LIONEL PODCAST: Dharun Ravi Falls Victim to the Thought Police

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Guilty! Sorta. Dharun Ravi is guilty. Of being a dick and first class prick — to use the legal terminology — and that’s it. Get him for invasion of privacy or trespass or the illegal interception of communications, anything but bias intimidation.

There will be a significant number of folks who have no idea what I’m talking about, but that never bothered me before. And it doesn’t bother me now. You see, they lack critical thinking skills and mistake whether this is a sad or bad case with should Dharun Ravi be charged with what he thought.

This was a travesty. Not the verdict, but the statute that allowed the verdict in the first place.

Oh, now he’s concerned. “When the law was written, we didn’t have Facebook, Twitter, spycams,” said state Sen. Joseph Vitale, the author of the bias intimidation law. “We’re going to revisit the law after the case has concluded, we’re going to look at it and see if we need to further clarify our bias principles. We want to make sure there are no questions in the future.”

Some legal scholars also have questions about the law. “The invasion of privacy here is crystal clear,” said Louis Raveson, a law professor at Rutgers School of Law in Newark. “But can you prove intent of bias intimidation, or can you really believe [Clementi] was selected for mistreatment because of bias?”

What the hell is bias intimidation? Let’s look at the statute, shall we?

2C:16-1. Bias intimidation.

a. Bias Intimidation. A person is guilty of the crime of bias intimidation if he commits, attempts to commit, conspires with another to commit, or threatens the immediate commission of an offense specified in chapters 11 through 18 of Title 2C of the New Jersey Statutes; N.J.S.2C:33-4; N.J.S.2C:39-3; N.J.S.2C:39-4 or N.J.S.2C:39-5,

(1) with a purpose to intimidate an individual or group of individuals because of race, color, religion, gender, handicap, sexual orientation, or ethnicity; or

(2) knowing that the conduct constituting the offense would cause an individual or group of individuals to be intimidated because of race, color, religion, gender, handicap, sexual orientation, or ethnicity; or

(3) under circumstances that caused any victim of the underlying offense to be intimidated and the victim, considering the manner in which the offense was committed, reasonably believed either that (a) the offense was committed with a purpose to intimidate the victim or any person or entity in whose welfare the victim is interested because of race, color, religion, gender, handicap, sexual orientation, or ethnicity, or (b) the victim or the victim’s property was selected to be the target of the offense because of the victim’s race, color, religion, gender, handicap, sexual orientation, or ethnicity.

b. Permissive inference concerning selection of targeted person or property. Proof that the target of the underlying offense was selected by the defendant, or by another acting in concert with the defendant, because of race, color, religion, gender, handicap, sexual orientation, or ethnicity shall give rise to a permissive inference by the trier of fact that the defendant acted with a purpose to intimidate an individual or group of individuals because of race, color, religion, gender, handicap, sexual orientation, or ethnicity.

c. Grading. Bias intimidation is a crime of the fourth degree if the underlying offense referred to in subsection a. is a disorderly persons offense or petty disorderly persons offense. Otherwise, bias intimidation is a crime one degree higher than the most serious underlying crime referred to in subsection a., except that where the underlying crime is a crime of the first degree, bias intimidation is a first-degree crime and the defendant upon conviction thereof may, notwithstanding the provisions of paragraph (1) of subsection a. of N.J.S.2C:43-6, be sentenced to an ordinary term of imprisonment between 15 years and 30 years, with a presumptive term of 20 years

d. Gender exemption in sexual offense prosecutions. It shall not be a violation of subsection a. if the underlying criminal offense is a violation of chapter 14 of Title 2C of the New Jersey Statutes and the circumstance specified in paragraph (1), (2) or (3) of subsection a. of this section is based solely upon the gender of the victim.

e. Merger. Notwithstanding the provisions of N.J.S.2C:1-8 or any other provision of law, a conviction for bias intimidation shall not merge with a conviction of any of the underlying offenses referred to in subsection a. of this section, nor shall any conviction for such underlying offense merge with a conviction for bias intimidation. The court shall impose separate sentences upon a conviction for bias intimidation and a conviction of any underlying offense.

L.2001,c.443,s.1.

Hoist by his own Twitter petard. Or was he? Ravi’s Twitter page below, look at it. Where does he evince a hatred or bias against Clementi for being gay? It also illustrates the usual mindless stream of vacuity that is the stuff of most Twitter pages.

Quite the wit, this guy. Quite the wit, indeed.

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