March 17, 2012

How did the jury find Dharun Ravi guilty of "bias intimidation"?

Ravi had spied on his Rutgers College roommate, Tyler Clementi, who proceeded to jump off the George Washington Bridge:
“It was pretty hard to think about Tyler, because he wasn’t present to give his thoughts,” said Kashad Leverett, 20, of South Amboy, N.J., after he and 11 other jurors delivered a guilty verdict on all charges, including invasion of privacy and bias intimidation, on Friday. “But in the evidence that was provided, it showed that he believed he was being intimidated because of his sexual orientation.”...
Clementi believed. But how does that reflect on Ravi?
The bias intimidation charges were the most difficult to agree upon, jurors said. And what tipped the scales there, they said, was that Mr. Ravi had discussed spying on Mr. Clementi not just once, but repeatedly, even inviting his online friends to watch Mr. Clementi and the other man in a second encounter.

That, said Ms. Audet, is what elevated the case from one of teenagers behaving cruelly and insensitively to a crime.

“To attempt a second time, is what changed my mind,” she said. “A reasonable person would have closed it and ended it there, not tweeted about it.”
Cruel and unreasonable, but why is it bias intimidation?
An important component of the bias intimidation charges was whether Mr. Clementi felt bullied. Jurors said he left ample evidence that he did: he complained to his resident assistant, he went online to request a room change, he saved screen shots of Mr. Ravi’s more offensive online posts, and he viewed his roommate’s Twitter feed 38 times in the two days before he killed himself by jumping off the George Washington Bridge.

“We’ll never know exactly what he was feeling,” Ms. Audet said. “I can only assume.”
Obviously, Clementi could not be cross-examined.
Mr. Ravi’s lawyer pointed to apologetic texts that Mr. Ravi sent Mr. Clementi, in which he said he had no problem with homosexuality and even had a close friend who was gay....

Mr. Leverett, a student and Twitter user himself, was unmoved. “I can’t speak for everyone on the jury, but me, personally, I believe it was something where he realized what he did was wrong, and it was just too late to amend for what he did.”

Of the apology, Ms. Audet said: “My first impression was to believe what he said. Then, as we started reading stuff, we found things in there that I interpreted more as covering. The friend he claimed was a good friend in high school, that person was never presented as a defense witness. If that person had come forward and said, ‘Hey, we’ve been good friends, and he knows I’m gay and he doesn’t have a problem with it,’ that might have swayed me in the other direction.”
That sounds like Ravi was found guilty because he couldn't disprove a motivation that was inferred based on Clementi's subjective perception. And yet the defense was deprived of much of the evidence of Clementi's subjective state of mind. Emily Bazelon writes:
The suicide note he left behind, along with three Word documents with telltale names—“Gah.docx,” “sorry.docx,” and “Why is everything so painful.docx”—weren’t turned over to the defense or made public. (According to the judge, they weren’t directly relevant to the case against Ravi.)
Not directly relevant? But indirection, coming from Clementi, is what convicted Ravi.

In an earlier article, before the conviction, Bazelon wrote:
If I was on that jury..., I’d want to know what he has to say for himself all these months later. How should we think about the spying from his point of view? Ravi has said he was concerned about M.B.’s scruffy appearance because he’d left his iPad in his room. Maybe, but it’s pretty unconvincing that’s the entire explanation. He was clearly both freaked out and titillated by the idea that gay sex was going on in his bedroom. And if that’s an understandable reaction from an 18-year-old, I’d like to hear Ravi parse out why in his own words.
That sounds like a presumption of guilt, based on a failure of the defendant to testify. Do the liberal values about the rights of the accused evaporate when there's an opportunity to take a stand against homophobia?

Bazelon doesn't mention it, but the "scruffy" M.B. was a 32-year-old man. I could see being freaked out that a scruffy, much older man kept coming to your dorm room to have sex with your roommate, whether the sex was gay or straight. It wasn't just gay sex in the abstract, but a particular sexual situation, involving a specific person who really did not belong in Ravi's private space.

And what did that that specific person, M.B., have to do with the suicide, the suicide that inflamed the jury with pity? Shouldn't the jury have read the suicide note and “Gah.docx,” “sorry.docx,” and “Why is everything so painful.docx”? But the judge excluded that evidence.

Appeal.

103 comments:

Pogo said...

This travesty of a mockery of a sham of justice will be repeated again and again.

The Gay leviathan rolls on, crushing dissent beneath its wheels.

I now capitalize Gay because it is a jealous god, and we must have no other gods before it.

I for one welcome our new Gay overlords.

I humbly point out that their anti-matter, Islam, is just behind them, and not in a good way.

SGT Ted said...

Ravi was guilty of Thought Crimes against Protected Special Citizens, as well as the boring, ordinary Invasion of Privacy violation. When heterosexuals are driven to suicide by harrassment, no biggie. Free Speech and all that.

But this was a Gay Guy; extra special super Citizen, like a Black Guy or a Feminist. Speech and actual thoughts must be restricted around them. They can't handle it.

The Drill SGT said...

The Judge might be correct that the suicide note isn't relevant (I disagree) but not turning it over to the Defense in the first place so they can make their case in chambers that it is relevant?

I don't see the elements of proof anywhere for Bias Intimidation, but surely the impact or non-impact of the action on the alledged victim has bearing. The notes establish or refute that impact....

Quayle said...

Do the liberal values about the rights of the accused evaporate when there's an opportunity to take a stand against homophobia?

Do you really need to ask, living as we do in this post-modern pickle juice

All law is merely a weapon to oppress.

To oppress blacks.

And women.

And gays.

And transgenders.

And, coming imminently, polygamists.

And [reserved for future fad oppressed minority].

And therefore, the law is only valid and binding when it is a weapon to oppress the hateful oppressors.

Patrick said...

I hadn't really followed this closely, but I had been under the impression that he was charged with causing the suicide. The article I read said that the jury wasn't allowed to consider the suicide, but it apparently came through in the testimony.

A young man, living on his own for the first time does something dumb, and probably mean. That didn't used to be a crime.

MnMark said...

Nothing is going to change the fact that it is repulsive to a heterosexual man to have homosexuals engaging in sodomy in his room. It's built into a man to feel that way.

One might argue that it is repulsive for homosexuals to normal man/woman couples having sex in their space as well. Fair enough, except that it is homosexuality that is abberant and heterosexuality which is normal.

The common-sense solution would be not to house homosexuals with heterosexuals. Then no one need be repulsed.

But we heterosexuals are to be forced to accept and "celebrate" homosexuality, because it's not enough for homosexuals not to be persecuted. We must be forced not to think bad things about them.

Thus you get situations where the husband of a married couple of friends I know ended up dancing a hot salsa with a homosexual in their salsa class because the homosexual pair in the class of otherwise normal couples did not excuse themselves from the couples dancing portion of the lessons, where couples exchanged partners.

edutcher said...

I believe the phrase "high-tech lynching" applies here.

Hatman gloating and waxing sanctimonious (among other things) in 3, 2, 1...

Quayle said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Quayle said...

A young man, living on his own for the first time does something dumb, and probably mean. That didn't used to be a crime.

Yale and a lot of schools require freshman to live in mixed dorms because, Yale says, it is an important part of the Yale education to live with others of differing opinions and lifestyles.

And by that Yale means that traditional virtued students need to live with and learn from non-traditional lifestyled students.

The requirement isn't intended for non-traditional lifestyled student to learn from the traditional virtued students

And especially not intended for to help the non-traditional lifestyled student to grow thick skin and not care what others' say or think.

James said...

Why hasn't "M.B." been indentified publicly? Strange indeed.

edutcher said...

Quayle, like the use of "coming imminently, polygamists" and, especially "fad oppressed minority" (that pretty much nails it), but you forgot the incest(ists?), polyamorists (not to be confused with polygamists), and bestial(ists?).

Quaestor said...

This whole idea of bias intimidation seems hardly distinguishable from holding an unpopular opinion and expressing it. Certainly intimidation is an element of bullying, but it must carry a creditable possibility of violent force to qualify ("Hand over your lunch money, nerd, or I'll punch your lights outs"). We are a highly social anthropoid species. Intimidation is constantly with us. It is a component of our basic social controls. To try to purge intimidation by legal fiat is a fool's errand.

If Ravi's conviction is not appealed, or if an appellate court upholds, then pretty soon it will a felony in NJ to hold certain opinions.

The Crack Emcee said...

Clementi believed.

I keep warning you about that word - and the phenomena - and how much damage it wrecks on others. Beliefs are legitimized crazytalk. Tell us what you KNOW.

And, if you don't know anything, shut up,...

The Crack Emcee said...

SGT Ted,

This was a Gay Guy; extra special super Citizen, like a Black Guy or a Feminist.

Ha! I wish. Oh wait - I'm conservative, atheist, and anti-NewAge - carry on,...

Palladian said...

"It's built into a man to feel that way."

Where is "it" located? In your butthole, with the rest of your brain?

Michael said...

The dead guy did not have gay pride. I think his parents should be charged with something like murder for not instilling in their son a proudness about his gayness. They didnt know, you say? Then the environment they created for him must have been hostile to gays or otherwise they would have been fine with and proud of his gayness or every gays gayness. The parents sre to blame.

And what about celebrating Mr. ravis excellent and different culture which might have a different view of gaiety? What about that?

Henry said...

There are two things that have always bothered me about this case. The first is that people don't go around committing suicide just because they're embarrassed. There's got to be a much deeper story of depression and mental instability on the part of Clementi.

Second is the sense that Clementi's suicide was an act of revenge against Ravi. You hurt me? Well try to live with this on your conscience.

There is a mental place where these two concepts overlap. Unfortunately that place is in the mind of a corpse.

Palladian said...

Anyway, aside from the usual bleating about how us scary faggots are scaring pussies like MnMark and generally ruining Amurrica, this is a travesty of justice.

Dharun Ravi committed actual crimes by secretly photographing his roommate. That's what he should have been punished for, not the pernicious invention of "bias" crimes.

damikesc said...

Ravi did something wrong...but ten years in prison? At the risk of sounding cold, gay youth commit suicide at far higher rates than straight youth from what I've read. For him to be punished because his roommate killed himself is just insane...and if the roommate was straight, he would have received nothing. Not even probation.

William said...

OK, it was an invasion of privacy, and this fellow, Ravi, clearly behaved badly. But I'm sure that there were other feelings besides homophobia in his hostility towards Climenti, and God knows Clementi had other things on his mind besides Ravi when he jumped off the bridge. I don't know that much about the case, but this does seem wrong......If Derrick Bell were alive, he would point out that Ravi was convicted of being not white and not right. Clementi was a sympathetic white kid, and Ravi was an overbearing east Asian. Was there racial prejudice as well as homophobia involved in this case?

Danno said...

Althouse, thank you for the analysis of this case. I haven't been reading much about it and your blogging distilled it down to the real issue in this courtroom.

Titus said...

Ravi is kind of hot.

I would do him.

edutcher said...

Patrick said...

A young man, living on his own for the first time does something dumb, and probably mean. That didn't used to be a crime.

I see your point, but this dumb thing probably got somebody killed.

MayBee said...

The only reason this was turned into a criminal case was because of the suicide. College students who spy on other college students is not generally handled via the prosecutors office.

This became a rumor (the incorrect allegation that Ravi posted the sex on YouTube) that turned into a cause that meant someone had to pay. By the time more was known- Ravi wasn't mean to Tyler but for this incident, Tyler's mother had not been accepting of his coming-out, it was too late. A witch had been hunted.

Holding someone accountable for someone else's suicide is a dangerous path to take. Yet with both Phoebe Prince and this case, it seems to be something the morning talk shows want to happen.

chickenlittle said...

"Bias Intimidation" sounds specious to me--whatever that means.

We live in a world of obfuscation.

Quaestor said...

Ravi's goose was cooked when during jury selection. His lawyer just assumed a randomly selected panel of citizens of Middlesex County, a reliably blue bastion since the days of Woodrow Wilson, would be unbiased. Liberals generally buy the notion that some opinions are intolerable, do they not? They were a tight jury, were they not?

Rav's counsel should have dismissed every venireman who wasn't a regular Limbaugh listener.

EDH said...

Althouse said...
That sounds like Ravi was found guilty because he couldn't disproved a motivation that was inferred based on Clementi's subjective perception.

Or, that Ravi was found guilty because he couldn't disprove a motivation the jury was instructed could be permissively inferred from Clementi's mere status as a homosexual, a protected class.

NJ's bias intimidation crime statute is the only one in the US that I've found with a "permissive inference" based on victim status as acceptable proof of purpose to intimidate.

As I said in the previous Althouse thread, it seems very dangerous when victim status can be the proof of intent in a bias crime of specific intent, especially when the offense is a "penalty extender" in connection with a relatively minor offense.

NJ STATUTES - NJSA 2C:16-1.
Bias intimidation.
(b) Proof that the target of the underlying offense was selected by the defendant, or by another acting in concert with the defendant, because of race, color, religion, gender, handicap, sexual orientation, or ethnicity shall give rise to a permissive inference by the trier of fact that the defendant acted with a purpose to intimidate an individual or group of individuals because of race, color, religion, gender, handicap, sexual orientation, or ethnicity.

PatCA said...

EDH provides the answer, the inference, why a thought crime is now a crime. Throw the hell out. Will an appeals court ever have the sense to do it?

Yes, Ravi was freaked out. He didn't have the maturity to deal with this at his age. Nor did his friends. Nor did Clementi. Yet Ravi is also a member of privileged classes--elite college, non-white family, probably illegal immigrant--so the media is in a very confused state about this case. Much different tone than the Mathew Shepard case.

fleetusa said...

Thank you for the fine summary. I agree "Appeal". The Judge should have let all the evidence in.

Alex said...

Don't see how this verdict survives an appeal. You can't be convicted for thoughtcrime in America, can you?

MayBee said...

I see your point, but this dumb thing probably got somebody killed.

Nobody was killed. Someone killed himself. It was not a rational response to what was done.

Rabel said...

What was the justification for concealing the identity of M.B.?

He wasn't a victim. He was called to testify in a public trial.

Just wondering?

Ann Althouse said...

"Proof that the target of the underlying offense was selected by the defendant, or by another acting in concert with the defendant, because of race, color, religion, gender, handicap, sexual orientation, or ethnicity..."

That doesn't apply here. Clementi was already Ravi's roommate. He was sharing a private space with Ravi, and roommates have their quarrels. Ravi didn't "select" Clementi because he was gay.

If that's the basis of the prosecutor's proof, I say the statute just doesn't apply at all. There's no selection!

dbp said...

"I see your point, but this dumb thing probably got somebody killed."

To say it got somebody killed is to eliminate agency from Clementi. He made a choice to kill himself, he could have chosen not to.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

This case is a good reason to thouroughly screen students for lifestyle issues BEFORE forcing them into close quarters.

Items that should be clearly disclosed and considered:

Sexual preference and tolerance for differences. For example can you stand to live with someone who is gay or not gay. Can you stand to live with someone who is using YOUR room for sex no matter with whom. How often can you be ousted from your room because your roommate wants to have sex.

Smoking?
Drinking?
Religious differences?
Music tastes? Country Western verus Rap?
Vegan?
Meat eater?
Early riser vs. Late riser.

on and on.

If you are going to FORCE these students to live together, you should try to be compatable.

MayBee said...

Rabel-
Concealing MB's identity was an odd choice, and one the defense should fight as well.
He testified because he was also a victim of the spying, but that hardly is the same of being the victim of a sex crime, which is when identities are usually hidden. The suspicion is MB's identity was hidden because he is not out.
Making MB such a big secret gives the jury the idea that being gay makes you a target, and is a secret that should be kept and legally protected even in court.
That is prejudicial against Ravi, imho.

Alex said...

The real message here is that thoughtcrime against protected classes will be punished much harsher the the equivalent act against non-protected ones. They wanted to send a message - we hate homophobia, regardless of the law. Basically it's jury activism.

dbp said...

My bet is that when, on appeal, the other documents come out; they will show the importance of M.B. to Clementi's troubled state of mind.

It would hardly be a surprise when a relationship between an eighteen year old and a thirty two year old ends up being stressful for the younger partner.

Alex said...

The fact that documents were suppressed in an indication to me of a kangaroo court hell bent on the holy task of fighting homophobia above all other considerations. It's a sham court, sham justice, sham state.

Alex said...

Heck even Ann sees this for what it is, and that's despite her personal bias that should favor it! Gotta give props for being consistent.

Robert said...

Most disturbing is the juror basically saying that if Ravi had proved he really had a gay friend then he would have been acquited. So he will spend ten years in prison because he has no gay friend. Nice.

Hagar said...

With a slightly different mindset, could the college be held responsible for not accommodating Ravi's request for a different room assignment?

Under existing laws, I think Ravi could be expelled by the college for "spying on his room mate," but there is no case for the criminal charge to be brought.

somefeller said...

PatCA says: Yet Ravi is also a member of privileged classes--elite college, non-white family, probably illegal immigrant

Excuse me, but why exactly would one assume that a South Asian student at Rutgers comes from an illegal immigrant family?

Palladian has this right. While Ravi's actions were repulsive and the anti-gay bigots are using this as an opportunity to spout their usual blather, turning this into a bias crime prosecution doesn't seem to be the best move, Particularly if there is other evidence (like the mysterious M.B.) that should have been looked at.

SGT Ted said...

This was a Gay Guy; extra special super Citizen, like a Black Guy or a Feminist. -SGT Ted

Ha! I wish. Oh wait - I'm conservative, atheist, and anti-NewAge - carry on,...
-Crack


Exactly. You're not black anymore now that you're a conservative. You are probably a racist race traitor, though.

Alex said...

The Clementi family is free to file a wrongful death lawsuit against Ravi, but the state has no business here.

EDH said...

Althouse said...
Ravi didn't "select" Clementi because he was gay.

If that's the basis of the prosecutor's proof, I say the statute just doesn't apply at all. There's no selection!


Good point. But I suspect the prosecution would argue that the random roommate pairing provided the opportunity, but it was Clementi's homosexuality that motivated Ravi to "select" Clementi as the target of a criminal act where, given the same opportunity, Ravi would not have done the same with heterosexual roommate.

Likewise, I suspect that proponents of the NJ law would say that's why the "permissive inference" isn't just about the victim's status, rather it's an inference based on a "target... selected... because of...

In reply, I'd say all of this is why I have a problem with hate crimes in general, and particularly one that side-steps requiring an actual, specific intent.

Alex said...

The point is liberals say homophobia and hate-crimes against gays is a real and present problem in America, on the level of DEFCON-1.

Alex said...

That's how they're treating it. Look at Lady Gaga - she's all about the gays 24/7. Much of Hollywood is all about the gays all the time. Every state legislature these days seems to be pushing gay marriage. It's amazing that with an economy melting down, gays are the #1 burning issue in America. I mean, with the way the left is acting you'd think gays were being sent to death camps.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

But I suspect the prosecution would argue that the random roommate pairing provided the opportunity, but it was Clementi's homosexuality that motivated Ravi to "select" Clementi as the target of a criminal act where, given the same opportunity, Ravi would not have done the same with heterosexual roommate.


The selecting was done by the University in domiciling the two together. Should the school also be somewhat to 'blame'.

Plus, you don't know that Ravi might not have recorded a sexual encounter between a heterosexual roommate and a woman who were using HIS room to have sex.

If he had done that, and exposed the woman to public ridicule.... would that be a lesser crime or more heinous crime.

Penny said...

Anderson Cooper interviewed two jurors on his show last night. Let me paraphrase what one of those jurors said.

"We got tight as a jury really fast. The hardest thing we had to deal with was finding evidence that would prove Ravi was guilty of the bias intimidation. We worked hard at finding that proof, and finally we did. We feel good about that."

As an American, if that comment doesn't frighten you, it should.

Do you get any sense whatsoever that this jury approached the trial with an assumption of innocence?

Alex said...

Penny - I suspect that one would look at that jury with admiration rather then horror if they were dealing with a child rapist. It's all about whether the crime fits into your notion of something that is truly evil or not. For homosexual activists any act of nastiness towards a a gay is a capital crime.

Alex said...

Also how does this case fit the leftist narrative of homophobia. Ravi is Indian!

PatCA said...

somefeller, he was on a student visa, and part of his contemplated sentence is deportation. If his parents already lived here, why would he need a visa? It's my understanding a college will try to straighten out an undocumented person's papers to admit him.

Penny said...

Bias intimidation laws give juries the right to sit in judgement of what the accused was THINKING!

Not doing, but THINKING!

If this foolishness continues, next thing we know, juries will be listening to "expert" testimony from mind readers, for cripes sake.

Alex said...

Penny... even if Ravi did it out of gay-hatred he shouldn't be prosecuted for having evil thoughts. The same way I'd not prosecute someone who said he hated Jews if he didn't commit violence.

MnMark said...

For homosexual activists any act of nastiness towards a a gay is a capital crime.

That's true. Homosexuals seem to be very angry that there are people who find their behavior repulsive. It's something they would do best to accept, because if they keep pushing this persecution of normal people for being repelled by homosexuality and saying so - which is an entirely normal response to a perversion - there will eventually be a backlash that will leave them worse off than they were before.

If you like having sex with animals, for instance, or get aroused by having people piss and crap on you, you are going to have to accept that your sexual behavior is grotesque to normal people. You can't go huffing around about how persecuted you are because people find you repulsive and even dare to express their opinion in that regard. There IS such a thing as a repulsive sexual behavior; I think it's built into us to find certain things repulsive. We can probably be conditioned to see them as less repulsive, which is what homosexuals and liberals are trying to do by forcing homosexuality into the public/entertainment sphere like they are. It's not unreasonable to expect that bestiality or some other perversion will be the next to get the "tolerance" treatment. After all, back when homosexuals were asking to just be left alone to pursue their perversion in private, who could have imagined that agreeing to that would have led to them demanding to be able to get "married" and adopt innocent children>

Palladian said...

That MnMark, he finds homosexuality so icky that he just can't stop thinking about it. And not just in general, but a the wettest, nastiest mechanical and biological details of it just constantly run through his afflicted little brain! In fact it's so repulsive and icky to him that he'll probably post another 3 times telling us all about how filthy and abnormal it is! Just so, you know, he can think about it some more.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

That MnMark, he finds homosexuality so icky that he just can't stop thinking about it.

Personally, I would find the idea that I can't use my own dorm room because my roommate was having sex, icky (and really really annoying).....no matter what kind of sex.

wpw said...

Stupid verdict in a stupid case about a stupid young man.

The case should have been lost when student after student after student testified to hearing about the camera - but not one of them thought it was wrong.

I suspect this will be overturned on appeal; plenty of grounds there due to the judge's apparent bias in favor of the prosecution... and for ineffective counsel based on the differential for the plea bargain offered (600 hours community service and a several-year probation).

In the end, he'll have the evidence-tampering charges stick, and that will be used to send him "home" to India.

Alex said...

Fact is homophobia is very rampant in public middle/high schools and nobody is doing anything about it.

Michael said...

Wpw." Stupid verdict in a stupid case about a stupid young man."

Two stupid young men. One chose a long term solution to a short term problem.

gbarto said...

PatCA - I-20s are usually requested from abroad before the student comes to the U.S. Trying to change or arrange student visitor status when you're already here raises a million red flags and if there's any issue with your school doing it, the ability to issue I-20s can be pulled at the drop of a hat. So whatever else you think of this guy, the odds are pretty solid that he was a legal immigrant.

Chip S. said...

Palladian, I manage to get through a typical day quite easily w/o giving other people's sex practices a thought, but every so often it's right there in front of me. Like when I went to SF for a weekend of games at AT&T Park last summer which happened to coincide with the Gay Pride parade. It's pretty difficult not to associate homosexuality with "nasty, mechanical" sex practices when they're being performed in the middle of a major thoroughfare in the name of "pride".

IOW, I don't think all the blame--or even close to a preponderance of it--falls on people like MnMark.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Fact is homophobia is very rampant in public middle/high schools and nobody is doing anything about it.

What do you want them to "do" about it.

If the homophobia is not expressed in a violent manner or in a bullying way....there is nothing TO do.

You can't make people stop thinking what they are thinking or feel the way that they feel. The 'thought' police don't really exist.

You can't MAKE people be friends or force acceptance. This case is a prime example

Indoctrination doesn't work in most cases and all it does is create even more pushback.

The best you can do is to try to instill tolerance and allow avoidance.

Writ Small said...

Althouse wrote . . .

That sounds like a presumption of guilt, based on a failure of the defendant to testify. Do the liberal values about the rights of the accused evaporate when there's an opportunity to take a stand against homophobia?

Bazelon argues that a better defense strategy might have been to put the defendant on the stand. Does it really follow that her "liberal values about the rights of the accused evaporate(d)?"

That seems like Althouse is confusing legal principles with pragmatic judgments. Similarly. because I think OJ and Casey Anthony were really guilty doesn't mean I don't believe in the legal concept of a presumption of innocence for the accused.

Alex said...

DBQ - it's not just the homophobia, but a general level of bullying that is going on that is destroying an entire generation of kids. I never heard about 11-12 year old kids hanging themselves over bullying 20 years ago. This is a new thing.

Alex said...

Here'a a choice comment from a news story:

The time has passed in many areas of the country when you can violate gays with impunity.

Now you know what this is all about.

traditionalguy said...

Jury verdicts are usually right. They seriously seek the truth and apply it to the law the judge charges.

The question here is WTF kind of law do they have that turns practical jokes into thought crimes?

I suspect that every suicide that happens among youngsters is "caused" by depression from rejection by a cruel person/s responding to them without love or respect.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

I never heard about 11-12 year old kids hanging themselves over bullying 20 years ago. This is a new thing.

Possibly the difference and what is new is the 'new media'. Social networking and the interconnected-ness. The bullies and the bullied can't get away from each other.

Plus the anonymous nature of the electronic media allows people to be meaner and more cruel than they would be in person. We certainly see this in blog comment sections.

I don't think the actual bullying is worse, but the kids can't get away from it.

This and it seems that we have raised generations of precious snowflakes who can't handle difficulty. Reference the Occupy everywhere crowd who think that they are promised success with no work.

Plus....where are the parents to stand with their children and tell them how to handle bullying.

Bullying should not ever be tolerated.

However, the definition of bullying seems to have been downgraded to just thinking something or holding a differing opinion.

leslyn said...

Danno said... "Althouse, thank you for the analysis of this case. I haven't been reading much about it and your blogging distilled it down to the real issue in this coutroom."

Didn't anyone read or think about this verdict on their own? Do you only accept received wisdom? From the blog:

"(...The jury) delivered a guilty verdict on all charges, including invasion of privacy and bias intimidation, on Friday."

NOT SO.

"In the high-profile case that sparked awareness of cyber-bullying and harassment of gay teenagers, Ravi, 20, was convicted on parts of all 15 counts against him —including four bias intimidation counts —involving his former roommate, Tyler Clementi, an 18-year-old freshman. However, the jury had some difficulty with portions of the bias counts, giving a split verdict on some of the specific acts in which he was charged. The jury found Ravi not guilty of all bias counts pertaining to the man Clementi was seen with during the webcam spying."
http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2012/03/dharun_ravi_found_guilty_in_ru.html.

That was the first thing that jumped out at me. The second was that there was no discussion of the good faith effort of the jury. This jury was chosen by both the prosecution and the defense, which means we do our best to ensure a fair representation.

"Ferreira said the jurors were not in conflict with each other during deliberations. 'I'm actually satisfied with the verdict. It was very hard, very difficult. Nothing means we would be personally biased toward the defendant. You have to look at all the facts and the evidence. That's why you have 24 counts guilty and 11 not guilty. Witness statements and the evidence were not there to prove those,' he said. "This was very difficult, but it was a really good experience. You feel like justice has been served." (Same source.)

Alex said...

DBQ - I'm not talking about harsh words on a Facebook page, but active violent bullying. Taunting in the hallways, throwing rocks, punching, spitting. All of course when no adults are around to witness it. These teenage bullies are quite smart and they're getting away with cold-blooded murder.

Alex said...

lesyln - the angle here seems to be that Ravi was convicted of a thoughtcrime rather then real crimes. That's how the left is spinning it too.

Jake said...

I have lost all faith in the jury system. Verdicts such as this are all too common. Jurors ignore the law and decide what feels right. There is no presumption of innocence in criminal or civil trials. Defendants are expected to prove their innocence/non-liability. It's a joke.

bagoh20 said...

I have to think that if all the facts were the same except that Clementi was straight and ashamed for being caught on video masturbating this would not have gone to a trial. In other words if you remove the gay element, there would be no prosecution and defiantly no conviction.

These hate crimes have teeth only because they are based on a kind of bias that says the minority victim is less capable of dealing with life because of a "weakness" associated with their special status. It treats them like they have a handicap of some kind.

PatCA said...

Well, I worked at a college, and immigration status is not strictly enforced. The State Dept. and the school do not want a stink.

But that's besides my point. I don't care if he or his parents are legal or not. I'm just saying other people, liberal commentators, do, and place his action in a different perspective than an Okie from Muskogie perp, for instance.

I think the hate crime law is wrong, even tho his actions were repulsive. It will lead to many situations like this.

Christopher said...

The so-called "bullying" epidemic is just a bunch of bullshit made up by the media and politicians to push a cause and show how caring they are.

This guy was stupid and played a cruel joke.

I do not believe he wanted his roommate (who I would remind you was an adult) to kill himself. I do not believe he did it because his roommate was gay.

He did it because he was a moron and thought it would be funny, but because his stupid joke had an unforeseeable effect on a person belonging to a politically protected group he may spend 10 years in prison.


People have always been picked on for having particular traits but I don't recall the media getting the vapors over fat/ugly/socially awkward teens killing themselves.

leslyn said...

@Jake, You haven't spent much time in real courtrooms, have you? Juries are one of the few things that give me hope in this increasingly fractured, and fractious, society.

Andy R. said...

Are people of the opinion that using a hidden camera to capture your roommate having sex and then sharing access to that camera with other people so they can watch shouldn't be a crime?

leslyn said...

Alex said... "lesyln -the angle here seems to be that Ravi was convicted of a thoughtcrime rather then real crimes. That's how the left is spinning it too."

Alex, I realize that. But the conversation is skewed when the predicate facts are incorrect. How might the comments have changed?

Saint Croix said...

Dharun Ravi committed actual crimes by secretly photographing his roommate.

Then 60 Minutes would go to jail, right?

Journalist exposes a secret. Victim of the story gets upset, kills himself. Is that a crime?

I think there's a big free speech issue in this case. Do we want to start sending people to prison for gossip?

Even the invasion of privacy stuff is dubious. Its his dorm room, he has a right to walk in there.

We all know its not nice to talk about other people's sex lives. But it's not exactly a crime, is it?

And what happened to treating adults like adults? The victim was an adult, not a child. Let's not turn him into a fucking infant. Why are we talking about bullies in the schoolyard? Are we in grade school?

He's a man. He was old enough to get drafted and die in Vietnam.

As a man, as an adult, he's responsible for his sexuality. And his suicide.

Alex said...

This might set a very nasty precedent of going to jail for thoughtcrime instead of a real one. What I'd want to know is what would Ravi be sentenced to for:

* the invasion of privacy
* harassment

Also why no discussion of why this Ravi dude didn't discuss the fact that he didn't like his dorm room used for gay sex with Clementi instead of outing him? What is with young people these days? Or is it the height of stupidity to send off a young person to live at a university known more for frat parties then serious studying?

Saint Croix said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mike's America said...

I can't find any excuse for what Ravi did. Whatever his motivation was or the technical points of law his actions played a direct part in the tragic death of another human being and those who value life cannot simply turn away because they find the deceaseed to be morally deficient in some way.

Alex said...

Mike's America - so for every suicide that happens from now on we have to find all the culprits involved and put them in jail right?

Christopher said...

Andy R.,

Are you of the opinion that people should be given 10 years in prison for invasion of privacy (and that's not even taking into account roommates can invade each other's privacy in such a manner)?


Mike's America,

Nice straw man there but despite what you say nobody is defending Ravi's actions, they are merely criticizing the fact that he is facing 10 years in prison because the man who killed himself happened to belong to a particular group.

Were he not gay this would at most amount to an invasion of privacy (and even that is somewhat iffy).

Christopher said...

*That should be:

and that's not even taking into account whether roommates can invade each other's privacy in such a manner in the first place

Andy R. said...

Are you of the opinion that people should be given 10 years in prison for invasion of privacy (and that's not even taking into account roommates can invade each other's privacy in such a manner)?

There is also the witness tampering and destruction of evidence. And he should have taken a deal.

But no, I'm not a fan of much of our criminal justice system, including absurdly over-sentencing people.

I'm just saying, let's not pretend this guy didn't commit any crimes.

ed said...

"I'm just saying, let's not pretend this guy didn't commit any crimes." - Andy R

He did not commit =any= crimes whatsoever.

1. He had a webcam operating in his room. If his roommate had a problem with that then that is his roommate's problem.

2. He communicated about something that actually happened. So no possible charges of defamation, slander or fabrication.

3. He had every right to do both #1 and #2.

Pretend nothing. I'm stating this as objective fact. And frankly if this complete and utter nonsense doesn't put yet another nail in the coffin that is respect for jurisprudence then nothing shall.

The legal system is utter crap and I'm not convinced that the judiciary isn't utter worthless beyond any redemption along with the entire legal profession. A profession that wears the facade of respectability and reason but that is little more than justification for it's continued existence. A mobius strip of incompetence and inanity unworthy of reflection or redemption.

What actual legal justification is there for this conviction? What precise law did this person violate? He was mean to someone?

Life? Liberty? Pursuit of happiness? And no meanies!

The tribe of truculent schoolchildren are alive and well and gone to law school. It's a Clockwork Blather.

Hagar said...

If Clementi was "straight" and had taken up with a "scruffy looking, older" woman and had sexual trysts with her in the dorm room shared with Mr. Ravi, would Mr. Ravi have reacted any differently?

I kind of think it would have been much the same.

Further, having such trysts in a shared dorm room - "straight" or "gay" - is that not, if not an "invasion of privacy," surely a breach of something that Mr. Ravi would have both a moral and a legal "right" to feel aggrieved about?

If Clementi's encounters had been with a woman and he went and jumped off the bridge on being exposed by Mr. Ravi's video, would we have jumped to the same conclusions as to his motives for suicide?

CWJ said...

Leslyn @2:28. Yahoo also led with guilty on all charges, so Althouse was hardly alone. But yours is a distinction without a substantive difference. 24 guilties and 11 not guilties? 35 counts from a single incident!?! Really?!? By God, they were going to find him guilty of something! Witch hunt/thought crimes indeed.

P.S. Blogger problems prevented me from posting in a more timely manner

halojones-fan said...

This thread is like someone's idea of a parody conservative discussion.

Look, what's going on here is not "omg TEH GAYZ homolibertardian AGENDAAAAA". What's happening is that America is trying to be a society whose response to "he was hazed so bad that he killed himself" is something more evolved than "suck it up and deal, ya wimpy faggot".

David said...

I keep seeing that word, "gay" associated with unhappy, despondent, suicidal, angry, irrational people. Inigo Montoya had a comment that suits the situation...

Saint Croix said...

his actions played a direct part in the tragic death of another human being

Yeah, I think that's why he's going to jail for 10 years. The jury wanted very badly to punish him for the suicide.

Which you can't do. It's a very basic principle of criminal law that you can't be held responsible for shit that other people do.

If you commit suicide, you're responsible. Not your ex-girfriend, your mean roommate, society, or your mother. You are responsible.

This is why the judge instructed the jury to ignore the suicide.

And they clearly failed to do so.

I think the judge fucked up royally by telling the jury to consider the suicide as evidence of "bias intimidation."

Ignore the suicide but consider the suicide as proof?

I think the judge should have kept the suicide out of the court case completely. This seems to me a rather blatant example of prejudice outweighing any possible relevance.

Note also the judge lets in the suicide, while excluding the suicide note.

The suicide note places the blame of the suicide squarely on the man committing suicide ("I'm sorry"). By omitting it, the jury is far more likely to blame the defendant for the suicide.

He's positively inviting the jury to punish Ravi for his roommate's suicide.

Saint Croix said...

What's happening is that America is trying to be a society whose response to "he was hazed so bad that he killed himself" is something more evolved than "suck it up and deal, ya wimpy faggot".

More evidence that many liberals consider this case to be an opportunity for a show trial.

Liberals are utterly lawless, I swear. They don't need the law, because they are convinced of their own moral superiority and ability to Spot Evil.

Good luck on your demon hunt. "If he had a gay friend I would have acquitted him."

Lack of gay friend = witchcraft.

This case is like the flipside of acquitting O.J. Simpson. Cop said the N word in a screenplay. Kid was weirded out by homosexuality.

Who needs facts? Who needs law? If a liberal sees an inkling of racism, a hint of homophobia, then the liberal knows that Satan must be near. And Satan must be stopped!

So 10 years in jail for Indian kid.

"Burn him at the stake! Before he makes more people die with his Evil Camera!"

Matthew said...

"Are people of the opinion that using a hidden camera to capture your roommate having sex and then sharing access to that camera with other people so they can watch shouldn't be a crime?"

-- That is a crime. Whether or not it amounts to bias intimidation, I believe, is where the disconnect is happening.

Matthew said...

"I can't find any excuse for what Ravi did. Whatever his motivation was or the technical points of law his actions played a direct part in the tragic death of another human being and those who value life cannot simply turn away because they find the deceaseed to be morally deficient in some way."

-- Guy's an asshole, we agree. Is he an asshole deserving of, what, 10 years in jail? Also, what if it turns out that Clementi was planning suicide for awhile? What if he was mentally unbalanced and would have done it anyway?

Those are things the defense could never prove because they were never given the option to review the facts. Which is why this should win on appeal.

Matthew said...

"Good luck on your demon hunt. "If he had a gay friend I would have acquitted him.""

My thought when I read that is that, possibly, the guy's gay friend did not want to be outed. Maybe he was comfortable with close friends knowing that he is gay, but did not want to go in front of the court and admit it.

Also, did the prosecution ever claim that Ravi had no gay friends? If not, then it seems kind of irresponsible to just say he did not because no one came in to testify if it was never challenged.

hicks said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
hicks said...

The problem, o.k., "one" problem with this discussion is that we were not in the court room to hear and see all that the jury heard and saw.

To that end:
? Has the transcript been made accessible? Especially a transcript of the judge's instructions to the jury?

I've seen what appear to be actual video clips of various portions of the trial.
? Is there a complete video record that is available?

As for the possibility of a civil "wrongful death" lawsuit - I think it's unlikely, the criminal law exclusions for evidence such as the suicide note, Clementi's computer files and the diary belonging to Clementi's "lover" might not be applicable.

Ultimately the guilty verdict will be overturned if the judge permitted the suicide to be a factor in the jury's deliberation or verdict.(of course it will be easier if the defense objected to those instructions)

hicks said...

oh yeah - putting in Ravi's arguably "self-serving" writing about having a gay friend without providing some other evidence was a mistake

Megalass said...

Back in my college days, "Marcy", a girl down the hall used the temporary absence of her 3 roomies to enjoy a small orgy in her dorm room. The party featured 3 guys, 2 gals and several Costco-sized bunches of gladioli, artfully, if not tastefully, arranged in various receptacles and Polaroids were taken of the festivities. The Polaroids were sitting out in a stack on Marcy's dresser until her roomies noticed them. These 3 girls had already had to submit to one massive delousing procedure from Marcy's last bout of crabs, so they had few reservations about sharing the Polaroids with everyone else on the floor. Marcy didn't kill herself...as far as I know...and no authorities above the level of RA got involved in the ensuing dramatics.
Once, before the Glorious Sexual Revolution, a student who invited any person,student or non-student, of any sex, into a shared dorm room for the purpose of sexual intimacy would be kicked out and rightly so. Why should anyone have to put up with being "sexiled" from their own rooms? If a student wants privacy, they can damn well pay for a single room or go to a motel.

Unknown said...

"That sounds like a presumption of guilt, based on a failure of the defendant to testify. Do the liberal values about the rights of the accused evaporate when there's an opportunity to take a stand against homophobia?"

Since when do liberals have supposed "values" about the rights of the accused? That train left the station a long time ago, and I'm frankly sick of hearing people complain, for the ten millionth time, that liberals aren;t living up to how incredibly awesome we know liberals really are supposed to be by virtue of being liberals. The reality is that where there is an opportunity to "take a stand against homophobia," the liberal acknowledges no rights whatsoever. People who are surprised by this over and over and over, reveal themselves to be easily swayed by self-congratulatory labels like "liberal," ignoring the substance of an ideological predisposition that has no internal limiting principle whatsoever.

Alessandra said...

This is an appallingly unjust law, as are most "hate" crimes laws, which are nothing but a disingenuous name to cover up making certain groups be above others regarding justice.

Count me in with the people, like the judge and several law professors, who think this law is muddled. It cannot be constitutional. The fundamental principle of justice is equality before the law. This principle has been completely violated in this law.

================

"Proof that the target of the underlying offense was selected by the defendant, or by another acting in concert with the defendant, because of race, color, religion, gender, handicap, sexual orientation, or ethnicity shall give rise to a permissive inference by the trier of fact that the defendant acted with a purpose to intimidate an individual or group of individuals because of race, color, religion, gender, handicap, sexual orientation, or ethnicity."
================

Second, there is this frightening thing called "a permissive inference." What is this? A "permissive inference" is a license to lie and to convict someone based on a lie of their purpose to commit a crime?

It means you can make up, that is, you can lie that someone tried to intimidate someone else, or you can lie that they had a purpose of intimidating someone else, when they were not trying to intimidate them.

And I thought vague laws were unconstitutional as well: permissive inference! Can anything be more vague?

Suppose Ravi had done the same very thing to a fat heterosexual. No bias, no intimidation, no selection of above the law categories. This is barbaric. The exact same actions, and the selection because the other guy was fat. Why should one crime by more punishable than the other? The motives are equally bad. So, in Clementi's case, by the law, the jury can make up that Ravi had a motive to intimidate Clementi, when he didn't really have one -- but in the case of the fat kid, the jury has to stick to reality and the truth of the motive: no intimidation.

If that is the law, it must be scrapped now. First, it's a blatant violation of equality before the law. It is unequal justice. How could this law even be passed? You cannot have a law that states that you are allowed to convict someone based on a lie.

And explain to me why no man who has raped a woman because she is a woman and heterosexual, no rapist who was keen on intimidating that woman has ever been tried with a hate crime.

This law makes every rape a hate crime.

More than 25% of male homosexuals are involved in intimate violence. Let's consider the homosexual batterers. If a homosexual chooses to batter his homosexual partner, he has specifically selected a homosexual as a victim. By this law, he has committed a hate crime.

Yet, where are the hate crime lawsuits against violent homosexuals?

I don't see any.

This case and this law are a complete travesty of justice.