Crime, Gay, New Jersey, Sentencing Law

Dharun Ravi Sentenced

Today is the sentencing hearing for Dharun Ravi in the Tyler Clementi case. Ravi has been convicted of invasion of privacy and bias intimidation.

Prosecutors in the case have been asking Superior Court Judge Glenn Berman to sentence Ravi to prison time. And of course there are a bunch of other people who want Ravi to pay the stiffest possible penalty.

I’ve been listening to the hearing all day. Let’s take a look at what happened…

Various UPDATES have been added after the jump. Refresh this post for the latest.

The morning was all about the statements from the families. The victim statement from M.B., the person Ravi taped with Tyler Clementi, was read by M.B.’s lawyer. It was interesting. M.B.’s letter said that Ravi rejected accepting responsibility for his actions and that Ravi should serve “some type of confinement,” so he can think about what he’s done. But Ravi doesn’t deserve to be deported, in M.B.’s view.

The statements from Clementi’s family were somewhat predictable. Clementi’s father, mother, and brother all spoke. And they all urged a stiff penalty that would serve as a deterrent. The family members also talked about how Ravi’s refusal to take a plea bargain, like his co-defendant Molly Wei did, was a sign of his lack of remorse. Instead of accepting responsibility, Ravi decided to put the family through the pain of a trial.

Ravi’s defense attorneys tried to emphasize that the only reason they’re there is because Clementi committed suicide.

Judge Berman was not moved. He said that he’s never heard Ravi say that he was sorry. He said that while Ravi might expunge the record from the trial, “you cannot expunge the conduct and the pain you caused.”

Berman said that he will recommend that Ravi not be deported. He said that was because of M.B.’s request in his letter to the judge.

In weighing the aggravating and mitigating factors, Judge Berman noted as follows: “This individual was not convicted of a hate crime, he was convicted of a bias crime, and there’s a difference.”

And then he gave his sentence: a 30-day jail term. Dharun Ravi has been sentenced to 30 days in jail. “Allowing you to simply return home with no custodial sentence… would deprecate the integrity of the verdict.”

UPDATE (12:40 PM): Judge Berman sentenced him to 30 days for a number of counts, but sentenced the time to run concurrently, so the total sentence is 30 days.

UPDATE (12:48 PM): Plus three years of probation, 300 hours of community service, participation in a counseling program related to cyberbullying and alternative lifestyles, and a $10,000 donation to a group that helps victims of bias crimes.

UPDATE (12:51 PM): Judge Berman: “I make no comment with regards to any civil liability.”

UPDATE (12:55 PM): Both the prosecution and the defense plan to appeal. Ravi must report to serve his sentence on May 31st.

Earlier: BREAKING: Verdict in the Dharun Ravi Case

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