 64
    Felanius Kootea says:

    @JPL: Dharun is a US permanent resident on a green card. He has lived most of his life in New Jersey – he wasn’t on a student visa. However, permanent residents can be stripped of their status and deported if they are convicted of a crime. His parents live in New Jersey.

    Edited for clarity.

  65. 65
    salacious crumb says:

    @jon: couldnt agree with you more. The prosecutors wanted to make a scapegoat out of Ravi as a way of perhaps “making up” for past gay related injustices. If there was an Indian Al Sharpton, I do not think prosecutors would be hopping so oh-so-outraged to give this kid 10 years.

    In the New Yorker profile, Tyler was already having issues with coming out and being accepted as a gay person, prior to going to Rutgers. Only Tyler knows he real reason behind his jumping off the bridge.

  66. 66
    Keith G says:

    @Steve in DC: Did you read what I wrote?

    I really did’t take a position on jail time except to say that the sentence was a big deal and not a “slap”. 30 days in an urban county jail is a very serious ordeal for a privileged kid. My comment on mom Ravi was snark based on her self pitying comments in court.

    But since you have pressed me, as far as we can tell Ravi’s actions but only were illegal but amounted an emotional assault that seems to have been a contributing factor in another kid’s suicide.

    Ravi is a self centered punk. He will never change, but 30 days of taking a crap in front of a room full of strangers may inform the need for better self control

  67. 67
    salacious crumb says:

    @Steve in DC: agreed.

  68. 68
    KXB says:


    Taking videos of drunk college girls having sex may be part of the culture you inhabit (I wouldn’t know; both my kids just finished college and managed not to be in anyone’s home movie of sloppy sex), but it’s emphatically different from staging and capturing video of a gay college student. You don’t seem to think that’s so, but why not?

    Again – there was no broadcast of any sexual act. Ravi turned on the webcam, so two guys kissing, not having sex, and turned it off. He then did try to coordinate a spying session, which failed, but the planning of which he was found guilty of invasion of privacy.

    BTW – the word “privacy” appears no where in the constitution. As others pointed out, we have established a body of law that tries to limit how far and in what circumstances the government can invade privacy, but when it is between private individuals, it has been, until Ravi, a matter for civil court, not criminal.

    Given that Clementi faced more ostracism from his own mother than abuse from Ravi, isn’t she liable? The effects of maternal rejection are fairly well established. Wouldn’t Ravi’s family be within their rights to sue her for bad parenting which contributed to her son’s untreated depression, which led to the suicide for which their son was convicted? Makes as much sense as bias intimidation.

  69. 69
    lacp says:

    Has George Tierney Jr. tweeted this yet? The guy in Greenville SC, I mean.

  70. 70
    Keith G says:

    @Steve in DC: So you are postulating that Ravi will emerge from jail and go on to commit violent crime?

  71. 71
    Yutsano says:

    @Keith G: He’ll emerge from jail and go right to a plane to New Delhi. He violated the terms of his visa, and he could fight it in court, but he’ll most likely lose.

  72. 72
    catpal says:

    @jon: “make this foreign kid the scapegoat for the bullying of gays past,”

    you don’t seem to give a crap when people commit serious crimes. why did you even bother to comment such bs.

  73. 73
    Mayken says:

    @jon: Um… dude, the first trial, the one that caused the riots, was in State court and WAS for “beating the lving crap out of some guy well beyond anything reasonable even for police officers who had no idea they were being videotaped.” And the jury acquitted the bastards.
    The SECOND trial, the ones the FEDs had to step in and take up, was the civil rights violations. Of which they were convicted.

  74. 74
    Keith G says:

    @Yutsano: Sounds like a plan.

    But I am curious, will ICE pick this up and run with it? Do they have discretion? Is the trip automatic or subject to further findings and appeal?

  75. 75
    Mayken says:

    @Mayken: Correction: two of the four were convicted on civil rights violations. The other two were acquitted. I’d forgotten about that…

  76. 76
    Yutsano says:

    @Keith G: I know a lawyer there so I’d have to ask her for more clarification, but I also know that one of the conditions of a student visa is that they cannot break the laws of wherever they’re living. So Ravi will get a federal hearing (he still gets the right to one) and the prosecutor lays out his criminal conviction and it’s all over but the shouting.

  77. 77
    hitchhiker says:


    I was responding to comments like these, all from Steve in DC:

    There are millions of pictures and videos of naked or half naked women uploaded to all sorts of gag websites. Mostly of college age kids while drunk.

    However because a homosexual was killed, we have to have our pound of flesh and blood out of this. Revenge must be had! Special execptions must be made.

    But what happened is no more unusual than the milliones of videos of college girls fucking and acting stupid that are uploaded daily and nobody so much as bats an eyeball.

    I know several people that web cam’d all sorts of stupid shit while in college. It’s as much part of the experience now as drinking.

    My question was whether or not he thinks there might be a substantive difference between staging a camera deliberately and secretly to capture gay sex and the millions of videos he’s apparently enjoyed that show “college girls fucking and acting stupid.”

  78. 78
    schrodinger's cat says:

    @Yutsano: He is not here on a student visa. His parents are permanent residents, so is he. He still could be deported though.

    BTW how are you feeling now? Post surgery recovery going well?

  79. 79
    Yutsano says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: Day 5 out, starting to feel a touch itchy back there. I have no idea when the stitches are coming out, but I am seeing the doc on Friday. Drugs make me happy. Also. Too.

  80. 80
    Concerned Citizen says:

    @Ben Franklin: I don’t think he’s lost it. I think Bain is very much in play. It’s a good story that resonates with a lot of people. Most people I know are republican voters, but not teahadists. They don’t like the Bain story.

    (Why do I always spell “a lot” “alot” and get caught by the spell checker? Is that something that changed in the English language, or is it a mental tick?)

  81. 81
    jon says:

    @Mayken: I’m happy I got that wrong, somewhat. Still, I bet the charges (in the state case) were more than the evidence and the fact that the accused were police officers would have been able to prove.

    I’m sure we won’t see assault and stalking and intimidation charges against George Zimmerman, either. It’s going to be Second Degree Murder or something else that won’t be proven to the jury that thinks young black kids only grow up to be old black criminals.

  82. 82
    Craig says:

    This was too lenient. I didn’t want to see a ten year sentence either, but the judge could have said literally everything else he said at sentencing while giving this homophobic asshole a full year behind bars. Driving your roommate to suicide should _hurt_. Thirty days is a scheduling hassle. It’s not remotely enough time for this punk to start thinking that maybe he did something wrong. (Yes! Mommy’s little angel. What a shock.)

  83. 83
    Concerned Citizen says:

    @hitchhiker: It’s telling that he says “However because a homosexual was killed” instead of “committed suicide.” I think it’s pretty much how everyone feels about this case.

    I don’t like jail time for anyone except violent offenders. We lock up far too many people in this country. I would much rather see Ravi do community service for LGBT Charities / Shelters.

  84. 84
    jon says:

    @catpal: I don’t give a crap about serious crimes? Where do you get that? I think he should do more time, but I don’t know how much. That puts me in the “non-crapgiver” column? I’m not sure what the sentence should be, so I don’t care? I do care, but I think there’s just no way to tell with these crimes where the result is so awful that the usual notions of intention and the correct punishment for the actual actions get thrown out of whack. I only see one guy in the comments saying this is just tomfoolery that went a little too far, and it ain’t me.

    I guess this is a bit like those cases where someone doesn’t maintain his car. He is not being safe, putting others in danger, but when his brakes fail and he runs into the schoolbus, it’s not likely he’ll get murder charges. What’s appropriate? I don’t fucking know and it makes me glad I’m not a judge. Should it be more than a drunk driver who ends up in a ditch and damages a fence? Should it be more a doctor who gives the wrong prescription because he was using stimulants to stay awake, resulting in a patient death? I don’t know. All I know is that horrible actions lead somewhat directly to deaths quite often, but while I think 30 days is too lenient I’m hard pressed to come up with numbers of months and years that will be consensus favorites.

    So clearly I don’t give a bucket of burning butt mud about anything, since I’ve broken the Internet Rule of only having Definitive Opinions. Pshaw.

  85. 85
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Steve in DC:

    Heck upskirt photos and blogs are a cultural thing in several places.

    You do realize that those upskirt videos that you enjoy so much are taken without the woman’s knowledge or consent, right?

    Why am I even asking that? That lack of consent is probably half the reason you enjoy them.

  86. 86
    The Moar You Know says:

    Steve in DC, my favorite Republican, showing up to concern troll the thread.

    Wonder why he’s so threatened by this case?

  87. 87
    Ash says:

    @hitchhiker: Half the porn videos in the world are “hidden cam” ones.

  88. 88
    Concerned Citizen says:

    @Craig: Isn’t intent part of the law though? Not trying to troll, just want an honest answer. I think Ravi is an asshole of the 1st degree, but I don’t think his intent was to injure, it was to pump himself up.

  89. 89
    Mayken says:

    @jon: Not quite sure what you are trying to say there. They were charged with excessive use of force and assault with a deadly weapon.
    The venue change that got the defense a largely conservative, white and pro-law-enforcement jury pool is what killed the state’s case, not the evidence.

  90. 90
    mai naem says:

    I saw the ABC interview with Ravi. He didn’t come across like he got it. He just comes across as one of those self centered kids whose parents treat him like he’s Little Lord Fauntleroy. A month is definitely not enough. He probably should have gotten a year or two but at the same time I am not sure it’s going to change him. He’s just got one of those personalities. At the same time, he’s ruined his life. Yeah, I know its not the same thing as committing suicide but this guy is going to be lucky if gets accepted into a community college and that’s assuming they don’t deport him. He’s going to be shunned if they don’t deport him. If they deport him, his family will move back to India and he will have to listen to how he ruined their lives, every freaking day. Yeah, its still not the same as Tyler but still for him, its huuuge.

  91. 91
    Eric says:

    @Steve in DC: The reason this is an exception is because of the context of hate and intolerance in society that gays, “homosexuals,” in your words have to live in. Use your head before using analogies to support your arguments. Taking surreptitious videos of unknowing straight people having sex, however creepy and reprehensible, and posting them online doesn’t have the same “punch” as taking videos of a two gay guys having sex and trying to post them to elicit repulsion and disgust from others to humiliate the individuals involved. It is far worse in this context. In this case, Tyler Clementi didn’t just decide to crawl under a rock, he literally decided to disappear from life. A stupid jerk’s stupid antics causing life altering pain and humiliation. Not the same.

  92. 92
    jon says:

    @Mayken: They were charged with excessive force, not assault. The prosecution went for the technical charge rather than the obvious one (the supervisor was charged with not keeping control of the other officers.) Result: police procedures went on trial, and police procedures were acquitted (with one verdict not reached.)

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