Attorneys for Dharun Ravi on Tuesday asked Middlesex County Superior Court Judge Glenn Berman to overturn Ravi’s conviction or grant him a new trial.
A jury in March convicted Ravi on a number of invasion-of-privacy charges in connection with his webcam spying on roommate Tyler Clementi’s sexual encounter with another man. Clementi later committed suicide.
The jury also found Ravi guilty of several counts of bias intimidation, as the state’s hate-crimes law includes sexual orientation.
Ravi will be sentenced May 21 and could face up to 10 years in prison and possible deportation to his native India.
Defense attorney Steven Altman argued in his filing that the hate-crime portion of the ruling was unjust, as the decision was split — Ravi was acquitted on some counts of intimidating Clementi but found guilty on other counts associated with Clementi feeling intimidated.
Altman noted in his motion that some jurors have publicly stated they believed Ravi did not intend to intimidate Clementi because of his orientation, but that the latter perceived his actions as intimidating.
“To criminalize a defendant for a victim’s mistaken belief about the defendant’s motive would turn the bias-intimidation statute into a mockery of itself,” Altman wrote.
Altman also contended that there was insufficient evidence to support the invasion-of-privacy charges.
After Clementi asked for the dorm room in September 2010, Ravi remotely tapped into his webcam from a friend’s room and saw Clementi in an embrace with another man. Two days later, he attempted to tap into the camera again and invited others to watch, but the system malfunctioned.
Clementi’s suicide days later sparked a national discussion on bullying of LGBT youth.
Jen Colletta can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.