Dharun Ravi Appeals Conviction In Tyler Clementi Case

Former Rutgers student Dharun Ravi—who was convicted in March of tampering with evidence, invasion of privacy and bias intimidation in connection with his secretly taping his roommate, Tyler Clementi—has appealed the court’s ruling this week.

In court papers filed Tuesday, Ravi’s lawyers claim the invasion of privacy charge was not legitimate because the webcam footage he broadcasted didn’t show nudity or actual sexual activity.

Lawyers Steven Altman and Philip Nettl claim their client was unfairly blamed for Clementi’s suicide. Refuting the bias charge, they wrote that “to criminalize a defendant for a victim’s mistaken belief about the defendant’s motive would turn the bias-intimidation statute into a mockery of itself.” Altman and Nettle are asking for either a new trial or an acquittal.

Ravi’s sentencing hearing is May 21, when he could face 10 years in prison and/or deportation.

Get Queerty Daily

Subscribe to Queerty for a daily dose of #courts #dharunravi.tylerclementi #newjersey stories and more


  • Cam

    Cue all the Ravi defenders to come in here and start lying about the case.

  • Darlie Brewster

    He is an evil boy who is not sorry at all for what he did.

  • nsomniac

    Deport his ass and make sure he can’t come back.

  • LaTeesha

    He should be deported, not jailed.

  • Spike

    “Lawyers Steven Altman and Philip Nettl claim their client was unfairly blamed for Clementi’s suicide.”

    Isn’t that the perspective of every defense attorney? And the jury concluded otherwise. W
    So what will be their perspective in the new trial if the appeal is granted?

  • Wingfield

    I don’t like the guy but is it too much to ask to use a different picture. Those blood shot eyes are still freaking me out >.>

  • dewin

    Deportation! And the parents as well!

  • Marie Cohn

    Make that _self_-deportation, after five years in an Oz-like incarceration setting.

  • Hyhybt

    @Spike: An appeal doesn’t generally mean a new trial.

  • TheBippi

    Hope the judge throws out the appeal! This is absurd! The jury has decided!

  • Robert Abrami

    He deserves to go to jail. End of story.

  • MikeE

    @Callum: sorry, I call BS on your post.

    Ravi did not only film and display Tyler’s tryst, he also lied to the police, and attempted to destroy evidence implicating him. He was found guilty as charged.

    You may be a “proud gay” for the last 65 years, but apparently you aren’t a lawyer or an officer of the court.

  • B (dated March 20) has an article regarding an appeal in this case – basically what the defense could reasonably try. presents a similar opinion – some experts think there are reasonable grounds for an appeal. is the most up-to-date article I could find. raises questions about the severity of the charges. You may or may not agree, but it is worth reading.

  • James

    I don’t see that the trial judge erred in instructions to the jury, in fact, or in legal procedure. Callum’s spin on the case contains interpretations I do not share. If the (extremely questionable and unsupported) allegation that Clemment called Ravi a “Raghead” is intended as some sort of justification for Ravi’s actions, that is troubling. I believe sincerely that Ravi is guilty of the charges. That said, is he worse than Santorum? Is he worse than a preacher who advocates violence against gay-percieved children? Is he worse than a state senator who seeks to codify discrimination into constitutional law? I submit that the answer to these questions is “no”, and that the link between their individual actions and any suicides that may follow them is too tenuous to be considered “direct”; It is context, and a context that needs to be addressed in the public square. I think that the appeal should be denied. I also think that North Americans need to own their people’s attitudes and prejudices. Ravi is no more homophobic or culpable than any 5 respectable politicians I could name. Deport him? Why? He IS the product of America.

  • Spike

    @Hyhybt: Usually best to read the article before posting or replying. Last sentence, 3rd paragraph:

    “Altman and Nettle are asking for either a new trial or an acquittal.”

    Thus my post/question. Doh.

  • B

    No. 15 · James wrote, “I don’t see that the trial judge erred in instructions to the jury, in fact, or in legal procedure.”

    I don’t think the trial judge is as confident as you are – he called the law in question “muddled”.

    Some of the bias charges are based on whether the victim (who could not testify for obvious reasons) thought he was being intimidated. There’s a reasonable argument that this requires the defendant to use “precognition” to determine what a jury might guess that someone else thought. Normally we only convict people of crimes based on what they do or intended to do, so the question is whether parts of the bias law are too vague. I’d imagine that, or some variation of that, will be part of the appeal (if someone has a link to the actual text of the appeal, that would be useful to see).

  • J


  • Hyhybt

    @Spike: As it happens, I did read the article. Apparently not closely enough, since I missed that detail. Thank you for being so polite in your manner of pointing out the error.

  • Ronn

    NO NO NO DO NOT deport him. FUCK that! Send his ass to JAIL and let him do the hard time. I am so sick of immigrants (legal or illegal) coming to this country and not abiding by the same rules as citizens. They can work and get paid under the table and bypass paying any taxes, when they get sick they go to the hospital and get treated for free whereas if I didnt have insurance coverage I’ll get slapped with a huge medical bill and hounded by a collection agency until its paid and/or have my credit ruined. I also sat on jury once where an Indian guy brutally raped a woman and what happened to him after he was convicted? He was simply just sent back to India and subsequently let go free once he got there. If that were me (a U.S born citizen), I would be rotting in jail right now and rightly so. If we commit crimes abroad we are NOT just sent back to the U.S. If you come to our country you MUST follow our rules and pay the price and not just given a free flight back home to walk free when you step off of the plane.

  • Ryan

    Seems like he is just whining about losing his case. Maybe if he would have taken the plea deal like his little friend he would not be dealing with this right now. . .BUT OH NO our big strong man pride would never take a plea deal to avoid the possibility that you might be found guilty . . . WHOOOOOPS!!!!!!!!

  • Dr. Norman C. Murphy

    @Callum: NO! You should be prosecuted for being an ignoramus. Your sexuality has nothing to do with anything and particularly your intellect. He was prosecuted and should have been for merely observing let along trying to put it out on the internet. You must have been a bath house queen who loved to have people watch your sexual activities.

  • Ryan

    Lock him UP! he had his opportunity to say sorry and right the wrong but he said NO im NOT GUILTY of ANYTHING.

    Look at what they gave Wei who complied – community service? Counseling? classes? who got bullied again??

    “Though the court will drop the charges against Wei, she will still have to complete 300 hours of community service, undergo cyberbullying counseling, and take classes about how to respect people of different backgrounds. Meanwhile, Ravi may spend a very long time in prison for “charges of invasion of privacy with bias intimidation because, prosecutors say, he targeted Clementi for his sexual orientation. Ravi has also been charged with witness tampering and destruction of evidence for allegedly deleting text messages, altering tweets that could implicate him in the crime and attempting to convince individuals not to testify against him in court.”

    Full story here:

  • Aussie Col

    I’m not sorry for Ravi at all. I appreciate Callum’s comments about deportation, but nothing else.

    Put his ass in Jail.

  • jj

    yeah deport his ass. Why should we pay for his incarceration.

  • Kev C

    Send him to the penitentiary so he can learn to be penitent.

  • Alexi3

    I don’t want him deported, I want him in jail. If they want to initiate deportation proceedings against him AFTER he’s spent his time in jail, that is just fine with me but to simply deport him hardly seems like punishment. By the way mr. 65 years of being gay and proud, he wasn’t convicted of causing Tyler’s death; that’s not what he’s being sentenced for.

  • B

    No. 20 · Ronn wrote, “NO NO NO DO NOT deport him. FUCK that! Send his ass to JAIL and let him do the hard time.”

    … the usual procedure is to deport someone after they’ve served time in prison. The time in prison is meant as punishment. The deportation is to make the guy someone else’s problem after he gets out of jail.

  • Jose Rodriguez

    The thing that bothers me here is that he keeps trying to say it was not his fault that he killed himself. As a really happy guy who was bullied and contemplated suicide, I can tell you that something like this could have pushed me over the edge. I understand Ravi being young and stupid, but a lot of people are young and stupid and when they decide, for example, to get in a car and drive drunk, they still have to pay for their actions. He deleted tweets and tried to obstruct an investigation. He has never sat down and apologized to the family. This kid needs to be punished, not just because that is how the system works, but because others need to know this behavior (to a gay or straight person mind you) will not be tolerated by society.

  • Derek Williams

    Ravi’s action was deplorable, but so are the actions of a lot of immature people of any age. I don’t believe this alone triggered Clementi’s suicide. That ideation I suspect began when his parents did not at first accept his sexuality, as has already been adduced.

    That said, the Prosecution did not charge Ravi with causing Clementi’s suicide. Their case rested solely upon proven breaches of the law.

    It’s a tragedy for young Ravi too, that ill-considered teenage foolishness has ruined the rest of his life. He was not yet mature enough to understand the magnitude of potential consequences. Homophobic attitudes he brought with him had been bred into him from birth, and thus contributed to his mindset and his behaviour. Such attitudes won’t change overnight, but cases like this certainly bring them into the spotlight and provoke valuable conversations about prejudice and the immense destruction that it wreaks.

  • I get it too

    I think we gays are doing our case a disservice by this screaming for blood in this case. It was an immature prank, basically copied from American Pie, that went horribly wrong. When you saw that movie, you all laughed at that scene. Now you are all on your high horses, willing to destroy someone’s life, just to make a point. I think it detracts from our fight for fairness for everybody.

    By the way, some of the anti-immigrant speech here counts, in my book, as bigoted hate speech worse than Rhavi has ever been quoted as uttering. As an immigrant myself, I find it very offensive. Some of you seriously need to look to yourselves before joining the stoning.

  • Agreed

    I agree with Ronn, he should just go to jail not be deported.

  • Kev C

    @I get it too: This is nonsense. American Pie is not a defense for malicious action. A person is dead because of Ravi’s prank and you’re making a joke of it.

  • Hyhybt

    There are many things that are funny or otherwise allowable in movies that should never happen in real life. Most people know that and can tell the difference.

  • B

    No. 34 · Kev C wrote, “@I get it too: This is nonsense. American Pie is not a defense for malicious action. A person is dead because of Ravi’s prank and you’re making a joke of it.”

    Guys, none of us know the reason for the suicide. There was apparently a note, but it was withheld from the defense (and from the public as well). There is a claim that the note was improperly withheld from the defense, and that is one of the claims in the appeal: . Ravi’s lawyers are claiming that this note might have helped determine Clementi’s state of mind, and was therefore relevant to the defense, although whether the note would have helped or hurt the defense if shown in court is an open question.

  • KV

    The invasion of privacy charges are def legit. However, I also think the lawyers are right about Ravi being unfairly blamed for the suicide.

  • Kyle

    “Keep the gays away” -Dharun Ravi

  • Aussie Col

    @KV: I appreciate what you are saying, but cannot agree about the suicide. I agree that he is not solely to blame, but he does have some responsibility in this as the action that triggered the suicide. But I don’t believe any of the charges are about that. He also needs to answer for evidence and witness tampering… there is enough legit charges to put him away, as he should be as a deterrent to himself and others.

  • KV

    @Aussie Col: Only person to “blame” for ANY suicide is the person who commits the suicide. Suicide is not an involuntary action. Invasion of privacy and harassment? Yes. Having a role in the suicide? Not unless he’s Dr. Kevorkian reincarnated (and I think “Dr. Death” was highly misunderstood)!

  • B

    No. 37 · Kyle wrote, ‘“Keep the gays away” -Dharun Ravi’

    This is an out-of-context quote. What actually happened, based on press reports during the trial, was that there was an exchange of emails/text/chat with some banter about what would happen if Ravi’s roommate & his roommate’s boyfriend tried to hop into Ravi’s bed. He said something about his computer/webcam and summarized it with a one liner: “keep the gays away”. In context it wasn’t homophobic (it is not homophobic for a straight guy to say that he doesn’t want any gay sex going on in his own bed, since straight guys typically want only straight sex going on in their own beds). It was just the sort of joking typical of 18 year olds. Ravi was obviously joking about the hypothetical possibility of gay sex occurring in Ravi’s own bed and how he’d avoid it! He was probably just trying to be cute and witty (at a level that adults would find not so witty, but Ravi was barely out of high school). If you want to see how adults make a “gay” comment that is hilarious, try .

    Now, from what I’ve read about Ravi, I would not want anything to do with him on a personal level, but I don’t think we should demonize people by quoting them out of context so as to misrepresent what they actually meant.

  • Robert Abrami

    Ravi was tried and found guilty. He has the right to appeal and we’ll see where we go from there.
    I’ve read all the comments and many are thought provoking and have clearly been made after much thought.
    As a gay man who is almost 70 I will tell you that being gay when I was a young man in college (a Catholic one) was not easy and that’s an understatement but that was a long time ago.
    Now this young man (Ravi) decides to photograph/film/tape? his roommate and show it to others. It was done, I believe, to humiliate and in doing do caused great mental anguish to the young man who eventually took his life.
    Ravi did things to cover-up what he did. That’s a crime. Invasion of privacy is also a crime.
    Deep down in your heart do you really think this was just an adolescent joke?
    It was a malicious, thought out act of humiliating a person.
    I think Ravi’s actions played a part in the unfortunate suicide of Tyler Clementi. He’ll have to live with that for the rest of his life.

Comments are closed.