Former Rutgers student who spied on gay roommate wants new trial

Attorneys for Dharun Ravi are asking a judge to overturn his conviction

Dharun Ravi, the former Rutgers student convicted in March of spying on former roommate Tyler Clementi, is now asking a judge to overturn his conviction or at least grant him a new trial.

Ravi’s actions resulted in his former roommate committing suicide. He is scheduled to be sentenced on May 21 for bias intimidation, invasion of privacy, and tampering with evidence.

Ravi faces up to 10 years in prison.

Clementi committed suicide by jumping off of the George Washington Bridge in the days after he discovered that his private dorm room encounters with another man had been secretly recorded by Ravi via web cam then discussed on Twitter with other students.

According to legal documents filed this week, Ravi’s lawyers are disputing the most serious charge of bias intimidation which is a hate crime based on the fact that Clementi was gay.

The jury found that Ravi did not mean to intimidate Clementi or the other man, but that Clementi reasonably believed he did.

Attorneys Steven Altman and Philip Nettl wrote in court papers: ‘To criminalize a defendant for a victim’s mistaken belief about the defendant’s motive would turn the bias intimidation statute into a mockery of itself.’

Ravi told the New Jersey Star-Ledger in a March interview that he had no problem with the fact that Clementi was gay.

‘I wasn’t biased.’ he said. ‘I didn’t act out of hate and I wasn’t uncomfortable with Tyler being gay.’

by Greg Hernandez
Source – Gay Star News