Judge Glenn Berman knows there are many who think 30 days in jail is too light a sentence for former Rutgers student Dharun Ravi who spied on his roommate’s encounter with another man with a webcam then discussed it on Twitter.
The roommate, Tyler Clementi, ended up killing himself by jumping off of the George Washington Bridge.
Ravi, who began serving his sentence today (31 May), could have been sentenced to up to 10 years in prison.
‘I can’t find it in me to remand him to state prison that houses people convicted of offenses such as murder, armed robbery and rape,’ Berman said during a hearing this week. ‘I don’t believe that fits this case. I believe he has to be punished and he will be.’
‘I don’t defend his actions against Tyler Clementi, nor does he,’ Berman added. ‘I don’t think it was motivated by hatred, and I’ll stand on that.’
Berman had scolded the 20 year old when he handed out the sentence for never apologizing for his actions. Ravi finally issued a public apology earlier this week and stated that he would start serving his sentence immediately rather than wait for the appeals process to run its course.
Ravi was found guilty in March of bias intimidation, invasion of privacy, and tampering with evidence. Bias intimidation is a hate crime based on the fact that Clementi was gay.
In addition to the jail time, Ravi was also ordered to complete 300 hours of community service and to attend counseling programs for cyber-bullying and alternative lifestyles. He must also pay $10,000 to the probation department with the money going to victims of bias crimes.