This just in from WNYC New York: a New Jersey judge has just sentenced former Rutgers student Dharun Ravi to a probationary sentence that includes 30 days in jail, along with three years’ probation, mandatory counseling, 300 hours of community service, and a $10,000 probation fee.
Judge Glenn Berman, who could have sentenced Ravi to up to ten years in jail, called his actions “cold, calculated and methodically conceived.” He also noted that through the entire ordeal, Ravi had not apologized even once for spying on and cyberbullying Tyler Clementi, his gay roommate, who subsequently committed suicide by jumping off of the George Washington Bridge. The New York Times notes that Berman spent several minutes reprimanding Ravi at the hearing, making the light sentence even more puzzling.
Joe over at Joe.My.God writes that Berman cited Ravi’s lack of a prior arrest record and the unlikeness that he will re-offend as a reason for the short sentence.
Does a 30-day jail sentence even qualify as a “slap on the wrist?” I’m aghast. I agree with Garden State Equality Chair Steven Goldstein, who said in a statement:
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.
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. This was not a crime without bias.
In my opinion, justice was not served in this sentence. What kind of message does this send to LGBT youth — and the bullies who torment them — across the country?