Molly Wei

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.

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Let's hope nobody you make fun of ever decides to kill themselves. Otherwise you might end up like Ravi.

* So, your colleague or family member dies, suddenly, after allegedly being worked into the ground. But it’s my blog post about it that “turned the sad situation into a nightmare”? I think instead of lamenting for a fluff piece in a local paper, the media geniuses at Dinsmore should respond to a legitimate press inquiry. [West Virginia Record]

* The Dharun Ravi trial is under way. I’ll be calling it the Ravi trial, not the Tyler Clementi trial. Because Tyler Clementi is the kid that tragically killed himself, while Dharun Ravi is the very much alive person who has already had his life ruined even thought he didn’t kill anybody. [Metropolis]

* Are law firms finally starting to make money off of their investments in social media? [Legal Blog Watch]

* HoLove is getting a Brazilian. [Legal Week]

* Mmm… Section 230. [Paid Content.org]

* Does pot make you less productive, or does lack of productivity make you smoke pot? Or, man, have you ever thought that, like, maybe the pot was smoking you, or something? [What About Clients?]

* If you go to the second hour of this show, at about the 33-minute mark, you’ll hear me start to absolutely lose my mind over the Supreme Court’s decision to grant cert in Fisher. [WBEZ]

Tyler Clementi and Dharun Ravi

As we mentioned in Friday’s Non-Sequiturs, the legal team of Dharun Ravi has moved to dismiss the criminal charges against Ravi stemming from the suicide of Tyler Clementi. As many of you know, Clementi committed suicide after Ravi streamed video of Clementi hooking up with another guy.

Lawyers to Dharun Ravi discovered comments from Clementi suggesting that Clementi was concerned about his parents’ reaction to his sexual orientation. Other Clementi messages are getting more headlines. According to New York Magazine, Clementi “also made jokes about Ravi’s family, calling them ‘sooo indian / first gen americanish…his rents defs owna dunkin [donuts].’ In other words, typical teen asshole gossip, on both sides.”

Typical is how I’ve been describing Ravi’s behavior from the very beginning. I didn’t need the system digging into the past of a suicide victim to determine whether his roommate “caused” him to take his own life.

But this is what many people wanted. So now that we’re here, I’m wondering if people are happy….

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Tyler Clementi and Dharun Ravi: both said politically incorrect things.

* The Kardashians may be “America’s rightful overlords,” as Marin so memorably put it, but even they must respect intellectual-property laws. [Fashionista]

* Congratulations to the Best LGBT Lawyers Under 40 (class of 2011). Perhaps you know some of the inductees? [National LGBT Bar Association]

* In less cheerful LGBT news… another day, another Republican politician allegedly trolling the internet for paid male companionship. Stay classy, Phil Hinkle. [Indianapolis Star]

* Tyler Clementi joked about Dharun Ravi’s parents owning a Dunkin’ Donuts shop. [New York Magazine]

Must lobster salad contain lobster?

* So just who is behind Inside the Law School Scam? Con Daily got an interview with LawProf, and breaks down a list of schools where LawProf may be employed. [Constitutional Daily]

* The SEC is sniffing around S&P; Matt Levine explains why. [Dealbreaker]

* When it comes to taking “reasonable” steps to prevent disclosure of privileged materials, perfection is not required, according to Magistrate Judge Paul W. Grimm. [Catalyst E-Discovery Search Blog (Bob Ambrogi)]

* A popular grocery store on the Upper West Side thought that it could get away with mislabeling its lobster salad. Not so fast… where’s Kash when you need her? [New York Times]

Molly Wei, the pretty ex-Rutgers student who was charged with two counts of invasion of privacy in the Tyler Clementi case, has reached a deal with the prosecution. Wei, 19, has been admitted to a pre-trial intervention program that could result in the charges against her being dismissed.

What does Wei have to do as part of the PTI program?

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Tyler Clementi (left) and Dharun Ravi (right)

They really threw the book at this kid.

Last September, Rutgers freshman Tyler Clementi jumped off of the George Washington Bridge after his roommate, Dharun Ravi, surreptitiously recorded and then broadcast footage of Clementi hooking up in his room with another man.

Clementi’s death touched off an important national conversation about the bullying of gay teens and the need to reach out to them so they don’t feel so isolated. If anything good can come from Clementi’s suicide, it will be to make people commit to helping gays and lesbians as they struggle through adolescence and young adulthood in sometimes hostile communities.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t appear Tyler Clementi will be the only martyr for this cause. No, there are some people hellbent on making sure that another young life is effectively ruined, and some of those people work for the state of New Jersey.

Charges flowed out of the grand jury today for Clementi’s roommate and “tormentor,” Ravi. Based on the allegations in the indictment, you’d think Ravi had been running for the Republican nomination for President instead of acting like an 18-year-old college freshman…

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Tyler Clementi

I’m pretty sure we all saw this coming. The parents of Tyler Clementi — the Rutgers freshman who killed himself after his roommate taped and broadcast Tyler’s gay hook-up — have declared their intent preserved their right to sue the university. The Clementis suggest that the university failed to protect their son, articulating various tort claims against the school and even a breach of contract claim (Rutgers broke its agreement with Clementi by not preventing what happened to him). Damages are unspecified, but Clementi’s family is claiming pain and suffering, as well as loss of companionship.

(UPDATE: As Kash noted over at Forbes, the Clementi family just issued a statement “clarifying that they have not yet decided whether they will sue, but filed notice with the university today to preserve their right to sue in the future.” Hence the edit in the preceding paragraph.)

A lawsuit by the Clementis should surprise no one. Rutgers has much deeper pockets than Dharun Ravi, the roommate who used a webcam to broadcast Clementi’s affair, or Molly Wei, the girl who was in the room while Ravi messed with his roommate. Ravi and Wei have already been charged with invasion of privacy, and prosecutors are still trying to figure out if they can bootstrap hate crime charges against Ravi and Wei. But when it came to the civil lawsuits, this was always going to come down to the parents versus Rutgers.

Because when your kid jumps off a bridge, there just has to be somebody to blame….

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Molly Wei

* Professor Larry Lessig’s review of The Social Network. [New Republic]

* Dahlia Lithwick’s review of the big new Brennan biography, by Seth Stern and Stephen Wermiel. [New York Times]

* Molly Wei, one of the two Rutgers students involved in the Tyler Clementi case, feels “attack[ed]” — but she’s hanging in there. [Celebitchy]

* Reports of a hunter’s death may have been greatly exaggerated, but they don’t entitle him to a defamation award. [Courthouse News]

* “Thinking of a Career in Law? Hahaha!” (Or: the U.K. legal market sounds a whole lot like ours.) [Charon QC]

* Can a lawyer use publicly available information on Facebook in a pending case without friending the person? [Adjunct Law Prof Blog]

* Vanderbilt law professor and leading class-action scholar Richard Nagareda, R.I.P. [TortsProf Blog]

Tyler Clementi

* I’ve already shared my incisive thoughts on this matter via Twitter, but I think my “street-level hyperbole” about Judge Joseph Williams has its own charm. [Simple Justice]

* Forget about bedbugs. The real question is: Have you douchebag-proofed your office? [TechnoLawyer]

* Somebody get John Locke on the phone, because law schools have broken the social contract. And trust me, you want this call going to Locke. Don’t make me fire up the Leviathan-signal and get Hobbes on your ass. [Law Librarian Blog]

* Alan Hevesi pleaded guilty. One corrupt New York politician down, only a few hundred more to go. [WSJ Law Blog]

* Prosecutors have subpoenaed emails from Rutgers about how they handled the Tyler Clementi situation. If prosecutors can’t hang the dastardly duo of Dharun Ravi and Molly Wei, you better believe they’ll be coming after the school — hard. [Newark Star-Ledger]

* Kash already has some thoughts about what Rutgers should have been doing. [Forbes]

* The United Kingdom has created a Legal Ombudsman. Like having law as an undergraduate degree, this kind of efficiency will probably never make its way across the pond. [ABA Journal]

Molly Wei didn't stop her friend for using her computer; now she could end up in jail.

Prosecutors looking into Tyler Clementi suicide indicated yesterday that they might not be able to charge Dharun Ravi and Molly Wei with a hate crime. Middlesex County Prosecutor Bruce Kaplan told the Newark Star-Ledger that his office was trying to see if they could charge Ravi and Wei with a second degree bias crime, but so far they don’t have enough evidence to support such a charge.

Right now, Ravi and Wei are charged with invasion of privacy, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in jail.

Given that some people have pushed for prosecution that goes all the way up to homicide charges, the possibility that Ravi and Wei won’t be charged with a hate crime (or burned at the stake, or whatever the hell will satisfy people’s revenge impulse) will disappoint many — perhaps including prosecutor Kaplan, who said: “Sometimes the laws don’t always adequately address the situation. That may come to pass here.”

And sometimes the public’s outrage completely outstrips the actual crime committed. I’ve already shared my thoughts about Dharun Ravi’s crime. Now let’s take a closer look at Molly Wei — a girl who, as far as we know, is guilty of letting a high school buddy use her computer…

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