Middlesex County Superior Court Judge Glenn Berman refused to dismiss criminal charges against defendant Dharun Ravi in the Tyler Clementi case on Friday. Ravi stands accused of using a webcam to stream coverage of his Rutgers roommate Tyler Clementi with another man last September.
Clementi committed suicide last fall following the incident.
“I’m finding there is testimony to support these charges,” Judge Berman said during the hearing.
Defense attorney Steven Altman also asked the judge to make the prosecution give them the name of “M.B.,” the man Clementi was with when Ravi allegedly spied on them; turn over Clementi’s laptop to them; and release police reports about Clementi’s suicide. The judge said the prosecution has to give Altman the name and birth date of “M.B.” but issued a protective order saying Altman cannot release the information to anyone but his client or investigator.
“I recognize “M.B.” has limited knowledge about this case. … I’m balancing his right to privacy with Mr. Ravi’s right to defend himself,” the judge said.
Saying he had “serious doubts” about the relevance of Altman’s request for Clementi’s computer and the police reports about his suicide, the judge nonetheless said the prosecution must provide them to him to inspect before he rules. He then scheduled another hearing for Oct. 20 where he will rule on whether Altman will get those documents, if he has not ruled before then.
“I’m disappointed but it’s really what I expected,” Altman said after the hearing of the judge denying his motion to dismiss the charges against Ravi. “I’m relatively pleased with his decisions about discovery.”
In May, Molly Wei – the other defendant in the case – was accepted into a program for first-time offenders in exchange for agreeing to testify against Ravi. Wei, 19, also has to perform 300 hours of community service, undergo counseling and work full time (or part time if she is in school).
If she successfully meets those conditions, the two invasion of privacy charges against her will be dismissed after three years.