Sometimes the law just doesn't fit.
The case of a former Rutgers University student convicted of using a webcam to spy on his gay roommate is the latest example.
Dharun Ravi, 20, was sentenced on Monday to 30 days in jail, counseling, three years' probation and 300 hours of community service and ordered to pay $10,000 to a program that helps victims of hate crimes for his actions that preceded the suicide of Tyler Clementi.
Ravi and Clementi had been randomly assigned as roommates in a Rutgers dormitory.
Clementi jumped to his death from the George Washington Bridge, shortly after learning Ravi and another student had spied on him kissing a male visitor in his dorm room and sent instant messages and tweets about the incident.
A jury found Ravi guilty of bias intimidation, invasion of privacy and hindering prosecution in the case.
He could have been sentenced up to 10 years in prison if this was a hate crime, so only receiving 30 days behind bars has some people crying foul. Prosecutors are threatening to appeal the sentence.
While the judge acknowledged Ravi's actions were widely inappropriate, he said he did not believe the 20-year-old actually hated Clementi for being gay.
And that's the rub in this case. Clearly Ravi crossed the line in invading Clementi's privacy, an action that logically contributed to his decision to kill himself. That's a crime, but absent of abuse or threats, is it really a hate crime?
This is an area in which the law doesn't ideally fit the circumstances. And regrettably, nothing will bring Clementi back to his family.
Ravi deserves punishment for his actions, but what people will see as "justice" will be colored by their own perceptions as too light or too tough.
Perhaps the one thing all of us can agree on is a hope that this case sends a strong message to others about the need to recognize someone's privacy and the tragic consequences that can occur when it's invaded.