When Tyler Clementi, a gay Rutgers student, discovered that his roommate, Dharun Ravi, had been spying on him with a webcam when he was engaged in romantic activity, he committed suicide by jumping off the George Washington Bridge.
Today Ravi, who could have gotten up to ten years in prison, was sentenced to a measly 30 days. Clementi and his family deserve more than this token punishment. Ravi should have gotten a much longer sentence, and he should be deported back to India. We have enough awful people in this country we can’t get rid of, there’s no reason to keep the ones we don’t have to. It is a privilege to live here, and Ravi obviously doesn’t appreciate that privilege.
Might Tyler Clementi eventually have killed himself without Ravi’s provocation? No one knows. But he wouldn’t have killed himself when he did. The official cause of death is that Clementi jumped. But I would say Ravi pushed him.
I see this case as one of civil liability, not a criminal act. It was a clear invasion of privacy but nothing more. There was no intention to kill and when Clementi decided to take his life, that act though tragic, was not a forseeable or likely consequence. Ravi, while an insensitive asshole, is liable for no more than the intentional infliction of mental distress upon the family members who would be entitled to be compensated for a wrongful death civil action.
No, you take your victim as you find him. If you cause a hemophiliac to have a cut, and he bleeds to death, you’re responsible. That’s basic tort law. Ravi took the risk that Clementi might be so distraught that he would kill himself.