Jury Selection Begins in Rutgers Webcam Spying Case - NBC 10 Philadelphia

Jury Selection Begins in Rutgers Webcam Spying Case

Dharun Ravi faces 15 charges, including invasion of privacy and hindering prosecution. Rutgers student Tyler Clementi killed himself after the incident.

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    Jury Selection Begins in Rutgers Webcam Spying Case
    NBCNewYork
    Dharun Ravi, 19, who is accused of secretly recording and playing the sexual tryst online of a Rutgers University roommate who later committed suicide pleaded not guilty to hate crime charges in the case.

    The first phase of jury selection began Friday in the trial of a former Rutgers University student accused of using a webcam to spy on his roommate's intimate encounter with another man.

    The case sparked a national conversation about the impact of bullying on young gays after the roommate, Tyler Clementi, committed suicide in September 2010, days after the intimate encounter.

    Dharun Ravi faces 15 charges, including invasion of privacy and hindering prosecution. The most serious charge is bias intimidation, a hate crime punishable by 10 years in prison. The 19-year-old Ravi isn't charged in connection with Clementi's death.

    But the suicide looms so large in the case that the judge told jurors about it.

    Student's Sex Tape Suicide Hits Local Colleges

    [PHI] Student's Sex Tape Suicide Hits Local Colleges
    The suicide of Rutgers student Tyler Clementi has a sobering ripple effect on local college students. Two students face charges for putting a secret sex tape of Clementi and another man on the internet.
    (Published Thursday, Sept. 30, 2010)

    About 2,000 prospective jurors were summoned, but most had conflicts that would prevent them from serving in a trial expected to last three to four weeks.

    More than 200 were brought to the Middlesex County Courthouse on Friday to start filling out questionnaires. A few dozen of them were dismissed because of hardships, including one man who said that “emotionally” he didn't belong on the jury. He was excused without being asked to explain further.

    Lawyers in the case are scheduled to meet Tuesday to go through the surveys and decide which jurors have conflicts or other reasons that make them ineligible. Those remaining are to be brought back on Wednesday for interviews.

    It's not clear when the process will be complete and opening arguments will be held.