Sunday, October 3, 2010

Rutgers Student’s face possible Hate Crime charges after violating roommate’s trust

Last week saw Tyler Clementi jumping off the George Washington Bridge after realizing his tryst with another man was shown on the web. The display on the web was not by accident rather it was the work of Clementi's roommate Dharun Ravi and another fellow Rutgers University student Molly Wei. After ruling Clementi's plunge as a suicide, Ravi and Wei were charged with invasion of privacy. Since that time Middlesex County Prosecutor Bruce Kaplan is considering additional charges, "We will be making every effort to assess whether bias played a role in the incident." The additional charge is to charge the duo with a hate crime.

While the action taken by Ravi and Wei violates the trust of roommates and Clementi's cowardly reaction to it, does it really warrant the label of hate crime? Let's say that Clementi does not take the plunge, is anything done? Probably not! The other charge being levied, invasion of privacy is interesting as well since nothing in the Constitutional gives anyone the right to privacy. The Constitutional protects one from right of property but not privacy. What should be the punishment for Ravi and Wei for their violation of trust? Does the punishment increase because Clementi committed suicide? Does it rate as a hate crime?