Escaped! Dharun Ravi Gets Just 30-Day Jail Term in Tyler Clementi Spying Case

Tamil youth Dharun Ravi will be an unhappy, unwilling guest of the American jail system for 30-days following his sentencing today in the Tyler Clementi webcam spying case.

Victory for Dharun

Unswayed by arguments made by Dharun’s attorney Philip Nettl that there had been a “miscarriage of justice,” Judge Glenn Berman today sentenced 20-year-old Dharun to a 30-day jail term.

But given that the maximum prison term on the charges for which the jury convicted Dharun was 10 years, the 30-day jail term must be seen as a victory for Dharun Ravi and his legal team.

Of course, the prosecution and Tyler Clementi’s family will see the 30-day sentence as a slap on the wrist.

Dharun Ravi will have to surrender before the authorities on May 31.

Dharun will be on probation for three years, must do 300 hours of community service, undergo a counseling program on cyber-bulling and alternate lifestyles and pay $10,000 to the probation department to be used for bias victims.

Judge Berman will also recommend that Dharun not be deported after his jail term.

Dharun’s attorneys asked for a stay of the sentence.

The prosecution was unhappy with the sentence and said they’d appeal the judge’s decision.

Judge Berman made it clear he was not inclined to stay the sentence.

Retrial Rejected

Dharun’s attorney Nettl asked for a retrial because Judge Berman had not reminded the jury during the final charge he provided them that Tyler Clementi’s suicide was not part of the case and that Dharun was not charged with with it.

But Judge Berman was not buying any of the defense attorney’s arguments for acquittal or retrial.

“A defendant in a criminal case is not entitled to a perfect trial, he’s entitled to a fair one….I’m convinced without any question he got a fair one, “Judge Berman said.

A New Jersey jury on March 16 had found 20-year-old Dharun guilty of bias intimidation, invasion of privacy, hindering apprehension and witness tampering for spying on his gay roommate Tyler Clementi.

After Dharun’s attorney’s argument for acquittal and retrial had been denied, Tyler Clementi’s father Mr.Joseph Clementi addressed the court.

“Mr.Ravi still doesn’t get it. He has no remorse,” Mr. Clementi said.

Tyler’s mother Jane Clementi had a hard time controlling her emotions as her husband was addressing the court.

Tyler’s brother then spoke followed by his mother Jane Clementi.

“What I want is justice….He broke the law and New Jersey does not tolerate criminal action without penalty,” a distraught Jane Clementi told the court.

Strong Indian Presence

Seated directly behind Dharun in the court room was a strong Indian contingent comprising of Dharun’s parents and friends.

The Indian-American community in New Jersey has been waging a strong battle through petitions to have Dharun acquitted.

Dharun Ravi did not address the court today but his mother did.

Dharun’s mother broke down completely on the stand and described her son as a loving boy.

“He doesn’t have any hatred in his heart for anybody,” Dharun’s mother told the court amid heavy sobs.

Seeing his mother break down, Dharun couldn’t restrain himself either and started crying.

Dharun’s mother blamed the media for “misconstructing the facts to the public.”

New Chapter

With the sentencing, another chapter of woe begins for 20-year-old Dharun, a resident of Plainsboro in New Jersey.

Dharun’s parents hail from the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu. His father Ravi Pazhani manages an IT consulting business.

Adding to Dharun’s troubles, he is a Permanent Resident (Green Card holder) and not an American citizen.

This means Dharun can be deported to India after his jail term is over.

But it’s unlikely he will be.

Related Dharun Ravi Stories:
Guilty – Tamil Peeping Tom Dharun Ravi
Quote of the Day – Dharun Ravi
One Way or the Other, Dharun Ravi is Screwed

3 Responses to "Escaped! Dharun Ravi Gets Just 30-Day Jail Term in Tyler Clementi Spying Case"

  1. gandhiji   May 21, 2012 at 1:00 pm

    A very fair sentence.

    I am inclined to think that even 30 days was harsh.

    I am sure that there are many more vile things happening in college campuses.. that are going undetected and unpunished. Responds:

    You write: A very fair sentence.

    I Agree.

    As Dharun Ravi’s attorney said on the stand, the judge knows a lot of things that we and perhaps the jury are unaware of.

    The prosecution must be hopping mad because they’ll see it as a slap on the wrist.

  2. Naveen   May 21, 2012 at 2:58 pm

    The sentence seems surprisingly lenient considering the amount of hype surrounding the case.

    Gay rights people were also keen on making an example of this young man. Perhaps a fair judgment on hindsight. Responds:

    Many Indians in NJ must be celebrating the sentence.

    30-days in a county jail is a walk in the park compared to 5-10 years in prison with hardened criminals.

  3. gandhiji   June 20, 2012 at 10:36 am

    Looks like he is out and there is going to be no deportation.

    Do you think that the DA’s office is serious about the appeal? Responds:

    1. Yeah, saw the news last night.

    Not surprising. He was expected to get out early – work and good behavior. On the no-deportation too, again it was on the cards.

    2. Is the DA’s office serious about the appeal?

    Hard to say.

    The DA’s office in this instance is obviously mad about the short-sentence – a mere 20-days when they wanted Dharun Ravi in the slammer for several years.

    DA offices in the country have limited staff, inadequate resources and a heavy case-load.

    Plus, most attorneys working there want to get out after a few high-profile wins and join some big-name law firm paying $500,000 a year or more. So, they must show some wins.

    Bottom line, if the prosecutors are smart they’ll move on to a more easily winnable case.

    But the prosecutors might be willing to roll the dice in this instance given the notoriety attached to Dharun Ravi’s actions and considerable resentment from Americans over what they perceive as too short a sentence.

    Also, don’t forget Dharun Ravi is not White unlike the big-time scumbag (Hint: your former Senator) who got away last week.

    Too many variables in this case make accurate predictions difficult.

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