Saturday, February 25, 2012

Rutgers Dorm Spying Trial Begins With Questions of Motivation

This from the New York Times:
Drawing starkly different visions of the boundary between boorish immaturity and criminal malice, prosecution and defense lawyers on Friday opened the trial of a former Rutgers University freshman who spied on his roommate in an intimate encounter with another man, days before the roommate killed himself. 

The trial of Dharun Ravi promises to turn less on what happened between him and Tyler Clementi in September 2010 — there is general agreement about most of the events — than on why. The most serious charge against Mr. Ravi is bias intimidation, carrying a potential 10-year prison sentence, which raises crucial questions about whether he had been motivated by antigay bias and whether Mr. Clementi had felt intimidated or had believed that his roommate was mistreating him because of his sexual orientation. 

Seventeen months after Mr. Clementi, an 18-year-old from Ridgewood, jumped from the George Washington Bridge, the case still commands national interest, attested to by a crowd of journalists who were packed into a courtroom here or were watching on monitors in adjoining rooms. The case has been used by the news media, politicians and interest groups to illustrate themes that include the abuse of gay youths, teenage suicide, cyberbullying and the loss of privacy in the Internet age, and it prompted New Jersey lawmakers to adopt one of the nation’s toughest civil antibullying laws....


Tyler Phillips said...

In my opinion, it would be tough to prove Mr. Dharun Ravi of any motivation against Mr. Clementi being homosexual. Unless, Mr. Ravi has had run-ins with people of different sexual orientations in the past. However, this case does show the importance of emphasizing bullying in all levels of education. Sometimes higher education is overlooked when it comes to bullying moderation, but this case shows that it can happen anywhere and that monitoring of the action is necessary. I applaud the New Jersey lawmakers for the tough antibullying laws.

Anonymous said...

TO be honest, I have no idea what a "hate crime" is other than some sort of politicaly correct way of feeling that certain populations in the United States get special recognition when crimes are committed against them. I am sure there are thousands of men and women in prison who killed people who the "hated" but where not charged with a hate crime. I am not sure how the act of harming a person due to their race, religion or sexual identity is any more a tort or socially unacceptable than the same act perpetrated on individual with out consciousness of those qualities.