As he has maintained for the entirety of the case, Dharun Ravi’s lawyer Steven Altman said in his closing argument today that Ravi’s act of spying on Tyler Clementi was one of childish immaturity, rather than of anti-gay malice formed by an adult brain.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Altman argued the following:
“Why we’re here is because, on September 19 and September 21 of 2010, an 18-year-old boy, a kid, a college freshman, had an experience, had an encounter and he wasn’t ready for, that he didn’t expect, that he was surprised by, that he hadn’t anticipated… and he didn’t know how to deal with it because he was a kid, Nobody said anything negative about Tyler. They never heard one derogatory comment from Dharun.”
Of the spying, he justified it as Ravi trying to protect his belongings (particularly his beloved iPad) from a “homeless-looking” fellow who Tyler was hooking up with:
“Who wouldn’t be curious or concerned at this point?” Altman said. “It it’s your room and all of a sudden in a dorm for 18-year-olds somebody comes in looking scruffy—homeless-looking and suspicious-looking—and looks out of place…
“If there’s ugliness in Dharun’s heart, whether it be towards gays or Tyler? Is there a text is there an instant message? Is there an email? Is there some witness coming forward to tell you about some terrible conversation he had with Dharun on Sept 20th? Nothing.”
After Altman rested, Middlesex County prosecutor Julia McClure began her closing arguments, starting off with the fact that Ravi told friends his roommate was gay as soon as he knew who Tyler was.
Deliberation is expected to begin Wednesday. On Monday, Ravi decided not to take the stand in his own defense.
Ravi, now 20, is not implicated in Clementi’s death, but is charged with 15 counts of invasion of privacy, witness and evidence tampering and the hate crime of bias intimidation. He faces up to 10 years in jail, and could possibly deported to his native India because he is not an American citizen.
What do you guys think of these closing arguments? Is Ravi a clueless kid who was so intrigued by the foreignness of a gay roommate that he spied on him? Or does that creepy spying and his requests for friends to come spy with him, indicate he has hate for homosexuals in his heart?