The former Rutgers University student who filmed his homosexual roommate's sexual encounter and allowed others to watch it via the Internet could face up to 10 years in prison for hate crimes at his sentencing hearing Monday.
Surprisingly though, many gay advocates are urging for no time behind bars, according to Yahoo News.
Tyler Clementi, 18, committed suicide in 2010 after learning that his roommate Dharun Ravi used a web-cam to show him kissing an older man in their dorm room and used social media to encourage others to watch.
The court found that Ravi, 20, was not the cause of Clementi's death. Yet, he has been the subject of intense public scrutiny for homosexual bullying and as a result has been convicted of hate crimes because he targeted Clementi and invaded his right to privacy because he was gay.
Ravi, 20, faces a maximum of 10 years in prison at his sentencing hearing on Monday and could potentially be deported to his native India.
Although gay activists believe that Ravi's conduct was wrong and hurtful, many believe that maximum sentencing is not commensurate with the crime that he committed. Thus, many of those activists are asking that Ravi serve probation in lieu of prison time.
Aaron Hicklin, the editor of Out magazine, said in an article that he believes that Ravi was being made a scapegoat for Clementi's suicide.
Additionally, E.J. Graff, said in her column in The American Prospect, "I fear that Ravi is an easy scapegoat for a complicated problem."
Finally, Jim McGreevey, the gay former governor of New Jersey, feels that Ravi's behavior, though wrong, is being dealt with too harshly.
Yet, Garden State Equality, a gay rights group, is urging for prison time for Ravi, but they feel that he should not serve the maximum term permitted by law.
"Justice is best served by his serving some jail time for the crime committed," Garden State CEO Steven Goldstein said. "The moderate position is not to throw the book at this young man, nor should he get off Scott free."
The majority of the tension created in this case has resulted from the prosecution's use of New Jersey's bias intimidation statute, a so-called "hate crime" law that has the effect of increasing penalties, especially in instances involving violence or threats of violence.
The prosecution, recommended that Ravi be sent to prison, but for less than the maximum 10 years in its sentencing recommendation.
By contrast, Ravi's lawyers contend that he should be set free. Accordingly, they are appealing the verdict and asking for a new trial.
This is a very complicated matter because Clementi killed himself shortly after Ravi's committed the hate crimes at issue.
Sometimes the ultimate impact of a criminal act is far beyond the actual crime committed in cases like these, which is why many gay rights activists are fearful that the end result may weigh too heavily on Ravi's sentencing.
We will see today if the judge decides to give Ravi the maximum prison time allowed by NJ law, or instead decides to ease up a little bit in this case.
What do you think?
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