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Topics In the News
Prosecution to Appeal Ravi Sentence
Posted by: Claude J. Summers on 05/22/12
Last updated on: 05/22/12
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Jane Clementi, Tyler Clementi's mother, addresses the court during Ravi's sentencing hearing.

Middlesex Country, New Jersey Prosecutor Bruce J. Kaplan announced on May 22, 2012 that his office will appeal the sentence handed down on May 21 against Dharun Ravi, the ex-Rutgers University student convicted of invading the privacy of his dormmate by taping a sexual encounter with a man.

Ravi was also convicted of numerous counts involving the destruction of evidence, lying to authorities, witness tampering, and bias intimidation. Despite the convictions on 24 charges, Judge Berman handed down a sentence so lenient as to be a miscarriage of justice.

Kaplan said Ravi's crimes warranted "more than a 30-day jail term" and called Superior Judge Glenn Berman's sentence "insufficient under the sentencing laws of this state, the facts that were determined by a jury and long-standing appellate precedent."

CNN Senior Legal Analyst Jeffry Toobin said that the appeal was unlikely to succeed. He noted that under New Jersey law, the judge had the right to sentence Ravi to anything from zero to ten years in prison. He said the appeal was mainly "a registering of outrage."

On CNN, Toobin observed, "The heart of this case was a paradox: Was this a prank that just got out of control after the fact, or was it a hate crime? He was convicted of a hate crime, but the judge really treated this like a prank."

However, legal experts interviewed by the New Jersey Star-Ledger differed on the likely success of the prosecution's appeal. Some saw potential because the judge sentenced Ravi to jail on the lesser charges of hindering apprehension and tampering with witnesses, while he gave him probation for the three bias counts, which carry a presumption of prison time.

Despite the slim chance of the appeal's success, I applaud the prosecutor's initiative. Outrage needs to be expressed at this miscarriage of justice. The sentence is an affront to the suffering of Clementi's family and to the memory of a sensitive young man who faced ridicule and harassment at the hands of a "colossally insensitive" individual whose acts were not only repugnant but also criminal.

The video below reports on the sentencing of Ravi.

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