Ravi Railroaded in Clemente Case

Dharun Ravi has been found guilty by a jury for bias crimes against a Rutgers student who hate-crimed himself off a bridge.

From Reuters here:

A former Rutgers University student accused of using a webcam to spy on his gay roommate’s love life was convicted of invasion of privacy and anti-gay intimidation Friday in a case that exploded into the headlines when the victim threw himself to his death off a bridge.

Prosecutors said Ravi set up a webcam in his dorm room in September 2010 and captured roommate Tyler Clementi kissing another man, then tweeted about it and excitedly tried to catch Clementi in the act again two days later. A half-dozen students were believed to have seen the live video of the kissing.

Within days, Clementi realized he had been watched and leaped from the George Washington Bridge after posting one last status update on Facebook: “Jumping off the gw bridge, sorry.”

The jury found Ravi not guilty on some subparts of some of the charges, but guilty of all 15 counts as a whole.

So we have a conviction based on a thought crime. The jury had to answer five questions about the intimidation charges. One affirmative answer meant that Ravi was guilty. Somehow the jury only agreed on one of those five questions:

Did Clementi reasonably believe Ravi was trying to intimidate him because of his sexual orientation?”

Clemente is dead and could not testify, but the jury guessed at a dead man’s “thoughts” that will result in jailtime for Ravi. The defense paraded quite a few witnesses that said that Ravi was not bigoted against gays, yet the conviction rested solely on what a dead mentally ill man supposedly “felt” about what someone thought of him. Hope Ravi can appeal.


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