Saturday, March 17, 2012

Would Dharun Ravi Have Been Convicted If Not For Twitter?

                          Tyler Clementi                            Dharun Ravi

Here is an interesting link to a New York Times article about Dharun Ravi's conviction. He is the Rutgers student who was recently found guilty of invasion of privacy and bias intimidation in the death of his roommate, Tyler Clementi, whom he filmed engaging in sex with another man.

This case is interesting from a psychological perspective because Mr. Ravi may not have been convicted were it not for Mr. Clementi's Twitter and Facebook feeds. Those feeds documented his mental state and beliefs leading up to his suicide. According to the article, jurors were fairly convinced that Mr. Clementi thought Mr. Ravi was targeting him because of his sexual orientation. If this same case had occurred 10 years ago, prosecutors would have had an extremely difficult time determining what Mr. Clementi had been thinking around the time of his suicide. But, with Twitter and Facebook documenting all of our thoughts, emotions, and behaviors in an up-to-the-minute kind of way, prosecutors were able to convince the jury fairly quickly that Mr. Ravi was guilty.

New York Times: Jurors Say Digital Evidence Convinced Them Of Dharun Ravi's Guilt

Thanks for reading-- Max Wachtel, Ph.D.
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