LAW & PUBLIC SAFETY

Former Public Defender Thinks Prosecution Has Good Case Against Ravi

The prosecution rested its case in the trial of Dharun Ravi Thursday, a day after showing video of Ravi admitting to police that he violated the privacy of his Rutgers roommate Tyler Clementi. Former New Jersey public defender and current professor at New York Law School Susan Abraham spoke with NJToday Managing Editor Mike Schneider about the high profile case and how she thinks the prosecution did arguing the case.

Abraham said she believes members of the prosecution have established their case, both on the invasion of privacy and bias intimidation charges. She said the police tape includes footage of Ravi admitting he invaded Clementi’s privacy, though she believes the defense will likely argue that Ravi didn’t know what the law requires and therefore his confession can’t be trusted. She said the defense could also argue that Ravi felt threatened and uncomfortable, therefore making it a false confession. Abraham said New Jersey has one of the strongest bias intimidation statutes in the country which requires either the intent by the perpetrator to intimidate someone on the basis of sexual preference or the reasonable belief by the victim that he or she was targeted because of sexual preference. Abraham said she felt text messages Ravi sent to a friend referencing gays was evidence that favored the prosecution.

Ravi was offered a plea bargain prior to the start of the trial which his defense attorneys rejected. Abraham said that decision could be a mistake, except for the fact that Ravi could have been deported.

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