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You remember this one -- last fall, Rutgers freshman Tyler Clementi leapt off the George Washington Bridge after his roommate, Dharun Ravi, broadcast video over the Internet of Clementi's sexual encounter with another man. We asked at the time whether Ravi could be charged with murder, and I explained that Clementi's suicide was an independent act that broke the causal chain you'd need to obtain such a charge. And "being an asshole" isn't a crime, either, but that didn't leave prosecutors bereft of options.

Today, Ravi was indicted by a grand jury with fifteen counts relating to Clementi's death: two counts each of invasion of privacy and attempted invasion of privacy, offenses that carry penalties of up to five years in prison; two counts of second-degree bias crimes and two counts of third-degree bias crimes; three counts each of tampering with evidence and hindering his own apprehension; and a single count of witness tampering.

 You can read the indictment here.

The latter charges relate to Ravi's after-the-fact efforts to mislead investigators and escape culpability by lying to investigators, deleting some tweets and attempting to persuade others to lie.

What I thought I'd do here is spell out the elements of the other charges under New Jersey law. Emphasis mine:

2C:14-9. Invasion of privacy, degree of crime; defenses, privileges

...     b.     An actor commits a crime of the third degree if, knowing that he is not licensed or privileged to do so, he photographs, films, videotapes, records, or otherwise reproduces in any manner, the image of another person whose intimate parts are exposed or who is engaged in an act of sexual penetration or sexual contact, without that person's consent and under circumstances in which a reasonable person would not expect to be observed.

     c.     An actor commits a crime of the third degree if, knowing that he is not licensed or privileged to do so, he discloses any photograph, film, videotape, recording or any other reproduction of the image of another person whose intimate parts are exposed or who is engaged in an act of sexual penetration or sexual contact, unless that person has consented to such disclosure. For purposes of this subsection, "disclose" means sell, manufacture, give, provide, lend, trade, mail, deliver, transfer, publish, distribute, circulate, disseminate, present, exhibit, advertise or offer. Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection b. of N.J.S.2C:43-3, a fine not to exceed $30,000 may be imposed for a violation of this subsection.

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 [a criminal offense]:

     (1)     with a purpose to intimidate an individual or group of individuals because of race, color, religion, gender, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, national origin, 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, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, national origin, 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, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, national origin, 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, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, national origin, 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, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, national origin, 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, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, national origin, 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.

Clementi's parents issued a statement:
The grand jury indictment spells out cold and calculated acts against our son Tyler by his former college roommate. If these facts are true,as they appear to be, then it is important for our criminal justice system to establish clear accountability under law.

We are eager to move forward for justice in this case and to reinforce the standards of acceptable conduct in this society.

He may face 5-10 years in prison for the accumulated offenses.

Originally posted to Adam B on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 02:08 PM PDT.

Also republished by oo and Milk Men And Women.

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