WE THE PEOPLE, respectfully petition the Governor of the State of New Jersey, Chris Christie: In 2012, in a land where we proclaim liberty as our most important right, a jury in the New Jersey Cyber Bullying trial found 20 year old student Dharun Ravi guilty of bias counts against homosexuals based singly and solely upon what the jury perceived suicide victim Tyler Clementi's thoughts might have been. This is an unprecedented reach by prosecutors and the gay alliance to create a law that essentially asks jurors to be mind readers and thought police. No other law, no other crime allows a conviction based on what anyone other than the accused may have been thinking. And for good reasons. For one thing, no one CAN know with even the remotest of certainty what another may have been thinking. That perception will always be colored by the fact finder’s own thoughts, feelings and bias. Secondly, especially in the case where there is no victim to testify, as in the case after Tyler's suicide, there is no way for the accused to exercise their basic right to face their accuser, as our law requires and expose or challenge the very state of mind and perceptions the prosecution's theories allege. Adding to the problem is an overreaching statute that is confusing at best, impossible to adjudicate fairly and easy to misinterpret. In the instant case, the presiding Trial Judge, the Hon. Glenn Berman, himself repeatedly called the statute 'muddled, confusing and bewildering', admitting that he himself had had to review it dozens of times and still was not entirely sure of its nuances, much less intent. One of these statements was made in front of the jury during his jury instructions. If a veteran Judge, with years of legal education behind him, cannot be sure of the legislative intent behind the statute, how can a jury made up of non legal professionals ever hope or be expected to apply it properly? How can the future of a promising youth be decided fairly under such a statute where confusion reigns? How can the government take away his most precious right, his freedom, and sentence him to a term of incarceration based on such ‘muddled’ law?
This point is unerscord by the statements of Juror Kashad Leverett. Leverett was a voting member of the jury, a student and ironically, a criminal justice major. He was one of the twelve who returned the guilty verdicts. If anyone in that jury room had any chance of understanding the statutes in question it was probably Leverett with his at least basic academic legal training. When polled in open court, Leverett went on the record, under oath, and stated that he agreed with each of the verdict findings. Yet, in an ABC News-NY interview the morning after the verdict was rendered, when asked by the journalist conducting the interview "Do you think Ravi targeted Clementi because he was gay?" Leverett answered, "No, I don't think so. I don't think he did it because he was gay. There was no proof he was homophobic." He went on to state he also didn't see guilt where the invasion of privacy charges were concerned. (See video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R3nO-TWQHNE)
Yet he went on record in open court, under oath, to say he voted for guilt.
Either Leverett had no understanding of the statutes he was applying, no understanding of the elements of the law that needed to be applied in his verdict, or he voted against his conscience out of malice toward the defendant or as the result of intimidation by other jurors. In any case, he voted guilty to counts for which he did not believe any guilt existed. That tacit admission by Leverett is itself cause that this verdict be set aside as a gross miscarriage of justice.
The laws of this great land are created at the representative blessing of the people, for the people and by the people. The people expect those laws to be created and carried out in fairness, with equality, clarity and wisdom. WE THE PEOPLE, herein signed, find New Jersey’s current ‘muddled and bewildering’ bias statute to be both unfair and overbroad in its own right and unfair in its instant application to student Dharun Ravi. We therefore ask the Governor of New Jersey, Chris Christie, a fair and honest man of good conservative values to acknowledge that: Whereas: Dharun Ravi was convicted on four counts of bias and faces sentencing of up to ten years in the State's Prison when sentenced on May 21st, 2012. Whereas: The prosecutor’s office was unable to produce a single witness to support their claim that Dharun Ravi has ever spoken, acted or behaved in a way that exhibited any bias toward homosexuals. Whereas: Every witness the prosecution did call vehemently denied prosecutions allegations, both during direct and cross examination, that Dharun Ravi ever spoke, acted or behaved in a way that exhibited any bias toward homosexuals and in truth used the word NEVER when asked of witnessing such behavior by Mr. Ravi. Whereas: Every witness the defense did call vehemently denied prosecutions allegations, both during direct and cross examination, that Dharun Ravi ever spoke, acted or behaved in a way that exhibited any bias toward homosexuals and in truth used the word NEVER when asked of witnessing such behavior by Mr. Ravi. Whereas: Judge Glenn Berman, a seasoned legal professional and veteran trial judge himself stated multiple times on the record that the statute the defendant was being charged with was ‘muddled, confusing and bewildering’, and that he feared the jury being confused by it, as well as stating to the jury itself that the statue was ‘bewildering’ during jury instructions.
Whereas: A Juror in the case, Kashad Leverett admitted in a post verdict interview that he found no guilt in Ravi to support a verdict of guilty for either the bias or invasion of privacy counts but cast a guilty vote anyway.
Whereas: The citizens of New Jersey should not be paying to incarcerate this citizen (which would be nearly $250,000) who committed no violent crime against person or property.
Whereas: Mr. Ravi should have never been convicted on these bias counts because there was no corroborative evidence to support any allegations that he acted in hate of a protected minority and was only done so because of a ‘muddled and bewildering’ statute and the preconceived notions of a jury misled for almost two years by slanted media reporting. Therefore we ask that Dharun Ravi be granted executive clemency with regard to each and every bias count of his conviction, and that his sentence with regard to each and every one of those bias counts be commuted. Further be it resolved: We ask that New Jersey's bias intimidation laws be repealed or reformed, especially in light of the recent US Supreme Court decisions, recent New Jersey Appellate Court decisions and the clear and present miscarriage of justice in the case of 20 year old student Dharun Ravi.
WE THE PEOPLE, petition Governor Christie to uphold Dharun Ravi’s constitutional rights an reverse this travesty of American justice
(Please note, we encourage you to allow your name to be shown to lend credibility to the petition when we present it to Governor Christie and Judge Berman... While not required, it would ensure the receiving parties that the signatories were legitimate. Thank you for supporting Dharun.)
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