SHOCK: Court Tosses Conviction Of Student Whose Anti-Gay Bullying Led To Suicide Of Tyler Clementi

The New York Daily News reports:

The 15-count conviction against a Rutgers University student who spied on his roommate and caught him kissing another man — leading to the roommate’s suicide — was thrown out by a New Jersey appeals court Friday. Dharun Ravi will face a new trial on some of the original charges, but not all of them.

He was assigned to live with 18-year-old Tyler Clementi at Rutgers in 2010. Ravi secretly broadcast online images of Clementi in an intimate encounter with another man, and Clementi, a freshman in his first weeks at Rutgers, later jumped off the George Washington Bridge.

Ravi was convicted of bias intimidation, invasion of privacy and other crimes. But the court tossed several bias intimidation counts against him due to a change in state law. The other counts required a new trial, the judges decided. Ravi faced up to 10 years in prison but was sentenced to probation plus 30 days in county jail.

More from

“It’s far from over,” Ravi’s attorney Steven Altman said Friday morning. “I’m extraordinarily pleased with the decision. I haven’t spoken with the Ravi family yet, but I can only imagine they’re pleased as well.”

The appellate court said the prosecution conceded in its oral arguments four of Ravi’s bias convictions should “be void as a matter of law,” and, accordingly, dismissed those charges with prejudice. The court also dismissed Ravi’s conviction on hindering his own apprehension and tampering with witnesses.

Altman previously said the Supreme Court’s decision on the anti-bias statute directly strikes down one of Ravi’s convictions and also brought into question decisions made by the trial judge, Superior Court Judge Glenn Berman, who is now retired. Berman permitted the prosecution to produce evidence of Tyler Clementi’s state of mind to the jury.

Altman said the prosecution now has 20 days to decide whether or not to appeal to the state Supreme Court. Depending on what the prosecution decides, he said, it will then be a matter of whether “we can work something out in a mutually acceptable way.”