Dharun Ravi Makes Court Appearance
A day after apologizing for the first time, a former Rutgers University student convicted of using a webcam to spy on his gay roommate gave up his right to remain free on Wednesday while prosecutors appeal his 30-day jail sentence.
Dharun Ravi appeared in state court to formally put on the record his decision to report to jail Thursday and waive his right not to be punished twice for the same crime.
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His lawyer, Joseph Benedict, said Ravi intends to begin doing community service when he’s out of jail, and will start paying fines on Aug. 1. His sentence includes 300 hours of community service and more than $11,000 in court assessments — $10,000 of it to support groups that assist victims of bias crimes.
The state’s appeal of Superior Court Judge Glenn Berman’s sentence as too lenient had automatically stayed the sentence.
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Prosecutors were seeking to have Ravi sent to state prison rather than county jail — though not necessarily the 10-year maximum sentence Ravi faced for bias intimidation. Middlesex County First Assistant Prosecutor Julia McClure said in court Wednesday that she thought a five-year sentence would be appropriate, but said she understands a judge could rightfully order a shorter sentence.
But Ravi announced Tuesday he had decided to start his jail term despite the appeal. He also issued his first public apology while continuing to deny his actions were motivated by hate or bigotry.
Clementi’s parents, who had attended all of Ravi’s previous court hearings, were not present Wednesday.
Because Ravi’s sentence is less than a year, it decreases the chances that federal immigration authorities will seek to have him deported to India, where he was born and remains a citizen. Even though he is heading to jail, Ravi is moving ahead with an appeal of his conviction.
Also on Wednesday, Berman went into more depth on why he thought a 30-day jail sentence was appropriate. He said one key factor was that he wanted to deter others from acting as Ravi did.
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)