"I do feel it was applied appropriately," Vitale told ABC News after the verdict, and then quickly added, "After possible appeals, we'll take a look at the law and what it means. It may have to be addressed."
Vitale knows that all too well. It was his hate crime bill that was drafted after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that New Jersey's hate crime statute at the time was unconstitutional.
The Law Enforcer
Middlesex County Prosecutor Bruce Kaplan could not have had any idea of the storm that was forming around him when his detectives began investigating Clementi's suicide. But when it became public he was exploring a nexus between Ravi's webcam spying and Clementi's death a few days later, the media was eager to connect the dots and create a firestorm of outrage.
Jurors, not journalists, are bound by a presumption of innocence. And in this case, Ravi was instantly anointed the poster boy for gay cyber-bullying. Facts were distorted, misreported and a misinformed public was given an incomplete and inaccurate narrative.
Now, Kaplan found himself in the unenviable position of weighing the facts unfolding before him against the national clamor that raged. Gay advocates were demanding Ravi be charged with hate crimes. Celebrities were producing emotional videos, validating the narrative.
If he chose not to charge Ravi with hate, the lynch mob would certainly turn on him. His investigators started putting together enough pieces to satisfy a confusing and vague law. So, he punted: Let a jury decide.
The baton was passed to Judge Berman.
In addition to the stampede of reporters and cameramen headed his way, the judge had other worries.
First, there was that "muddled" law awaiting him at the end of the day. It was his unenviable job to explain it to the jury.
Then, there was the issue of Clementi's suicide. Though Clementi's suicide had everything to do the indictment, Ravi was not charged with having any connection in his death. Because the case had received so much publicity, he had to tell the jury what almost all of them already knew – that Tyler Clementi had committed suicide. But he forbade lawyers to address that in the trial.
Perhaps the biggest anomaly in the case of Dharun Ravi was that pink elephant that stood silently in the middle of the courtroom during the two-week trial.
Josh Dubin, a jury expert retained by Ravi's legal team sees it this way:
"The judge tells the jury Tyler Clementi committed suicide. But he's not being charged with the suicide, he's not being charged with the death. And evidence is put before this jury, of what he was doing vis-à-vis, Mr. Ravi's Twitter account, the days leading up to his death. Isn't it fair to say that this jury is left with the impression that 'we might be told that he didn't cause the suicide, but aren't we being told he caused the suicide?'"
The Ravi jury was told from the outset to "put aside" anything they had ever read, heard or seen about the case. Then they were told not to let Clementi's suicide enter into any of their thinking. And then they were handed a confusing law and asked to deliver justice.
"In my opinion I didn't think it was a hate crime until we were presented with an indictment (that explained the law)," said juror Kashad Leverett.
But an alternate juror said he disagreed with his colleagues in finding that Ravi was motivated by anti-gay bias, according to published reports.
"The rest of the charges I'm kind of up in the air about, but as far as the bias charges, there's no way I would have come back guilty on any of them," said James Downey, who was selected as an alternate juror at the close of Ravi's trial last week.