There were more than 100 in all, and nearly all had the same theme: telling the judge it would be unjust to put former Rutgers student Dharun Ravi in prison for using a webcam to see roommate Tyler Clementi kissing another man in 2010, just days before Clementi killed himself.
“I learned a lot about bias crimes and bullying through this case,” said a writer named Louise. “The bullying and bias acts occurred when the legal system and media got involved. Ravi is not to blame for the hardships endured by the gay community nor should he be tied to the whipping post because of it. If Tyler was not gay, this would have been just a prank gone wrong and no one would have rushed to incarcerate.”
Ravi, now 20, was convicted in March of 15 criminal counts, including bias intimidation and invasion of privacy.
Soon after that, the letters began pouring into Superior Court Judge Glenn Berman’s chambers making requests for how to handle sentencing. Ravi faced up to 10 years in prison.
Last week, Berman told him he would have to serve 30 days in jail. Because the sentence is less than a year, it decreases the chances that federal immigration authorities will seek to have Ravi deported to India, where he was born and remains a citizen. Prosecutors said they would appeal the sentence as too light. Ravi, who maintains he is innocent, is considering appealing the entire conviction.
Before delivering the sentence, Berman held up a folder, inches thick, of the letters he’d received from the public. Later, he quoted one of them, calling Clementi’s suicide the “pink elephant” in the case.
Berman made the letters publicly available, but only after having court staff cross out the last names, addresses of and other identifying information about their authors. He said the writers may have expected their communications with him would
This article originally appeared on: http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/story/2012-05-26/rutgers-suicide-dharun-ravi-sentence/55217736/1