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UPDATE: Lawyers for both Dharun Ravi and the prosecution on Monday announced plans to appeal the relatively lenient probationary sentence the former Rutgers freshman received earlier in the day.
The lead prosecutor, Bruce Kaplan, said that the 30-day jail sentence is too lenient for a crime that could have put Ravi behind bars for 10 years. Ravi's defense lawyer, meanwhile, say the conviction itself was an error on the part of the court. The Newark Star-Ledger has more.
Thursday, May 21: A New Jersey judge on Monday sentenced Dharun Ravi to 30 days in jail as part of a relatively lenient probationary sentence that also included a recommendation that the former Rutgers student not be deported to India.
Ravi was convicted in March of bias intimidation and invasion of privacy for using a webcam to spy on his freshman roommate, Tyler Clementi, kissing another man. Three days after the incident, Clementi committed suicide by jumping to his death from the George Washington Bridge. While Ravi was never charged or convicted in his roommate's death, the case generated front-page headlines and sparked a national conversation about cyber-bullying and the struggles of LGBT teens.
Ravi faced up to 10 years for second-degree bias intimidation charges and possible deportation back to India, where he was born before moving to the United States as a young boy. Prior to his trial, Ravi rejected a plea deal that would have kept him out of prison and likely removed the possibility of deportation.
Under the terms of the sentence, Ravi will also receive three years of probation, 300 hours of community service and $10,000 fines.
The New York Times reports that in the weeks leading up to Monday's hearing, a growing number of gay-rights advocates began calling for a lenient sentence for Ravi, arguing that a lengthy prison term would be both unfair to Ravi and risk prompting an anti-gay backlash.
Throughout the trial, prosecutors and the defense fought over whether Ravi's actions were simply those of an immature college student or something criminally worse. Defense lawyers portrayed Ravi's behavior as the mark of an ignorant teenager, not a hateful homophobe. Prosecutors, however, made the case that Ravi's online actions were deliberate, malicious and intended to deprive Clementi of his dignity.