Dharun Ravi has already suffered enough: parents
Ravi, 20, was sentenced yesterday in a New Brunswick court by Judge Glenn Berman in Superior Court in Middlesex County.
In addition to 30 days in jail, set to begin May 31, Berman also sentenced Ravi to three years of probation, 300 hours of community service, and counseling regarding cyber bullying and alternative lifestyles.
Ravi must also pay a USD 10,000 fine, which will go to a facility dedicated to victims of bias crimes. "I heard this jury say guilty 288 times- 24 questions, 12 jurors, that`s the multiplication," the judge told Ravi, referring to the questionnaire jurors filled out in arriving at the verdict.
"And I haven`t heard you apologise once. I do not believe he hated Tyler Clementi," the judge told a courtroom packed with supporters of Ravi as well as with the Clementi family.
"I do believe he acted out of colossal insensitivity". During the sentencing hearing, Ravi`s father Ravi Pazhani said for the past 20 months "we have witnessed several chapters of vengeful, malicious, selective prosecution filled with lies and injustice".
He urged the judge to "show heart" in the sentencing to "make sure the last chapter is all about truth, justice and preserve the sanctity of American judicial system which is widely believed to be the best in the world".
Pazhani said his son was convicted of bias intimidation under a "muddled law". "Every coin has two sides and so does this story. In this case, until the trial, no one cared about the more truthful side of this story because it was not sensational, doesn`t help media ratings, doesn`t give any political mileage and doesn`t help advance lobby group`s agenda.
"Even it meant going against the constitution and denying Dharun the fundamental constitutional right, `presumption of innocence`," he said in court.
Ravi`s father urged the judge to consider the fact that Dharun was 18 years old when the incident happened and was "not a fully grown adult" at that time. "He has been living in self-exile for past 20 months. Since then he seldom leaves the house for any social activity and completely withdrawn from his friends. As a 20 year old how much more is he expected to endure," he said.
He added that "contrary to the false propaganda,"they are not homophobic family and "Dharun was not raised to hate Gays". "He didn`t grow up in such an environment. We live in a diverse community".
Ravi`s mother Sabitha who also made a statement at the sentencing, said from the end of September 2010 to this day, "what my son Dharun is going through, there are no words for me to explain".
"The smile and his bright eyes are all gone from his face. When it all started and the media was ripping him apart with their misleading facts and the wrongful statements of prominent people, he was absolutely devastated and broken into pieces. The media misconstrued the facts to the public and misconceptions were formed about Dharun and his character. I was watching him helplessly and all I could do is hug him and cry.
I didn`t have any power to stop all of this and save my son and prove to the world what a kind-hearted and loving person he is. He doesn`t have hatred toward anybody".
Terming the media`s influence in the case as "devastating", Sabitha said Dharun has suffered enough the past two years. "My 20-year-old son already has too much burden on his shoulders to face the rest of his life. I strongly believe the honorable judge will give him a chance to try his best to lead a normal life".
As his mother broke down while making the statemnt in court, Ravi himself began crying, the first time since the beginning of the trial that he had publicly shown more than a glimpse of emotion.