Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Ravi Asks Judge to Overturn Bias-Crime Conviction

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Ravi Asks Judge to Overturn Bias-Crime Conviction

Article excerpt

Dharun Ravi's lawyers are asking a judge to overturn their client's bias-crime conviction or grant a new trial.

Ravi, 20, a former Rutgers student who spied on his male roommate having an intimate encounter with a man, is expected to be sentenced on May 21.

Ravi was found guilty of each of the 15 counts leveled against him, including invasion of privacy and bias intimidation -- a hate crime.

He faces up to 10 years in prison and could also be deported to his native India based on the conviction.

It is standard practice for lawyers to ask a judge to overturn a conviction after a jury delivers it. In Ravi's case, the request is for the judge to acquit him entirely -- or grant him a new trial.

If the request is denied and Ravi is sentenced to prison time, his lawyers are seeking bail for the Plainsboro man as he appeals the verdict, according to court filings Tuesday in state Superior Court, Middlesex County.

In March, jurors believed the prosecutor when she maintained at trial that Ravi's actions of watching his roommate, Tyler Clementi, and a man kissing via webcam were motivated by bias because of Clementi's sexual orientation.

Two days later, Ravi planned another viewing of a second encounter and invited others through a Twitter post to take a look.

That viewing never happened, though, and Clementi committed suicide a day later on Sept. 22, 2010. Superior Court Judge Glenn Berman instructed the jury that Ravi was not charged with causing or contributing to Clementi's suicide.

Attorneys Steven Altman and Philip Nettl argued in their 32-page motion filed Tuesday that the invasion of privacy counts should be overturned.

Among the reasons given in the motion were that the state failed to show that Ravi knew he wasn't permitted to view his webcam when he did -- a key element of the count.

"On the contrary, all reasonable inferences suggest that he thought he was entitled to view his own room," the lawyers wrote. …

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