Immigration

Dharun Ravi Released from Jail, Will Not Be Deported for Spying on Gay Roommate

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Dharun Ravi

Dharun Ravi, 20, the former Rutgers student convicted of a hate crime for using a web cam to spy on his gay roommate (who then committed suicide), was released Tuesday morning in New Jersey after serving 20 days of his 30-day jail sentence.

On Monday immigration officials announced they would not deport Ravi. Ravi is an Indian citizen but has lived most of his life in America.

Jacob Sullum has written extensively about the trumped-up case, which could have landed Ravi in jail for 10 years, an outcome that nobody seemed to actually want. Based on the response in some quarters that 30 days was a "slap on the wrist" for secretly watching Tyler Clementi kiss another guy, it is clear that people believe that Ravi should be held somewhat accountable for Clementi's subsequent suicide. It's hard to imagine anybody thinking Ravi should get more than a 30-day jail sentence for a five-second spying session had Clementi not killed himself.

Two big myths about the Ravi case still persist, and I've seen them in online comments from people who think Ravi's sentence was too lenient: One, that Ravi recorded Clementi having sex and streamed it live online; and two, that Clementi was in the closet and Ravi outed him. Both of these claims are false. The New York Times is still inaccurately reporting that Ravi used his camera to watch Clementi have sex (though Ravi did seem to intend to do so in his second failed spying attempt).

In any event, you'd think the possibility that Ravi could have served 10 years for this incident due to overzealous prosecutors would prompt hate crime law supporters to realize that sentencing enhancements are a terrible way to encourage social reform, but I've seen nothing to indicate this has happened. Instead, we get analyses of how sincere Ravi's apology was or was not.

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  1. College students having anonymous hook-ups with sketchy older strangers they met on internet chat rooms will have a reason to sleep uneasy tonight.

  2. to spy on his gay roommate (who then later committed suicide),

    You are implying causation where it was not shown. Probably wouldn’t support a libel suit, but do you really want to find out?

    Your welcome. My bill is in the mail.

    1. “Then” doesn’t imply causation.

      “If the sky is gray, then you won’t get sunburned” doesn’t imply that the coloration of the sky causes sunburns.

      1. Well, you’re using the word in a different way. His is in the future tense while yours is still in the present tense.

    2. “then” is a wonderful word, the meaning of which changes according to context. Among the available meanings is “as a consequence” or “as a result”. You will note that it is half of the classical expression of causation: if X, then Y.

      By using the word in a context where it could mean “as a result/consequence”, rather than using the more neutral “later”, Scott certainly invites us to believe that Mr. Ravi is responsible for driving his roommate to suicide.

  3. so that “you have no idea what you’re putting in your body,” as a DEA lab director tells her.

    Whatever. Mo different than what you would do if you try any other new product on the illicit market or switch up to a new dealer. You try it out on stray dogs, cats and runaways first.

    1. Or hot dogs.

  4. Comments appear disabled on the bath salts story.

    1. I’ll work on getting that fixed.

    2. That was weird. I copy’n’pasted from the very page I was on.

  5. “prompt hate crime law supporters to realize that sentencing enhancements are a terrible way to encourage social reform”

    Given the philosophy behind hate crime laws, it is more likely that supporters of such laws will argue they need to be strengthened and/or expanded in order that incidents like this don’t “slip through the cracks.”

  6. He’s a young man who, in his first month of college, instigated his roommate to commit suicide. How can pundits possibly think his apology is insincere?

  7. He’s a young man who, in his first month of college, instigated his roommate to commit suicide.

    [citation required]

    1. Does he at least get the 4.0 GPA, or did Hollywood lie to me again?

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Curve_(film)

  8. it is clear that people believe that Ravi should be held somewhat accountable for Clementi’s subsequent suicide.

    I have yet to hear of anyone establish a causal link between the two events. Not that causality is necessary in the minds of the properly indoctrinated.

  9. The prosecutor is appealing the sentence, claiming it was too short, and is seeking at least a 5-year prison term for Rhavi.

    Rhavi’s defense is appealing the hate-crime ruling, which could overturn the conviction completely.

    I know the young man has made his life and home here in America. But the legal climate is not friendly to him right now. He would do well to seek asylum in a non-extradition country and use his (likely) considerable smarts to make a good living and pay cheap rent. He can’t go back to India, since we have an extradition treaty with them.

    Poor kids, Rhavi and Clementi, all around. The people who call our local talker seem largely to feel Rhavi should not even have been brought to trial, but I fear they don’t represent a majority.

    I really, really wish that Sullum’s point about the myths of this case were better stated in the media.

    1. Ravi’s right to appeal because this will go on his record. At the appeal they should allow more evidence, like the suicide note.

      I believe his 30 day sentence was because he did not comply with police officers. That might not be reversible.

      Running away might not be a good idea. It makes him look more guilty. Plus, I don’t think anything worse can happen now. I doubt a higher sentence would go through

      While India has an extradition with the US, there are all sorts of clauses an exceptions that may prevent extradition. I don’t know the Indian laws, but if their law says he already served his sentence, he cannot be extradited for a lengthier sentence.

  10. Isn’t it ironic that liberals complain we have the highest incarceration rate in the world, yet they want Ravi to get a tougher sentence.

  11. Those guys from Revenge of the Nerds would have gotten the gas chamber for bugging the sorority house nowadays.

  12. Thank you, Scott Shackford, for this sentence: “The New York Times is still inaccurately reporting that Ravi used his camera to watch Clementi have sex…” Yes, the New York Times equated kissing with “having sex” in several stories.

    I am disappointed that the newspaper I once trusted has been no better than a tabloid in reporting on the Dharun Ravi trial. Their public editor agreed with me that the story should be corrected, but their corrections editor replied to my complaint with an unintelligible excuse: “The webcam did spy on the roommate while he was having sex, though the defendant watched only the kissing.”

    By NYT reasoning, my webcam will spy on my cat, sleeping in the room where I now sit, even after I go to bed. It will spy on my cat even though my webcam is not activated.

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