Alternate Juror: Dharun Ravi “Stupid,” But Should Have Been Acquitted

An alternate juror in the recent trial that found Dharun Ravi guilty on 15 charges of invasion of privacy, evidence tamering and bias intimidation, tells the Bergen County Record he would’ve acquitted the 20-year-old Rutgers student.

John Downey, of Woodbridge Township, NJ told the paper he was “kind of up in the air about” the invasion of privacy charges but that he didn’t think Ravi was guilty of a bias crime:

“Whatever he did was stupid, but I don’t think he ever had any intention of intimidating [Clementi],” Downey said. “I think that scenario could have happened 100 different ways whether he had a straight roommate who had a girlfriend over … there are 100 scenarios where he could have been goofing around and turning the camera on and it had nothing to do with somebody being gay.”

Well, if Oliver Wendell Holmes here thinks it’s a miscarriage of justice then surely it is, right?

Sure, maybe Ravi would’ve wanted to watch a hetero roommate mack on girl, but would he have invited friends to an online viewing party? Would he have, as text records indicate, told a friend, he wanted to “keep the gays away”?

Ravi shouldn’t go to jail for Clementi’s death. And he’s not—he’s paying the price for harassing and humiliating his roommate. Is ten years (the maximum Ravi could receive at his May 21 sentencing) too steep a price? Maybe, but Ravi turned his nose up at a plea bargain that would’ve avoided jail time altogether.

In every sense, he brought this on himself.

Photo: zzpza


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  • Cam

    Just wait for all the pro Ravi trolls that seem to scan the internet for any mention of the case so they can come in and claim that all the evidence was wrong etc…

    What none of them seem to remember is that he was offered a plea deal that would have meant NO jail.

    He didn’t take it.

  • Shannon1981

    Glad this juror never made it onto the actual jury. The invasion of privacy was cut and dry. As far as I am concerned, thanks to the tweets referencing Tyler’s “making out with a dude” and especially the “keep the gays away” tweet, definitely done because he was gay as well..

  • Xerxes

    Ravi will never serve lots of time. In NJ, because of crowded jails and time off for good behavior, if he is sentenced to 5 years, it will boil down to only one year and one day, actually served. If he gets ten years at sentencing, that’s only two years time actually to be served. That’s just the way it is for prisoners serving class 2 criminal conviction time in NJ. It’s only Ravi’s PR team yelling about 10 years for the public sympathy. One or two years will still teach this coddled asshole at least a few lessons.

  • Xerxes

    PS- As to the alternate juror, his remarks mean nothing. I have had to pull jury duty a few times, and it is interesting what goes on in the jury room. Jurors persuade each other, twist arms, negotiate “I’ll drop this count if you convict on that count”. That’s how it is done. I think that even with this guy, Ravi would have been convicted. Remember, this alternate did not spend 12 hours over two days hashing out all the evidence with the other eleven jurors. This is just an idea in his lonely head.

  • Michael

    Gee, and do you think this alternate juror is homophobic?

  • Shannon1981

    @Michael: More than likely one of those types who says he isn’t but is, and thinks of hate crimes laws as “special rights.”

  • JAW

    As we found out during the trial… Ravi knew that Tyler was gay before they moved in together. Tyler also tweeted some nasty things about his roommate before they met.

    I believe if Ravi was homophobe he would have requested new roommate at the start. I thank god that i am not 19 and know about Tech… It got Ravi into trouble and ruined both lives… as well as a few others.

    It was not a stupid, humiliating ad Yes illegal thing that he did… But if Tyler had not committed suicide, due to many other issues, we would never have heard about any of this.

    I believe that Ravi needs some punishment for invasion of privacy, but I do not see this as a hate crime.

  • Kurl

    Lets just begun to me

  • Cam

    @JAW: said..

    “As we found out during the trial… Ravi knew that Tyler was gay before they moved in together. Tyler also tweeted some nasty things about his roommate before they met.”

    I can’t find any links to stories about Clementi tweeting nasty things about Ravi. What I did find are stories about Tyler reading the nasty tweets about him that Ravi was tweeting.

  • Scott Rose

    This “alternate juror” apparently does not understand that what he defines as “goofing around,” the New Jersey Penal Code defines as a “crime.”

  • RomanHans

    Here’s a pivotal part for me: one juror said Ravi testified that he’d had a really good gay friend. Juror decided Ravi was lying when that “really good gay friend” was never produced.

  • JAW

    @Cam… There were a lot of stories in the local papers her in NJ… There was also a a Great story in “The New Yorker” Magazine… It gave info on both sides including things like Tyler saying things like…

    Clementi’s I.M. records offer a peculiarly intimate view of his first few hours with Ravi, after both sets of parents had left. As Ravi unpacked, Clementi was chatting with Yang. “I’m reading his twitter page and umm he’s sitting right next to me,” he wrote. “I still don’t kno how to say his name.” Yang replied, “Fail!!!!! that’s hilarious.” Clementi told Yang that Ravi’s parents had seemed “sooo Indian first gen americanish,” adding that they “defs owna dunkin”—a Dunkin’ Donuts. Clementi and Ravi seem to have responded in similarly exaggerated ways to perceived hints of modest roots in the other.

    Read more

    Click the link… It is a great article… pretty long and detailed… let me know what You think

  • DM

    @JAW: I agree with you on this one. I believe he shouldn’t have broadcast it but I do not consider this a hate crime either.

  • B

    No. 6 · Michael wrote, “Gee, and do you think this alternate juror is homophobic?”

    No, I don’t think he is homophobic. For one thing, there is a jury-selection process and the D.A. would do his best to send any homophobic prospective jurors home. If someone who was in fact homophobic lied during the jury-selection process, he’d risk facing criminal charges for perjury, but most people who lie during the jury selection process are trying to get off the jury, not on it, so you’d expect a homophobe to advertise that he is one.

    It’s more likely that this juror simply felt that the evidence he saw did not prove bias beyond a reasonable doubt. The bias charge was the only one he said he definitely would not vote for. He said he was “up in the air” on the other ones, except for evidence/witness tampering, where he thought Ravi was guilty. “Up in the air” means he’d really want to spend some time looking into those charges in detail during jury deliberations had he ended up as a regular juror. That is consistent with another juror’s comment that it was a difficult decision.

  • Geo

    Why is what an alternate juror has to say about any trial worthy of being reported? An alternate doesn’t even hear the judge’s instructions, doesn’t participate in deliberations, etc. Why is that newspaper’s reporter fishing around the alternate pool at all (unless maybe they’re specifically looking for a pro-Ravi angle)? What’s next, a story about the court janitor’s opinion?

  • B

    No. 16 · Geo wrote, “Why is what an alternate juror has to say about any trial worthy of being reported?” Well, (1) he sat through the whole trial, and had to pay attention to the evidence as much as the regular jurors. (2) His claim that he would have definitely not have convicted Ravi on the bias charge shows that the prosecutor was lucky on those – if he had been chosen or another juror dropped out, the outcome on the bias charges would likely have been different, perhaps with a hung jury on those.

  • lloyd

    @Xerxes: Good point. In deliberations, charges are carefully examined and debated. And there can be trade-offs to reach consensus. Being an alternate (and knowing it’s not likely you will be part of the jury) is a much different experience.

  • JAW

    I wonder what the outcome would have been if it was Ravi from India that jumped off the bridge and that cute Blue eyed blond all American looking Tyler were the one that did the video… would we have even known about it???

  • DM

    @JAW: I bet that he would have gotten off and the whole incident would have ended up swept under the rug or downplayed. That seems logical considering the judicial bias in the United States especially.

  • Giovannidude

    The alternate juror is not a professional homophobe with a criminal record for bashing gays. He’s just a duncey guy with your average, standard American young guy view that gays are a little bit weird and you wouldn’t want to sit next to one on the bus.

    Ravi wasn’t the victim of ethnophobia (he’s from India) or racism (because some people are trying to claim he’s African-American when he’s not). Ravi was the victim of his own stupidity: he knew he did wrong, which is why he deleted tweets and tampered with a witness, Molly Wei. The stupidest act was refusing to take the generous plea deal. He rejected the plea deal so he could pander to the latent homophopbia of the jury.

    Another dumb idea.

  • richard

    He didn’t take the plea because he likely would have been deported because of his conviction.

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