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Webcam case: US court sends Ravi to jail for 30 days

Last updated on: May 21, 2012 22:50 IST
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A New Jersey judge on Monday refused to toss out the conviction of Indian student Dharun Ravi convicted of hate crime charges for spying over a homosexual roommate who later committed suicide and sentenced him to 30 days in jail.

Ravi, 20, was found guilty of invasion of privacy and bias, intimidation for pointing a webcam at his roommat's gay tryst with an older man.

Judge Glenn Berman of State Superior Court also sentenced Ravi to three years of probation and 300 hours of community service and ordered him to pay $10,000 to a group that helps victims of bias crimes.

"You lied to your roommate who placed his trust in you without any conditions, and you violated it. I have not heard you apologise once," the judge told Ravi prior to delivering his verdict

Prosecutors had said that Ravi deserves jail time. The defence plans to appeal the conviction.

Both Clementi's and Ravi's families packed Courtroom 202 in Middlesex County Superior Court in New Brunswick, New Jersey.

The proceedings began with a motion by the defence to have the jury's verdict tossed out, NYDaily reported.

"We do believe a miscarriage of justice has occurred," lawyer Philip Nettl said of the March 16 conviction before reeling off a laundry list of complaints about the trial.

Judge Glenn Berman said that he had ruled for the defence more than the prosecution during the trial and said the verdict would stand.

"A defendant in a criminal case is not entitled to a perfect trial. He's entitled to a fair one," Berman said.

Ravi, who appeared gaunt and nervous, will be sentenced after both sides speak about the case that created national headlines and stirred debate over anti-gay bullying.

Clementi, 18, threw himself off the George Washington Bridge on September 22, 2010, after learning that Ravi had used a webcam to watch his dorm-room date and invited others to watch.

Ravi was not charged with causing Clementi's death but he was convicted of 15 counts by a jury that believed he targeted his roommate because he was gay.

Since the verdict, Ravi's supporters have portrayed him as a scapegoat at rallies and protests.
Prosecutors argued Ravi has shown no remorse, though he did admit in a TV interview that he "was stupid about a lot of stuff."

"Even though I wasn't the one who caused him to jump off the bridge, I did do things wrong," Ravi had told ABC News' '20/20'.

Ravi had rejected a no-jail plea deal, saying he wouldn't admit to a crime he didn't commit.

Before the sentencing, the judge noted that the court had received boxes of petitions asking President Barack Obama to pardon Ravi.

"I hope these people understand that the petition sent to the White House is of no legal consequence whatsoever," Judge
Glenn Berman said.

"Rightly or wrongly, the President of the United States only has the right to pardon people for offenses committed against the United States."

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