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May 21st, 2012
05:21 PM ET

Tonight on AC360: Jim McGreevey: Wrong to send Ravi to prison

Earlier today a New Jersey judge sentenced Dharun Ravi to 30 days in jail for spying and intimidating his gay Rutgers University roommate, Tyler Clementi, who killed himself in September 2010 by jumping off the George Washington Bridge. Clementi’s suicide came shortly after he found out Ravi spied on him using a webcam while he was intimate with a man in their dorm room. Ravi also faces three years probation, community service to assist victims of bias crimes, and he must pay $11,000 in restitution.

Reaction to Judge Glenn Berman's ruling has been varied with some calling for a harsher punishment, and others praising the decision. Former New Jersey governor Jim McGreevey has a different take on the case – he's speaking out against jail time for Ravi.

McGreevey, who resigned as governor in 2004 after announcing he’s “a gay American,” wrote in an op-ed article in The Star-Ledger, "The gay community, which has suffered for so long at the hands of the law, has historically been a strong voice for decency, compassion and civil rights. And perhaps the long trail of gay history inevitably leads to this call for punishment, but it need not."

McGreevey believes prisons don't work, and can't encourage Ravi's acceptance of homosexuality. "The notion of learning the evils of homophobia in prison is absurd," he writes. He also believes Ravi isn't the only one to blame for Clementi's tragic suicide. McGreevy writes, "Homophobia was replete in Clementi’s government, church and culture, not just Ravi’s stupidity."

Tonight McGreevey will elaborate on how he thinks the gay community should perceive justice for Clementi. Anderson will speak with him and former prosecutor Marcia Clark at 8 and 10 p.m. ET on AC360°.

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Filed under: Crime & Punishment • Tyler Clementi
soundoff (7 Responses)
  1. Bobbi

    It's called bullying. BULLYING and it's all over our schools and needs to be stopped. Whether Tyler decided to kill himself because of other emotional problems (gay issues) is not relevant. The lact of caring that Ravi showed was wrong and this was the straw that broke the camel's back.

    May 22, 2012 at 10:18 am |
  2. David

    Ravi destroyed evidence, invaded privacy and impeded the investigation. The jury convicted on 11 counts requiring a one- to ten-year sentence. The conservative Republican activist judge ignored law enacted by the state legislature and signed by the governor. He ignored the verdict of the jury, imposed a slap on the wrist of 30 days in a COUNTY jail (not a prison) and then proceeded to dole out a toungue-lashing on "insensitivity" meant only to preserve his appearance of opposing gay hate to ensure his electability. The first crime against Tyler was. ommitted by Ravi. The second by this judge. No justice.

    May 22, 2012 at 9:26 am |
  3. Bill

    This is a sad day for issues around bullying of gay youth. judge berman said he got it.....but his sentence sends the opposite message. it is clear that ravi's mother feels that her son, is the true victim, not tyler clementi... how twisted is that. judge berman.....you will have to live with the ramificaiton of your sentence. i hope that the clementi family win in appeal of this lite weight and unjust sentence...

    May 22, 2012 at 1:01 am |
  4. Carm

    Crocodile tears. No apology. Deport him, now.

    May 21, 2012 at 9:24 pm |
  5. Jeff Whitten

    This sentence is not a deterent at all. It actually sends the opposite message. How unfortunate!! What does it take to get people's attention regarding the bullying that goes on in this country?

    May 21, 2012 at 8:27 pm |
    • Bill

      I agree. Judge Berman says he gets it....but clearly.....the sentence he gave....says he doesnt and really doesnt care about the larger message. i think there will be some karma coming out to ravi, his family, the judge....and sadly, the clementi family, as perhaps they didnt allow their son to feel free to be who he was

      May 22, 2012 at 12:59 am |
  6. Kenny

    Ravi's actions were not the only reason why Tyler decided to kill himself and putting all of the blame on his shoulder is missing the lesson. Speaking from personal experience "coming out" is one of the most difficult times and not having the acceptance of family; friends, and the public can make you vulnerable to making irrational decisions. Words and actions sometimes have unintended consequences. Ravi’s actions were foolish but did deserve a stiff sentence.

    May 21, 2012 at 8:05 pm |