Prosecutor asks court to reconsider new trial for Ravi

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Eric Sucar
A skier makes his way along Asbury Avenue in Asbury Park during the first major snow storm of the year on January 23.

By KATHY CHANG
Staff Writer

NEW BRUNSWICK — A motion was filed last week by Middlesex County Prosecutor Andrew C. Carey requesting the Appellate Division of the Superior Court of New Jersey to reconsider its decision to grant a new trial for Dharun Ravi, who was found guilty in 2012 for setting up a web camera to secretly view his roommate at Rutgers University.

It was a case that drew national attention after Ravi’s roommate, Tyler Clementi, 18, of Ridgewood, committed suicide by jumping off the George Washington Bridge on Sept. 22, 2010, just three days after finding out Ravi had broadcast his sexual orientation and sexual activity over Twitter.

The case brought attention to cyberbullying and the struggles of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) youth community.

Both Ravi and Clementi were beginning their freshman year at Rutgers.

The motion for reconsideration, which also asks the court to correct factual errors it made in reaching its decision, was filed in response to a 61-page decision by the Appellate Division of Superior Court that was published on Sept. 9, which stated that Ravi was not charged with causing or contributing to Clementi’s death.

“It is undisputed that constitutionally defective evidence of [Clementi’s] state of mind permeated the state’s case against defendant,” the decision states.

The state’s case expressly relied on evidence describing the victim feeling humiliated and embarrassed as indicative of the defendant’s state of mind.

“The suggested inference is that defendant must have acted with the intent to intimidate …,” the decision states. “It would be unreasonable to conclude that this evidence, coupled with the prosecutor’s strong and eloquent remarks, did not have the clear capacity to produce an unjust result.”

Ravi, of Plainsboro, had been convicted of 15 counts of invasion of privacy, bias intimidation, hindering prosecution and tampering with evidence after a 16-day trial in Middlesex County Superior Court in March 2012.

He was sentenced to a three-year probationary term and 30 days at the Middlesex County Adult Correctional Center in North Brunswick.

The judge also ordered Ravi to complete 300 hours of community service, attend counseling on cyberbullying and alternative lifestyles and pay an assessment of $10,000, which would be allotted to a state-licensed or state-chartered community-based organization dedicated to providing assistance to victims of bias crimes.

Ravi had appealed his convictions, and the state had filed a cross-appeal challenging the legality of the probationary sentence imposed by the trial judge.

Ravi was charged after an investigation determined that he set up the camera to spy on his roommate on Sept. 19 and 21 in 2010.