Prosecutor Bruce Kaplan said that the sentence was too short. Ravi could have received 10 years in prison. Instead, Superior Court Judge Glenn Berman ordered him to serve 30 days in Middlesex County Jail, beginning May 31.
He also ordered Ravi to three years’ probation and 300 hours of community service and to pay a fee of $10,000 to be used to assist victims of bias crimes. He said he would recommend that Ravi, who legally immigrated from India as a child, not be deported.
“I haven’t heard you apologize once,” the judge said. He said Ravi caused pain to multiple victims — including the Clementis and his own family — and had tried to cover up his crime by altering his many Twitter messages, deleting 86 text messages, and attempting to influence the testimony of a witness who also had viewed Clementi kissing a man in his dorm room via Ravi’s webcam.
Eighteen-year-old Clementi, of Ridgewood, N.J., committed suicide days later by jumping off the George Washington Bridge.
Ravi’s plan to spy on his freshman roommate was “cold, calculated and methodically conceived,” Berman said.
The Ravi and Clementi families hastily exited the courthouse without comment. Ravi’s lawyers are likely to appeal the conviction,which they have said was in error.
During the four-hour sentencing hearing, Clementi’s mother tearfully asked the judge for justice.
“I am asking the court to do the right thing. The whole country is watching. This ... should not be tolerated,” she said. The Clementi family had asked that Ravi serve jail time, though not the maximum sentence.
Ravi’s mother, Sabitha, asked for mercy, sobbing as she described how her son had endured unfair attacks on his character by the media. “He was absolutely broken in pieces” she said.
At this, Ravi began to weep, the first time he showed any emotion during the long hearing.
The gay rights group Garden State Equality reacted swiftly to the verdict, calling it insufficient.
“We opposed throwing the book at Dharun Ravi. We have spoken out against giving him the maximum sentence of 10 years in jail and against deporting him. That would have been vengeance beyond punishment and beyond sending a message to the rest of society,” the group’s chairman, Steven Goldstein, said in a statement.
“But we have similarly rejected the other extreme that Ravi should have gotten no jail time at all, and today’s sentencing is closer to that extreme than the other. This was not merely a childhood prank gone awry.”
By comparison, the organization said, the state mandates that shoplifters receive a minimum sentence of 90 days incarceration for their third shoplifting offense.
Contact Jan Hefler at 856-779-3224 or firstname.lastname@example.org.