Jury Deliberations Begin In Rutgers Webcam Spying Trial

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ (CBSNewYork/AP) — The case of Dharun Ravi, a former Rutgers University student accused of using a webcam to spy on his roommate’s encounter with another man, is now in the hands of seven women and five men.

Also: Ravi Caught Falling Asleep In Courtroom

1010 WINS’ Steve Sandberg reports

The jury was given the case around 11 a.m. Wednesday. After a nearly four-week-long trial, it comes down to what they believe.

Judge Glenn Berman delivered his instructions before handing over the case.

“It is you duty to weigh the evidence calmly and without passion, prejudice and without sympathy,” the judge said. “Any influence caused by these emotions has the potential to deprive both the state and the defendant of what you promised them — a fair and impartial trial.”

WCBS 880’s Levon Putney On The Story

If Ravi is found guilty of invasion of privacy and bias intimidation, he faces up to 10 years behind bars and possible deportation back to India.

“All of you must agree if the defendant is not guilty or guilty on each charge,” Berman said.

The challenge for jurors could be deciding whether the laws apply to what Ravi is alleged to have done.

“You are to apply the law as I have instructed you, to the facts as you find them to be for the purpose of arriving at a fair and correct verdict,” Berman told the jury.

He faces 15 charges. Four are invasion of privacy and attempted invasion of privacy charges, where the required proof is that he saw or disseminated images, or attempted to, of private parts or sex acts, or a situation where someone might reasonably expect to see them.

Four charges allege bias intimidation. Ravi can be convicted of intimidation if he’s also found guilty of an underlying invasion-of-privacy charge. Two of those charges are second-degree crimes punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

Berman told jurors on Wednesday that they can convict Ravi of bias intimidation only if he knew or should have known that invading the privacy of his roommate, 18-year-old Tyler Clementi, would have sparked some fear or intimidation because Clementi was gay.

Seven charges accuse him of trying to cover his tracks. Among the allegations: that he deleted and changed Twitter postings and text messages and told another witness what to say.

In closing arguments Tuesday, defense attorney Steven Altman told jurors that Ravi was surprised to turn on his webcam and see his roommate in an intimate situation with another man. He emphasized that there was no recording, no broadcast and no YouTube video of the Sept. 19, 2010, encounter.

And he said Ravi was not acting out of hatred of his roommate or gays in general when he saw the image from his webcam on the computer of another student.

“If there’s hate in Dharun’s heart, if there’s ugliness in Dharun’s heart, where’s there some information and some evidence to support it?” Altman asked jurors.

Clementi committed suicide the day after prosecutors say Ravi used a webcam to spy on an intimate encounter between Clementi and another man in their dorm room and then tweeted friends about a “viewing party.”

Prosecutors say he did it to expose Clementi’s homosexuality.

“He was so shocked that within about four minutes, he sent out a tweet, because he was seeking advice?” prosecutor Julia McClure asked. And, she said, there was evidence that he then told other students about what he’d seen and invited them to a friend’s room where they could see for themselves.

The defense argued that Ravi used the webcam to keep an eye on his belongings since a man he didn’t know would be coming into the room.

Clementi’s mother and father have been in court throughout the trial as have Ravi’s parents.

There’s no telling how long it will take before a verdict is reached.

Please share your thoughts below…

(TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

  • Jay

    This was am invasion of privacy. I certainly wouldn’t want my roommate video taping me and my girl, tweeting about airing it and then doing so for all to see. This isn’t about gay or straight, it’s about invasion of privacy and bullying……both unacceptable IMHO! That said, let’s see if the jury does in fact have the balls to convict.

  • Steven Major

    From what I’ve read, Mr. Clementi was a very talented, intelligent, and gifted man. For he to have committd suicide, the torment [from Raviand caused by Rvi] must have been unbearable. New Yorkers have repeatedly shown that they WILL NOT STAND for hate crimes – especially those against Gay people. To add insult to injury, Ravi falls asleep in the courtroom. The previous post said it best, “Bye bye Ravi.” My heart goes out, not only to Mr. & Mrs. Clementi, but for all persons trying to live their lives and get along with the hand that they’ve been dealt in life. Ravi clearlly is guilty on ALL COUNTS and should face federal charges for a hate crime, once this trial is over.

    • Justice4Tyler

      This trail isn’t happening in New York – it’s happening in New York’s armpit – New Jersey. The jury doesn’t have the guts to convict him.

  • Very conservative

    Liberalism is a mental disorder.

    • Ziggy

      You need to begin thinking for yourself and stop repeating Michael Savage!

      The Republicans are just as bad as the Democrats,
      The conservatives are just as bad as the liberals.
      Crazy is crazy.

    • Ziggy

      You need to begin thinking for yourself and stop just reciting Michael Savage.

      The Republicans are just as bad as the Democrats.
      The conservatives are just as bad as the liberals.
      Crazy is crazy!

  • max

    Ravi would be free. Its a free country. Lets first get the laws straight.

  • CSI

    he’s going to go free. jury will feel sorry for him.

  • He will rot in hell either way

    When was the last time a jury came back with the right decision.Who has faith anymore in the court system with all these crooked jusges and lawyers .Ravi family has plenty of money to avoid any jail.

  • max

    Although I agree with Glenn I do not feel the jury has enough balls to convict

    • Justice4Tyler

      They probably don’t. Public backlash makes this difficult.

  • Glenn Erdmann

    Bye bye Ravi.

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