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Alternate juror disagrees with Dharun Ravi Rutgers spycam verdict

Dharun Ravi leaves the courtroom on Friday, March 16, 2012 at the Middlesex Superior Court in New Brunswick, N.J. Ravi, a former Rutgers University student accused of using a webcam to spy on his gay roommate's love life has been convicted of bias intimidation and invasion of privacy. A jury found that he used a webcam to spy on roommate Tyler Clementi. Within days, Clementi realized he had been watched and jumped to his death from New York's George Washington Bridge in September 2010. Pool, Jerry McCrea,AP Photo/The Star-Ledger

Dharun Ravi leaves the courtroom on Friday, March 16, 2012 at the Middlesex Superior Court in New Brunswick, N.J.
Pool, Jerry McCrea,AP Photo/The Star-Ledger

(CBS/AP) NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. - An alternate juror in the trial of former Rutgers University student Dharun Ravi, who was convicted in a webcam spying episode that ended in his gay roommate's suicide, said he disagrees with the verdict.

Pictures: Tyler Clementi
Pictures: Rutgers Spycam Trial

The jury, which returned its verdict Friday, was unanimous in finding Ravi guilty of all 15 charges, including invasion of privacy and anti-gay intimidation.

James Downey told The Record newspaper on Saturday that he wouldn't have voted to convict Dharun Ravi on any charges related to allegations that his actions were motivated but anti-gay bias.

Prosecutors said Ravi set up his webcam in his dorm room and watched Tyler Clementi kissing another man on Sept. 19, 2010, then tweeted about it and excitedly tried to catch Clementi in the act again two days later. A half dozen students were believed to have seen the live video of the kissing; no video was taken the second time.

As an alternate, Downey heard all the testimony but did not participate in deliberations. 

Ravi wasn't charged with causing or contributing to his roommate's death. Clementi committed suicide by jumping off the George Washington Bridge days after his intimate encounter with the other man. The case stirred a national conversation about anti-gay bullying and teen suicide.

"Whatever (Ravi) 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."

Downey said he was "kind of up in the air" on the other charges, saying he likely would have voted to convict Ravi on charges of hindering apprehension and tampering with witnesses and evidence.

"The fact that I was picked as an alternate was almost relieving to me, especially considering the verdict they came back with," he said. "I don't really want to carry that around as far as the responsibility of sending somebody, especially a young man, to prison."

Ravi could face five to 10 years in prison on the bias intimidation charges alone when he's sentenced May 21.  He could also be deported to his native India even though he has lived legally in the U.S. since he was little.

Ravi's lawyers have vowed to appeal the verdict.

Complete coverage of Tyler Clementi and the Dharun Ravi trial on Crimesider


  • Crimesider Staff

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