4:45 PM, May 21st, 2012
First, it was never (legally) about Tyler Clementi’s suicide. Under American law, people are not responsible for every subsequent consequence of their actions. So, for the purposes of understanding Ravi’s sentence, imagine that the suicide didn’t happen. Ravi secretly videotaped Clementi having sex with another man, embarrassed him, and, yes, in some (but not most) of his comments, made a couple of snide references to homosexuality. For that, he received 30 days in jail, three years’ probation, 300 hours of community service, and a $10,000 fine.
12:08 PM, March 16th, 2012
The only way out would be a verdict that no one will like: guilty, but with no jail time for “bias intimidation.” This would send the right message while not ruining the life of an average guy who picked on a delicate kid. It would protect hate-crime laws from being undermined by a bad case. And it would acknowledge who’s really on trial in this case: all of us.
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