Dharun Ravi could walk free from jail next week



New York: Former Rutgers University student Dharun Ravi, who was sentenced to a month in jail after being convicted of using his webcam to spy on his gay roommate, is set to be released from a New Jersey jail next week after completing 20 days of his 30-day term.

India-born Ravi, 20, received five days' credit for good behavior and an additional five for working while in jail, enabling him to shave off 10 days from his sentence, which he had begun in Middlesex County Jail on May 31.

He could be released next Tuesday. Ravi was convicted in March this year on 15 counts of bias intimidation and invasion of privacy charges for spying on the sexual encounter of his roommate Tyler Clementi with another man in September 2010.

Days later, Clementi had committed suicide by jumping off the George Washington bridge near here.

The Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office planned to appeal the jail term imposed by of the New Brunswick Superior Court Judge Glenn Berman, saying the sentence was too lenient.

While Ravi had faced a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison, the prosecutors had wanted a jail term of at least five years.

Ravi had agreed to begin serving his jail term early instead of waiting for an appeals court to first rule on the prosecution's demand for a longer jail term.

Explaining his lenient sentence, Berman had said he did not believe Ravi should be incarcerated in a state prison with murderers and rapists.

Before beginning his sentence, Ravi had for the first time late last month publicly apologised for his "immature and insensitive". Ravi said he regretted his "stupid and childish" choices when he set up a webcam to spy on Clementi but said he did not act out of hatred.

"I accept responsibility for and regret my thoughtless, insensitive, immature, stupid and childish choices... My behavior and actions, which at no time were motivated by hate, bigotry, prejudice or desire to hurt, humiliate or embarrass anyone, were nonetheless the wrong choices and decisions.

"I apologise to everyone affected by those choices," Ravi had said in a statement.

Clementi's parents had however rejected his apology and had expressed disappointment over the short prison sentence imposed on him.

"As to the so-called 'apology', it was, of course, no apology at all, but a public relations piece produced by Ravi's advisors only after Judge Berman scolded Ravi in open court for his failure to have expressed a word of remorse or apology," the Clementis had said.

Judge Berman had also admonished Ravi for not showing any remorse for his "colossal insensitivity."

During sentencing, Berman had said, "I heard this jury say, 'guilty' 288 times 24 questions, 12 jurors. That's the multiplication. I haven't heard you apologize once."

Apart from the 30 days in jail, Ravi was also sentenced to three years' probation, ordered to do 300 hours of community service and pay more than USD 11,000 in fines.

PTI