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CRIME & PUNISHMENT

Prosecutors In Dharun Ravi Trial: He Deserves Jail Time For Lack Of Remorse

Long before Dharun Ravi was convicted on multiple counts of bias intimidation, he was found guilty in the court of public opinion. It’s widely believed he caused his roommate, Tyler Clementi, to jump off the George Washington Bridge by using a webcam to spy on Tyler’s intimate encounters with another man.

But now sentencing is coming in 10 days and many public figures, including gay NJ ex-Gov. Jim McGreevey, have stepped up to say that Ravi should not serve any jail time.

The prosecution isn’t buying it, taking a hard line on Ravi, who has been slow to show remorse.

According to the Associated Press:

“Defendant has failed to accept a degree of responsibility for the numerous crimes he committed, and shows no remorse for the same,” the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office said in its sentencing memorandum.

To amplify the point, prosecutors included in the filing text messages they say Ravi sent to a friend the morning he was sent home from Rutgers after Clementi was known to be missing and was believed to have killed himself.

“How can I convince my mom to let me go back Friday and get drunk?” he asked in one. In another, he said: “Honestly, if he didn’t suicide, I might be in trouble. But now they’re more worried about me doing something stupid.”

Wow, those texts are damning. And after reading them, we’re inclined to say Ravi should broaden his horizons with a year or two in the slammer. It could be, as they say, a humbling experience.

But there’s also the softer, more redeeming text he sent Clementi the same day Clementi committed suicide:

“I’ve known you were gay and I have no problem with it… In fact, one of my closest friends is gay and I have a very open relationship. I just suspected you were shy and never broached it as a topic. I don’t want your freshman year to be ruined because of a petty misunderstanding, it’s adding to my guilt. You have a right to move if you wish but I don’t want you to feel pressured to without fully understanding the situation.”

Thing is, Ravi might’ve sent this one just to cover his tracks once he knew that Tyler was suicidal.

This kid could use an exercise in humility, whether it’s in jail or in the stares he’ll get from future employers when he tells them his real name.

By:           Evan Mulvihill
On:           May 11, 2012
Tagged: , ,
  • 32 Comments
    • Cam
      Cam

      Rave sent that text several days after Clementi had complained to the University.

      May 11, 2012 at 10:08 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Kev C
      Kev C

      Roommate suicided. Have place to self. Found spare change for beer :)

      Ran over neighbor’s dog. Need to clean tires. What a chore!

      Dropped hairdryer in GF’s bathtub. She accidently died. Sad I don’t have a date for Friday.

      Some people just shouldn’t text message. Glad I’m not like that!

      May 11, 2012 at 11:07 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • KV
      KV

      This is definitely a sad case all around, but he didn’t push the guy off the bridge. I don’t think that should be part of his sentencing either. The privacy charges are probably enough for a lengthy probation.

      May 11, 2012 at 11:20 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • MJLawe
      MJLawe

      I think all perspective has been lost in this case. We are dealing with a kid just out of high school. I don’t assume every kid in that situation, only a few weeks into the term, is a well of maturity. There’s been too much of a mob mentality at work here. A friend’s husband committed suicide two weeks ago. No one has any idea why. There isn’t a shred of evidence that Ravi was a long-time bully or that he was homophobic. Enough is enough. This was the wrong case to make an example of.

      May 11, 2012 at 11:42 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Good grief
      Good grief

      All very sad, but this is what sometimes happens when you put two random immature kids in the same room. The prosecutors are basically saying he must go to jail for suspected thought crimes.

      May 11, 2012 at 12:04 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Jim
      Jim

      @MJLawe:

      Agreed. He didn’t mean for anyone to be hurt. He was an obnoxious, immature 18 year old kid. He wasn’t a vicious bully. The charges and the degree of punishment seem more about vengeance than justice.

      May 11, 2012 at 12:28 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • John T
      John T

      Good grief…have you no understanding of the term manslauder? It’s when you cause someone to die in the commission of a crime even though you did not intend it. Ravi is lucky he wasn’t charged with that. He broke the law, someone died, he has shown zero remorse. Kids younger than him get sent to jail for far less things every day.

      May 11, 2012 at 1:03 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • MJLawe
      MJLawe

      @John, you must have been on the jury.

      May 11, 2012 at 1:28 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • B
      B

      No. 7 · John T wrote, “Good grief…have you no understanding of the term manslauder? It’s when you cause someone to die in the commission of a crime even though you did not intend it. Ravi is lucky he wasn’t charged with that.” At the risk of bringing up reality, nobody died during the commission of a crime – Ravi was charged with invasion of privacy and “bias intimidation” and that wasn’t going on at the time of the suicide.

      If someone is being robbed, trips, and is killed in a collision with a passing car, the thief might be charged with manslaughter. If the thief steals a beloved possession and the thief’s victim commits suicide as a result, the thief would not be charged with manslaughter.

      Also, another crime does not have to be in progress for a manslaughter charge – gross negligence suffices (some instances of vehicular manslaughter provide an example such as being seriously distracted while changing a CD. resulting in a fatal accident).

      May 11, 2012 at 2:35 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • B
      B

      Queerty wrote, “Thing is, Ravi might’ve sent this one just to cover his tracks once he knew that Tyler was suicidal.” This is not likely – Ravi was (at least, at the time) immature and lacking any sense of empathy, and probably never thought this sort of “prank” would result in a suicide.

      What Ravi was more likely worried about was a complaint to the administration from his roommate, and being kicked out of college as a result. So more plausibly, he tried to sound apologetic in the hope that his roommate would let the matter slide.

      May 11, 2012 at 2:49 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Stewie
      Stewie

      @Kev C: My dad worked at a university and he was chatting with one of his students once:
      Dad: “So how was your weekend?”
      Student: “Awesome! My roommate was arrested on Friday!”
      D: “…well why was that awesome?”
      S: “Cuz for the whole weekend I got to use his stereo!”

      Some people just seem to be born with no empathy. It’s just sad.

      May 11, 2012 at 3:21 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • evanb
      evanb

      @B: Read Ian Parker’s detailed account of the Clementi story in The New Yorker. That email was sent fifteen minutes AFTER Tyler posted on Facebook “Jumping off the gw bridge sorry.” Ravi was a constant monitor of FB; looks a lot like ass-covering to me.

      May 11, 2012 at 3:51 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • JAW
      JAW

      Tyler had more issues then we will ever know. He felt comfortable enough with Ravi to invite a man over to his room for sex several times… even after he knew that he had been seen on cam.

      If Tyler had not had so many issues that caused him to jump off of the bridge, the trial would never have happened. Ravi would have gotten a slap on the hand by the school, Tyler would have gotten a new room or roommate and all would be good.

      Tyler’s Mom was also a big issue. She does not get put on trial or sent to jail… nor should Ravi.

      May 11, 2012 at 4:01 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Jakey
      Jakey

      “But there’s also the softer, more redeeming text he sent Clementi the same day Clementi committed suicide…”

      Eh. It sounds exactly like what someone would say if they heard their roommate was going to try to move out they were worried they’d get in trouble. If it was sent to me, I wouldn’t buy it for a second.

      May 11, 2012 at 4:11 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • 1equalityUSA
      1equalityUSA

      I hope that in the dawn, just in that space between sleep and wakefulness, Ravi hears a slow, solo violin summoning him to another day.

      May 11, 2012 at 5:08 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • James
      James

      If he had any sense of what he had done, I would be very happy with Ravi getting several hundred hours of community service – speaking engagements to teens on social media, privacy, and the consequences of ill consideered use. But he doesn’t get it. No remorse? No recourse. Jail time for Ravi.

      May 11, 2012 at 5:56 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • JustMeee
      JustMeee

      Shuffling off to Mumbai.

      May 11, 2012 at 7:12 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • LaTeesha
      LaTeesha

      No jail. Just deport him. We have too many quality people who want to legally be in this country. Why are we wasting our country’s time and resources on this trash bag?

      May 11, 2012 at 7:22 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • John T
      John T

      Ok, so say I go out and steal a stop sign tonight. Several days go by and before it can be replaced someone goes through the intersection, gets t-boned by another car and is killed. Is anyone at fault because it happen several days after I took the sign? If I am found out what sentence should I expect to receive?
      B, and MJL, don’t you think bias intimidation can be an ongoing thing? What about someone in an abusive relationship that can’t take it anymore and thinks they have no other resources, no where to run? Tyler’s own mother was hating on him at the time and thanks to Ravi, he thought everyone at school was hating on him too. Sure he should’ t have killed himself, but we all have different breaking points and right or wrong, the person who pushes you past yours is going to get the most blame.
      I am all in favor of probation but I would like to see some sincere remorse and no more excuses. The prosecutors agree with me I think.

      May 11, 2012 at 7:25 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • B
      B

      No. 12 · evanb wrote, “B: Read Ian Parker’s detailed account of the Clementi story in The New Yorker. That email was sent fifteen minutes AFTER Tyler posted on Facebook “Jumping off the gw bridge sorry.””

      15 minutes is not enough time to believe that Ravi saw Clementi’s Facebook post (which Ravi might not even have been able to see depending on Clementi’s privacy settings). Ravi could easily have spent 15 minutes writing the email – remember that the likely reason for the email was to convince Clementi to not file a complaint with the university, so spending some time carefully wording it would have been in Ravi’s self interest.

      Re No 19 where John T asked, “B, and MJL, don’t you think bias intimidation can be an ongoing thing?” The answer in this case is “no” for two reason. The first is the legal definition of bias intimidation in New Jersey (read http://nj-statute-info.com/getStatute.php?statute_id=1576 for the text of the law: “A person is guilty of the crime of bias intimidation if he commits, attempts to commit, conspires with another to commit, or threatens the immediate commission of an offense specified in chapters 11 through 18 of Title 2C of the New Jersey Statutes; N.J.S.2C:33-4; N.J.S.2C:39-3; N.J.S.2C:39-4 or N.J.S.2C:39-5, …,” and note the word “immediate”). The second is that Ravi had the web cam on once or twice (he claims to have shut it off the second time before his roommate used the room, which may or may not be true, but his roommate shut off the power in any case). It was simply not “on-going” and Ravi’s roommate had an obvious recourse – filing a complaint and applying for a room change. It would be different if Ravi had been sending his roommate intimidating, anonymous letters or doing something else that would constitute continual harassment that a simple room change wouldn’t fix, but that doesn’t seem to be what was going on. Now, there were private conversations between Ravi and Clementi, and something that constituted on-going intimidation, or just some sort of threat, might have occurred during those conversations, but we have no evidence as there is no transcript or recording of those conversations.

      May 11, 2012 at 8:56 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Oh, ok
      Oh, ok

      Not having remorse for someone who commit suicide isn’t a crime.

      Attempting to bend the law to your will for vengeance akin to public hangings has repercussions for the rest of us. Being thought police has the biggest repercussions of all.

      The court should be focusing on punishing him for what he did do and then moving the fuck on.

      At the end of the day no one knows why the suicide happened, but we do know it was a self-inflicted death, and sending someone else to prison for it is an atrocious idea.

      May 11, 2012 at 10:46 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • B
      B

      No. 19 · John T wrote, “Ok, so say I go out and steal a stop sign tonight. Several days go by and before it can be replaced someone goes through the intersection, gets t-boned by another car and is killed. Is anyone at fault because it happen several days after I took the sign? If I am found out what sentence should I expect to receive?”

      This is an irrelevant straw-man argument. While theft of a stop sign can result in a conviction for manslaughter, Ravi was not charged with contributing in any way to a suicide. Given that the prosecutor threw the book at Ravi, if there was any plausible way of charging him with manslaughter, that would have happened. Since it didn’t, we can surmise that there is a lack of evidence. Aside from that, the problem with your analogy is that a stop-sign theft has a very obvious potential for a serious accident or death, and thus shows a reckless disregard for human life. Ravi’s use of a web cam hardly does that – there was no permanent recording made and he did not even see any real sexual activity – just (at most) two guys with their shirts off kissing, and then only for a few seconds. Hardly anyone would consider being seen kissing to be a reason to kill oneself. If we can convict someone of manslaughter for that, we can convict two gay guys who kiss in public and so outrage a fundamentalist Christian that he dies on the spot of a stroke as his blood pressure shoots through the roof.

      May 12, 2012 at 12:51 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • paul berman
      paul berman

      Fuck all these stupid arguments. Send him to jail. Until these assholes stop fucking with us, who cares what happens to this complete piece of shit.

      May 12, 2012 at 12:26 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Oh, ok
      Oh, ok

      @paul berman: Riiight, until they turn that back on us. If we can twist the law in our favor then bigots can twist the law in their’s.

      Try thinking instead of hurling knee-jerk reactions over someone you didn’t know in a situation you didn’t even see.

      It was a suicide. Putting a camera up to spy on someone is wrong and that’s what he should be paying for. You cannot claim that Ravi made him commit suicide.

      Do you have any idea how many suicidal people would commit suicide and place the name of someone they hate in their note just to know they sent that person to prison?

      Please go get a hobby. Hanging this kid will not bring the other kid you don’t know back nor will it improve the quality of your life. You can’t fill whatever void you have by wishing ill of someone else.

      May 12, 2012 at 2:04 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • B
      B

      No. 24 · Oh, ok wrote, “Putting a camera up to spy on someone is wrong and that’s what he should be paying for.”

      It’s wrong but it is criminal only under certain circumstances – when the person putting up the camera should reasonable expect to record someone with their clothes off or having sex without their knowledge and permission.

      Ravi had a reasonable argument for the first instance that he did not expect to see nudity or sexual activity – the cam was pointed mostly at Ravi’s own bed and the door, but the field of view included part of his roommate’s bed (whether intentionally or inadvertently is not clear). The jury didn’t buy that argument, however – the term “reasonable argument” includes ones where there is some judgment involved but not ones so silly that you’d laugh if you heard it.

      May 12, 2012 at 4:54 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Steven
      Steven

      B, have you found a job yet? I can’t believe any law firm would hire you. Your “analysis” in the comments section has been a source of much mirth and laughter. It has also been the cause of much sadness at the pathetic state of today’s third tier law school students.

      Just to remind everyone: “B” assured us that Ravi had a 90% chance of acquittal on the hate crimes charge and that the case was open and shut. Of course, it was no such thing and anyone who tracked the extensive written evidence and live testimony could see that Ravi was in deep trouble. But “B” was telling us that Ravi was in great shape because the defense would be able to discuss hypothetical scenarios with the jury, such as what might have happened had Ravi returned to his dorm room to get a book, interrupting Clementi and his partner. Any 1st year law student – heck, anyone who watches Law and Order, knows that this does not happen at trial. Lawyers introduce evidence, they don’t present speculation as to what might have happened in some hypothetical scenario. But “B” didn’t even grasp that. You are truly pathetic B. If you ever do become a lawyer, God help your clients.

      May 13, 2012 at 2:50 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • B
      B

      No. 26 · Steven reduced himself to trash-talk by writing, “B, have you found a job yet?”
      He also lied – I never said the case was open and shut, just that the defense had some reasonable arguments, giving possible examples of some of the issues that could be raised (there were a number of ones that could be used and sometimes the choices are based on what the defense knows about the jury). While I don’t recall exactly what percentages I used as an estimate, 90% would be a reasonable estimate – just read http://www.northjersey.com/news/031712_RAVIJUROR0318.html?page=all which contains an account of a statement by one of the alternate jurors that he disagreed with the bias charge. There aren’t a lot of alternate jurors, so the chances that this guy would have ended up on the panel were pretty high. The prosecution was lucky in that this person didn’t get selected (it takes only one juror who disagrees to prevent a conviction). To be quantitative about it, if you take 14 jurors (2 alternates and 12 regular jurors), the chance that a particular individual ends up as a regular juror is 84%, pretty close to the 90% estimate or whatever it was that I gave.

      Steven also lied about what I said, pretending to confuse an explanation for Queerty readers with what the defense lawyer would literally say in court (which is going to be far too long for a standard-length comment). The facts in the possible argument I gave was the time between when Ravi left the room and when he turned on the web cam. I merely pointed out that, if your roommate left and you were going to have sex, you’d probably allow some time in case he walked out and realized that he forgot something, returning immediatedly. When Ravi turned on the web cam the first time, the results were consistent with that – Tyler and his friend were merely kissing, not having sex. The second time the cam was turned on, it was turned on by Ravi’s friend, who wanted to show it to others – Ravi apparently had nothing to do with that.

      Steven’s problem is that he is so intent on figuratively crucifying Ravi that he has lost all sense of perspective. Ravi had some reasonable arguments in his favor both for the bias charges and the invasion of privacy charges. He apparently had a reputation among his peers for dissembling as well, so it wouldn’t have surprised me if the jury didn’t believe him (while he didn’t testify, they did show a tape of him in a police interview).

      Also, Steven is simply wrong when he suggests that lawyers merely introduce evidence – while they do introduce evidence, they also spin stories around that evidence to walk the jury though what they want the jury to conclude from the evidence. They don’t just tell the jurors, “Here are the facts. Go sort them out.” What do you think opening and closing arguments are for?

      May 13, 2012 at 3:32 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • David Ehrenstein
      David Ehrenstein

      Dharun Ravi would make perfect Vice Presidential pick for Mitt Romney!

      May 13, 2012 at 10:40 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Steven
      Steven

      B-

      You idiot, opening and closing arguments are not an opportunity for the attorneys to say whatever they like or to make assertions about what might have happened in some hypothetical scenario that is not the subject of the trial. Opening argument presents the case based on the evidence that the attorney intends to introduce. Closing argument sums up the case based on the evidence that was introduced. In both cases, the argument is based on the evidence. Under no circumstances would Ravi’s lawyers have ever been permitted to put on a case based on what might have happened had Ravi come back to the dorm room to get a book. That didn’t happen and there is no evidence in the record about that non-existent scenario.

      This was not a close case according to the jurors who actually deliberated. The privacy and obstruction charges were a done deal; the only issue on which they spent real time was the hate crimes charge. In addition to the tweets and the live testimony from Ravi’s own friends, there was a videotaped confession in which Ravi specifically admits to having intended to violate Clementi’s privacy. If you think that this is a difficult case, you really need to consider retail sales or fast food as your career choice.

      More generally, you are complete moron. Not so much for getting this case completely wrong. No so much for your inability to admit that you got it wrong. But for your pompous self-regard. You obviously think you are some sort of lawyer or lawyer-in-training. I can tell you in all honesty that you are a walking disaster for any client who hires you.

      May 13, 2012 at 3:26 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • B
      B

      No. 29 · Steven again showed that he can’t justify his opinions by resorting to trash talk by saying, “B-You idiot, opening and closing arguments are not an opportunity for the attorneys to say whatever they like or to make assertions about what might have happened in some hypothetical scenario that is not the subject of the trial. Opening argument presents the case based on the evidence that the attorney intends to introduce. Closing argument sums up the case based on the evidence that was introduced. …”

      Steven has apparently never heard of cases based on circumstantial evidence, where an attorney has to produce a “theory” of what happened to tie facts together. It would certainly be reasonable to argue that enough time did not elapse between leaving the room and when the viewing occurred for Ravi to expect to see real sexual activity of any kind, particularly since the cam was not pointed directly at his roommate’s bed – he only saw some kissing which would suggest that any real sexual activity – if it occurred – had not yet started. Now, the defense used a different argument, but so what? Sometimes it is a bad tactic to throw everything but the kitchen sink at the jury because jurors may feel swamped and start tuning things out (something that is also true when given a talk or teaching an introductory class).

      Then Steven shows he does not understand probability by saying, “This was not a close case according to the jurors who actually deliberated.” Earth to Steven – juries are selected more or less at random from a pool of candidates, although some can be dropped for cause (e.g., biases) and a fixed number can be dropped based on tn attorney’s preference. We know that 1 alternate juror though the bias charge was bogus. Steven is trying to ignore that data point because it contradicts his flawed hypothesis. If you have 14 jurors (12 ‘regular’ jurors and 2 alternates), any of those 14 could have ended up as a regular juror with roughly equal probability. For the guy who thought the bias charge was bogus, the chance of being selected in one try is 1/14, and the probability of not being selected is 1 – 1/14. But, he has to be not selected 12 times to be an alternate juror, and there are fewer jurors to choose from in each successive selection. So the probability of him being an alternate juror is
      P= (1-1/14)(1-1/13)(1-1/12)(1-1/11)…(1-1/3), which is a small number. 1-P is the chance this juror would have not been one of the alternates, and is pretty close to the 90% rough estimate Steven claims I made. The fact is that the prosecution was lucky. He needed 12 people to agree and the alternate juror’s statement, coupled with the regular juror’s verdict, allows us to make an estimate of the probability that a juror would not convict someone on the bias charges – it is about 1/14. (Note too that only one alternate bothered to talk to the press – we have no idea what any other alternate juror thought because only one bothered to talk to the press, so a 1/14 estimate is possibly biases in Steven’s favor, and even then the numbers don’t match his opinion. You can update the numbers slightly based on the actual number of alternate jurors (didn’t find the exact number via a google search). Oh and BTW, according to http://abcnews.go.com/US/rutgers-trial-post-verdict-analysis-perilous-path-justice/story?id=15952064&page=2 the alternate juror who talked to the press claimed he was “up in the air” over the other charges, so he might have refused to convict Ravi if this juror had not been merely an alternate juror.

      Steven’s continual use of terms like “idiot” and “moron” are examples of projection – it takes a real idiot or moron like Steven to insist that something is true when it can be trivially proven to be false.

      May 14, 2012 at 2:14 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Steven
      Steven

      With every post, you sound even more pathetic. A circumstantial case is based on inferences drawn from facts in evidence. It is not an argument based on hypothetical scenarios. You posted here that Ravi’s defense lawyers could discuss in front of the jury what would have happened had Ravi returned to the dorm room for a book. That is not putting on a circumstantial case. Any 1L would know that this would be impermissible and no trial judge would allow it.

      The alternate didn’t deliberate. Your bizarre math is irrelevant, except to demonstrate how utterly clueless you are. The point is that he never went through the deliberation process, whereby he would have been forced to listen to the views of the other jurors and defend his own initial impressions. It isn’t the probability of his being selected that is the issue; the issue is that his opinions don’t carry the weight of the actual jurors given that he never deliberated.

      Now you seem to think that I need to insult you in order to make an argument about the Ravi case. Not so. The failure of your analysis of the case is self-evident. I insult you not in order to advance any arguments about the case, but only as an observation of the reality of your failure as a law student/lawyer and as a rational human being. Let’s just say it again because it needs saying: do not take on clients. You are a danger to anyone who hires you.

      May 14, 2012 at 3:56 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • B
      B

      No. 31 · trash-talking Steven made a fool of himself by saying, “With every post, you sound even more pathetic.” This of course is to cover up the fact that Steven claimed a rough estimate of 90% for not being convicted on a bias charge was way off, when the data (one alternate juror’s comment) showed that there was a fair chance of getting someone who would not accept the bias charge on the jury.

      Steven also lied about what I posted – I pointed out that it is not unusual for someone leaving for the night (or several hours) to return after a few minutes due to having forgotten something, and that one would typically allow some time for that possibility before ripping off one’s clothes for a tryst. I simply used picking up a book as an example – an example for Queerty readers. If Ravi had turned on the web cam 2 seconds after leaving the room and had kept it on for two seconds, would you think he’d expect to see someone undressed or having sex when he saw them clothed a few seconds before? Of course not. Have you ever walked out of your home and realized you forgot something you wanted to take with you and went back in? Of course you have – everyone does that at some point. So, if you left, would you expect any sexual activity to start instantly? How long do you think it would take? If you turned on a cam and “peeked” before that interval had expired, would you have expected to see nudity or sexual activity? Given the charges, those would have been reasonable things to ask (you can only tell if they were by getting a full transcript of the trial – everything the defense does is not reported by the press).

      Ans then Steven inadvertently backed up what I was saying by claiming, “A circumstantial case is based on inferences drawn from facts in evidence. It is not an argument based on hypothetical scenarios.” Note the term “inferences”. The prosecutor is going to try to claim that you can infer guilt from the evidence because there is no other way of explaining the evidence that does not imply a crime. The defense is going to claim that the prosecutor did not prove his case, and one way of doing that is to show that completely innocent behavior could have led to what was observed, which can be shown by giving “hypothetical scenarios” that are plausible and that the prosecutor can not rule out based on the evidence. Example: a defendant in a murder trial was seen by witnesses walking out of an alley in which a murder was committed. The prosecutor tries to use that as circumstantial evidence against the defendant. The defense points out a heavily used vending machine just inside the alley, some distance from where the crime occurred, and produces records showing frequent sales. He suggests that his client (who is not going to testify) could have been there to use that machine – i.e., there were good reasons to be in the alley other than to commit the crime. Of course, the defendant can’t produce any direct evidence – if you put coins in a vending machine and eat the product that you get and throw away the wrapper, there is no way of proving that you in fact used the machine. But, such an argument is useful – it raises reasonable doubt by showing that the prosecutor’s case is not as airtight as the prosecutor would like to claim.

      Finally, this fool says, “Now you seem to think that I need to insult you in order to make an argument about the Ravi case.” Hey Steven, you raised a bogus claim about probabilities and I showed mathematically, based on real-world data, that your claim was simply wrong. I don’t recall a single comment in which you didn’t resort to trash talk, and the mostly likely explanation is that trash talk is all you are capable of.

      May 14, 2012 at 2:09 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·

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