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May 20, 2012

Does six months in prison for Dharun Ravi seem about right in Rutgers webcam case?

The question in the title of this post is prompted by tomorrow's scheduled sentencing for Dharun Ravi, the former Rutgers student convicted of multiple crimes in the high-profile New Jersey webcam spying case.  These local articles highlight all the different perspectives that can be brought to bear:

The top piece above is an editorial making this argument for no prison time for Ravi:

When Dharun Ravi stands before a judge tomorrow, by law he must be sentenced to state prison for his crimes against Tyler Clementi and a visitor. But not, however, in the exceptional circumstance that it “would be a serious injustice.” That clause has been narrowly interpreted by the courts and invoked rarely. It applies only when the injustice of imprisoning someone “overrides the need to deter such conduct in others.”

This is just such a case. Judges must have the ability to do what’s right. And the right thing here is not to send Ravi to state prison, a holding pen for violent and dangerous criminals. What he did was beyond mean — but certainly not monstrous.

The judge should use his power to make that extraordinary call, and instead order probation and community service. If Ravi does get some jail time, he should be released on bail pending appeal. Otherwise, he may end up serving his sentence before his appeal is even heard.

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May 20, 2012 at 12:16 PM | Permalink


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One link is to an article that says him not talking the plea deal shouldn't be a reason to give him a worse sentence. That's nice and all, but that isn't how things work in the real world. Realistically, the best you can say about that is that it's a matter of degree.

He was not just charged for bias offenses but also 'witness and evidence tampering' ... six months though is probably acceptable. The jury had a duty to take the charges and rule on them, but that doesn't mean the prosecution could be seen as misguided. A guilty verdict and actual prison time would send a significant message. A long prison sentence is not necessary here.

Posted by: Joe | May 20, 2012 1:55:51 PM

The case is pretextual. The prosecutor should not have brought it save for a desire to be in the paper.

For example, the proper response to being taped is to punch the prankster in the nose, and get another room mate, plus an invasion of privacy lawsuit in torts. If that had happened instead of bridge jumping, there would be no prosecution.

One can imagine the thinking of the suicider. He was afraid of being humiliated. That means his parents would criticize him, not the defendant. Fear of his parents and friends was the cause of the suicide, not the taping. The latter was not meant to cause the suicide, therefore the case is a form of scapegoating.

The Supremacy is studying how to get standing for a third party in a writ of habeus corpus. Third party interventions in criminal cases are rare, and tough. The Supremacy is not interested in filing an amicus brief, since the non-aggressive defense lawyers are obviously not going to listen.

Journalists, therapists, plain citizens recording events should all be worried about the verdict. There may also be a racial bias component, to be discovered by examining the prosecutor's records and deposing him if standing is granted.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | May 21, 2012 6:55:30 AM

horse pucky!

his criminal stupidity cost someone thier LIFE!

Posted by: rodsmith | May 21, 2012 10:51:34 AM

Ultimately, the victim in this case took his own life. He cannot be reasonably held responsible for that.

Posted by: MikeinCT | May 22, 2012 12:34:54 AM

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