Ravi Might Have Avoided His Light Jail Sentence If He'd Apologized Sooner

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Dharun Ravi's apology on Tuesday came too late to save him from serving jail time, as the judge in his case said on Wednesday the reason he rejected a corrections official's suggested sentence of no incarceration was that he'd never heard him say sorry. Last week, when Berman sentenced Ravi to a month in county jail and three years' probation, he criticized Ravi for his failure to apologize, saying, "I have not heard you apologize once" and calling the note of apology Ravi offered in a pre-trial hearing "unimpressive." In a hearing on Wednesday, he defended his sentence, in part by pointing to the more lenient recommendations made by the corrections official who conducted a pre-sentencing interview that would have focused on community service including visiting schools to talk about his experience.  Berman said Ravi "would not be an 'appropriate' spokesman against bias, given that he had barely acknowledged any wrongdoing." 

Ravi offered his first public apology on Tuesday, in which he said, "I accept responsibility for and regret my thoughtless, insensitive, immature, stupid and childish choices that I made on Sept. 19, 2010, and Sept. 21, 2010," and added, "My behavior and actions, which at no time were motivated by hate, bigotry, prejudice or desire to hurt, humiliate or embarrass anyone, were nonetheless the wrong choices and decisions. I apologize to everyone affected by those choices."

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There was no word in Kate Bernike's report on the Wednesday hearing for The New York Times on whether the judge addressed Ravi's statement. Ravi had faced up to 10 years in state prison, and prosecutors want him to do at least some of that time. However, the judge said Wednesday he didn't think prison time was appropriate for Ravi's crimes. Per The Star-Ledger, Berman said, "I can’t find it in me to remand this gentlemen to a state prison that houses such people convicted of murder, robbery and rape." 

At the hearing, Ravi said he wants to start the sentence right away, even though he doesn't technically have to while prosecutors appeal its leniency, because, "it's the only way I can get on with my life."

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.