An Indian-origin student who was found guilty of bias intimidation for spying on his gay roommate's sexual encounter has asked a judge to grant him probation instead of a prison sentence, even as letters of support from his friends and family were submitted in court.
Dharun Ravi, 20, is scheduled to be sentenced on May 21 and faces up to 10 years in prison and possible deportation to his native India.
As the sentencing date approaches, Ravi's lawyers Steven Altman and Philip Nettl have stepped up efforts to get their client's conviction either overturned or to get him a probation sentence instead of jail time and deportation.
The attorneys submitted a 33-page memorandum in the Superior Court of New Jersey today "seeking a non-custodial period of probation" for Ravi.
They said Ravi would "respond affirmatively to probationary treatment" and the sentencing court should take into consideration whether the imprisonment would mean a "serious injustice" to Ravi.
The lawyers said his client is as American as any other 20-year old college student who was born here and he should not be deported to India, a country where he has not lived for 15 years.
In the papers, lawyers said it would be unfair to send him to prison as that would likely mean he would face deportation to India. Ravi also does not have any criminal record and the Indian community feels he has been "treated unfairly."
Following a nearly three-week trial in March, Ravi was found guilty on bias intimidation and invasion of privacy charges for using a webcam and spying on his Rutgers University roommate Tyler Clementi, who later committed suicide in September 2010.