Friday, March 16, 2012

Dharun Ravi Guilty Of Bias

Dharun Ravi was all smiles when he sat at the defense table just before noon today when the jurors entered the courtroom after reaching a verdict in Ravi's trial of spying on Rutgers roommate Tyler Clementi with a webcam and posting the video of a sexual encounter for others to see.

Subsequently Clementi committed suicide by jumping off the George Washington Bridge in New York City on September 22, 2010.

Ravi's smile and somewhat smugness changed to a look of disbelief as the jury forewoman delivered guilty verdicts on 15 felony counts charged against Ravi. Others in the media have said Ravi showed no emotion but this writer had a different impression of Ravi's change in demeanor as the guilty verdicts were read off one by one. Clementi's parents who were also in the courtroom showed emotions of relief for their dead son Tyler as the verdicts were given, to the point where Clementi's father who was writing down and keeping track of the verdicts took off his glasses and wiped tears from his eye.

The guilty verdicts included bias intimidation, witness tampering, invasion of privacy, hindering apprehension and tampering with physical evidence. The key verdict(s) for members of the LGBT community are the guilty verdicts regarding bias or a perceived "hate crime".

Ravi could spend 10 years in a federal prison although talking heads said on various TV programs after the verdict he would likely spend three years in prison because he had a "clean record" prior to the charges brought against him. Because Ravi was born in India he could, although unlikely be deported back to his native country. Ravi declined a prosecution offer to plead guilty which would have afforded Ravi no jail time.

Some LGBT pundits have written in previous days this trial does little to advance LGBT causes, others will herald the verdicts for the cause against anti-gay bullying and "gay hate crimes'.

There are no winners in this case. Only losers. The biggest of which is Tyler Clementi and his family after his personal life was invaded by another person.

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