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Dharun Ravi Sentenced To 30 Days In Jail, Probation In Rutgers Webcam Spy Case

Emotional Day In Court As Mothers Of Clementi, Ravi Read Tearful Statements
Dharun Ravi in court on Monday, May 21, 2012 (credit: CBS 2)

Dharun Ravi in court on Monday, May 21, 2012 (credit: CBS 2)

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NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Dharun Ravi, a former Rutgers University student convicted of spying on his roommate, was sentenced to 30 days in jail plus three years probation on Monday.

In addition to the 30-day jail term and probation, Judge Glenn Berman sentenced the 20-year-old to 300 hours of community service. He was also ordered to pay $10,000 towards a program to help victims of bias crimes and was told to enter into counseling.

1010 WINS’ Steve Sandberg reports 

Ravi was convicted in March on 15 criminal counts, including invasion of privacy and bias intimidation, for using a webcam to watch his roommate, 18-year-old Tyler Clementi, have an intimate encounter with another man in September 2010.

He faced up to 10 years in prison and possible deportation back to India, where Ravi was born and is still a citizen. The judge recommended he not be deported.

Prosecutors said Monday afternoon that they would appeal the 30-day sentence, which they called “insufficient.”

It was an emotional morning for the families on both sides of the case as they read their impact statements to the court prior to the judge’s sentencing.

WCBS 880’s Alex Silverman On The Sentence

Clementi’s mother Jane fought back tears as her husband Joseph, called Ravi’s actions “severe, shocking and lasting.”

“Mr. Ravi still does not get it,” he said. “He has no remorse.”

Days after the spying took place, Clementi committed suicide by jumping off the George Washington Bridge. Ravi was not charged with causing Clementi’s death.

“We are seeking justice and accountability, not revenge, and with that accountability comes consequences,” said Joseph Clementi. “Justice is a difficult thing to define, yet when we get it, we know it.”

Clementi’s mother told the court that she is still tormented by the death of her son.

1010 WINS’ Terry Sheridan reports

“He never really knew Tyler,” she said of Ravi. “Not the smart, kind, articulate, humble, funny, generous person Tyler was. All he found out was that Tyler was gay.”

In his impact statement, Clementi’s older brother James talked about disrespect he said was shown by Ravi during the trial.

“I watched as Dharun slept through court as though it was something not worth staying awake for,” he said. “I listened while Dharun and his defense attorneys laughed together as though it was a private joke in the courtroom that I and my family were not aware of.”

Reading the impact statement on behalf of M.B., the other man seen on the webcam with Clementi, attorney Richard Pompelio said Ravi committed the crime to gain favor with others.

“I believe that Mr. Ravi exploited my budding and meaningful relationship with Tyler in his vain attempt to gain attention and popularity with others,” Pompelio read from M.B.’s statement. “When I found what he had done, I was devastated, not only about Tyler’s death, but also that I was secretly placed under a microscope for the sole amusement for Mr. Ravi and his friends.”

Ravi’s parents then read their impact statements in an emotional plea to the court.

“Dharun’s dreams are shattered and he has been living in hell for the past 20 months,” said Ravi’s mother Sabitha Ravi as her son wiped tears from his eyes.  “I didn’t have any power to stop all this and save my son.”

Prior to the impact statements being read, defense attorneys called Ravi’s conviction “a miscarriage of justice” and called for Ravi to be acquitted in the case.

“We do believe that a miscarriage of justice occurred here for a number of reasons,” said attorney Philip Nettl, who argued that Ravi did not knowingly intimidate Clementi.

“Dharun had no idea that Tyler Clementi knew what had happened because Dharun had thought that only his friends were reading his tweets or his followers and Tyler Clementi was not a follower,” Nettl said. “The import of that is how can you purposefully or knowingly intimidate somebody if you’re completely unaware that they were being made aware of what you did.”

But after hearing from both sides, the judge denied the motion for an acquittal or a new trial.

“I’m not going to say here that he had a perfect trial,” Berman said of Ravi. “But I’m convinced without any question, he got a fair one.”

Clementi’s parents, prosecutors and even gay rights groups have argued that Ravi didn’t deserve the maximum sentence, but shortly after the judge’s decision, Steven Goldstein from the group Garden State Equality, issued a statement that said in part:

“We opposed throwing the book at Dharun Ravi. We have spoken out against giving him the maximum sentence of 10 years in jail and against deporting him. That would have been vengeance beyond punishment and beyond sending a message to the rest of society. But we have similarly rejected the other extreme that Ravi should have gotten no jail time at all, and today’s sentencing is closer to that extreme than the other. This was not merely a childhood prank gone awry. This was not a crime without bias.”

The judge ordered Ravi report to the Middlesex County Corrections Facility at 9 a.m. on May 31.

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