The law deems 30 days and a couple thousand in fines appropriate for driving a person to commit suicide. A conviction on this charge ("biased crimes") requires that Tyler Clementi felt threatened, but Ravi did not need to intend to threaten him. This is a ridiculous law that likely wouldn't survive a determined Supreme Court challenge.
Writing a law that criminalizes a person's actions based solely on the victim's presumed feelings is fraught with legal questions and ignores decades of legal precedent. Just because Ravi didn't "mean to hurt" Clementi, doesn't change the fact that Ravi's actions led directly to Tyler's death. The case didn't require the application of a trendy, inadequate law, Ravi is guilty of criminal harassment, plain and simple. He would have faced far greater punishment under more established legislation.
I dispute the notion that he didn't mean to hurt Clementi, as well. If that were true, why didn't Ravi spy on Tyler until after he knew Clementi was gay? Because recording video of a hetro couple kissing is mundane and pointless, and it wouldn't have achieve Ravi's goal - to humiliate Clementi. How is that not "meaning to hurt" Tyler and therefore criminal? At the very least, Ravi is guilty of criminally negligent behaviour.
Intent is one of the well tested cornerstones of western law. Trying to use so-called progressive laws to satisfy political agendas will never be a substitute for legal precedent and jurisprudence. All this has achieved is a light sentence for a hate crime that ruined many lives.
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Tyler Clementi trial: Dharun Ravi sentenced to 30 days in jail for 'bias crimes' related to gay teen's suicide | News | National Post