A judge is currently in the middle of the sentencing for Dharun Ravi, the former Rutgers student who was found guilty of bias crimes for spying on his roommate Tyler Clementi. Clementi, whose gay encounters with another man were seen on Ravi's webcam, killed himself in September 2009, just weeks after starting his freshman year. UPDATE: Judge Glenn Berman has just sentenced Ravi to 30 days in jail and probation. He will also recommend Ravi not be deported. More details below.
Ravi, who is now 20, faces up to 10 years in prison. He has insisted, "I wasn’t biased. I didn’t act out of hate and I wasn’t uncomfortable with Tyler being gay," and claimed that spying on Clementi wasn't his idea, but jurors felt his behavior—Tweeting about spying on Clementi with another —revealed he wasn't "reasonable."
Though many gay advocates hailed Ravi's conviction, many are wary about a tough sentence. Seton Hall University law professor Marc Poirier, who is gay, told the NY Times, "You’re making an example of Ravi in order to send a message to other people who might be bullying, to schools and parents and to prosecutors who have not considered this a crime before. That’s a function of criminal law, to condemn as general deterrence. But I think this is a fairly shaky set of facts on which to do it." And the Times spoke to Dan Savage, who "argued that simply locking up Mr. Ravi was a lost opportunity to talk about the other institutions and people “complicit” in Mr. Clementi’s death. 'What was he told about being gay growing up, by his faith leaders, by the media, by the culture?' Mr. Savage said. 'Ravi may have been the last person who made him feel unsafe and abused and worthless, but he couldn’t have been the first. The rush to pin all the responsibility on Ravi and then wash our hands and walk away means we’re not going to learn the lessons of these kids.'"
But today, Clementi's mother told the court that Ravi’s actions were "malicious and evil." The Star-Ledger reports, "Like her husband, she mentioned that Tyler looking at Ravi’s twitter page was particularly devastating. 'What I want is justice,' she said. 'The court needs to show … this was not right and it was not acceptable behavior and it will not be tolerated.'"
Update: Ravi's mother spoke; according to the Daily News' Christina Boyle, she said, "Dharun’s dreams are shattered and he has been lving in hell for the past 20 months." Then she "broke down in tears and hugged her son, who was also sobbing, when she finished addressing Judge Berman."
UPDATE 12:45 p.m.: Judge Berman first told Ravi, "I heard this jury say guilty 288 times: 24 questions, 12 jurors, that’s the multiplication/ And I haven't heard you apologize once." He also said, "Down the road you can expunge this judgement. You cannot expunge the conduct or the pain you caused."
However, Berman believes that Ravi did not act of hate but of "colossal insensitivity... The word hate has never crossed my lips nor [Prosecutor Julia] McClure’s. This individual was not convicted of a hate crime. he was convicted of a bias crime and there's a difference. I do not believe he hated Tyler Clementi. He had no reason to. But I do believe that he acted out of colossal insensitivity."
Per the Star-Ledger:
Going count by count, Berman said the first four counts - two invasion of privacy counts and two bias intimidation counts - are straight probation.
He said the counts "do not warrant a prison term," and the legislature did not have this type of behavior in mind when they crafted the bias intimidation charge.
Ravi can go home today, but will have to report for jail on May 31. Both sides have requested a stay.