Many recall the case of Tyler Clementi, a Rutgers student whose roommate spied on him and another man by remotely accessing his computer’s camera. Ravi and fellow classmate Molly Wei were charged with invasion of privacy, and Ravi was further charged with bias crimes. Successfully representing Molly Wei, JW attorneys Rubin Sinins and Eric Kahn were able to obtain dismissal of the charges against her.
Ravi proceeded to trial and was convicted. A jury found he had invaded Clementi’s privacy and that he was also guilty of bias crimes. The jury found that Ravi was guilty because, among other things, Clementi reasonably felt that Ravi’s conduct was motivated by bias toward Clementi’s sexual orientation. The major issue became whether the victim’s state of mind can be a basis for conviction.
The Appellate Division said no and reversed Ravi’s convictions. In the intervening period between Ravi’s conviction and his appeal, the New Jersey Supreme Court invalidated a portion of New Jersey’s criminal Bias-Intimidation statute. That law permitted conviction based not on the state of mind of the defendant, but rather on the victim’s perception that he was subjected to misconduct due to bias. In that case, JW attorneys Rubin Sinins and Annabelle Steinhacker filed “friend of the court” briefs urging the Supreme Court to strike down the law. While most attorneys are satisfied to handle their cases, the attorneys at JW help to shape the law.
That was precisely what happened when the Court adopted the JW attorneys’ position. The New Jersey Supreme Court declared that the statute was a due process violation and therefore unconstitutional, thereby agreeing with the JW attorneys’ argument. JW Partner Rubin Sinins has stated, “Once we begin to rely upon the state of mind of a victim – and not the accused – to prove a crime, we are trampling on due process and the Constitution”.
The Ravi matter has now been returned for trial on the true merits of the case, what had Ravi done and what were his intentions. This is the basis of our criminal justice system. Once we begin to reduce these rights and due process protections, all Americans are at risk.
When you are charged with a crime, regardless of guilt, you must retain competent lawyers to protect your rights. The Constitution was written in a way that all accused are entitled to due process and many other rights designed to ensure a fair trial. Do not try to handle things on your own. Call the lawyers of the criminal defense department of Javerbaum Wurgaft, who are here to help.