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Dharun Ravi Sentenced

Dharun Ravi with his defense team at the courthouse on May 21, 2012. Image source: http://media.nj.com/star-ledger/photo/2012/05/11055522-standard.jpg

According to NJ.com, Dharun Ravi, an Indian citizen living in New Jersey was sentenced to 30 days in jail starting May 31, 2012 by the Middlesex county courthouse in the NJ vs Dharun Ravi case.

Judge Glenn Berman in his statement pointed out that he hasn’t heard Dharun Ravi apologize. “I heard this jury say guilty 288 times: 24 questions, 12 jurors, that’s the multiplication,” Berman said. “And I haven’t heard you apologize once.” Berman also added “Down the road you can expunge this judgement, You cannot expunge the conduct or the pain you caused.”

The Judge said he will recommend that Ravi not be deported.

Ravi will have a three year probation sentence. He will also have to complete 300 hours of community services, and attend a counseling program relative to cyber bullying and alternate lifestyles. He will also have to pay $10,000 to the probation department. The sum will be allotted to a facility dedicated to victims of bias crimes.

Both sides will appeal, the lawyers said today.

On March 16, Dharun Ravi was convicted on all 15 counts against him, including counts of bias intimidation and invasion of privacy in the Rutgers webcam spying trial involving his roommate Tyler Clementi, an 18-year-old freshman.

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  1. Just 30 days? wow…. And no deportation? so his prayers were answered huh… But nevertheless.. hopefully this will be a warning.

    In a way tyler’s suicide was not entirely this loser’s fault. Maybe parents will learn tolerance and acceptance now.. Sigh! But honestly wish the punishment was more severe. But oh well.

  2. I got to watch these proceedings online, from the point where Tyler’s mother made her victim impact statement.

    The prosecutor, who then made her closing statement, seemed to go overboard with her wild and emotionally based remarks, passionately entreating the judge to lock away Dharun for a long, long time; she repeated herself in her long speech; she demonised Dharun as some kind of evil creature bent on destroying Tyler and who had acted with deep malice aforethought. She probably ended up weakening her own case, as Dharun’s father, during his subsequent talk, brought up the issue of how the media had viciously and relentlessly demonised his son.

    While a lot of gay people might want to side with the prosecutor’s approach, to me it resembled the approach of our own so-called legal experts like Malhotra and Sharan during the hearings on Article 377, who also engaged in irresponsible and immature demonising of the gay community through wild and emotionally based accusations and falsehoods. It seemed winning at any cost was all that mattered in both these situations. This approach is a double-edged sword.

    I thought Judge Berman presented a very good reasoning for his sentencing. His pronouncements were dispassionate, and brought to mind the statement attributed to Aristotle: “The law is reason free from passion”.

    The judge, in imposing the “short” jail term, took into account the fact that Dharun had already spent two years in some kind of hellish limbo in exile at home. The matter is of course not settled yet, as both sides intend to appeal; who knows, Dharun could still end up doing a longer stretch in jail.

    It seems to me that Dharun could hardly have been the cause for Tyler’s suicide. Dharun never mattered as a person to Tyler, right from the day they first met.

    Think about it. Whether we feel hurt or angry at someone’s words or actions usually depends on how much we care about that person and their opinions. When someone that we consider unimportant in our life does something wrong to us, it makes us angry and annoyed rather than depressed and hurt. It is only the actions of someone we care about that is hurtful or depressing. A waiter that we don’t know delays our order and makes us wait pointlessly: that makes us angry. A close friend doesn’t turn up for an appointment and makes us wait pointlessly: that makes us feel hurt, even depressed.

    Tyler would have felt deeply hurt and betrayed at his mother’s rejection. She mattered to him. Her acceptance mattered to him. Dharun didn’t matter in the least to Tyler; Tyler made that clear from Day 1 by displaying total indifference to Dharun. To Tyler, Dharun was invisible–a zero, a nobody–until he managed to turn into a pesky irritant, like a persistent fly that keeps flitting around noisily and just doesn’t go away. Dharun wasn’t suicide-inducing material. Tyler wouldn’t throw away his life for a nobody like Dharun whose existence he barely acknowledged. However, it might have crossed his mind, even as he was jumping off the bridge, that Dharun deserved some punishment for having been such an obnoxious little git.

    I’m sure Tyler’s mother would have been regretting her own negative reaction to her son’s confession. Her sense of guilt was probably driving her anger against Dharun, something which she displayed strongly during her statement.

    I’m not trying to say that Tyler’s mother drove him to suicide. No. It’s just that her rejection compounded his other personal problems and depression, strengthening his belief that there was no point in continuing with his life. I can see shades of the movie “Prayers for Bobby” here.

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