Michelle Carter's plea to Supreme Court to consider text messages and calls telling boyfriend to die as free speech gets rejected
Roy was just 18 when he fatally poisoned himself by filling his pickup truck with carbon monoxide on July 12, 2014, all the while talking with Carter by phone and text messages., Carter, who was 17, ordered Roy to "get back in" the pickup when he had second thoughts about the suicide
Michelle Carter's pleas to the US Supreme Court are being rejected with the state saying there is no First Amendment issue to resolve. However, the court might give it a second look as another similar prosecution is also moving forward, a legal expert has said.
Carter's "speech was integral to her commission of a longstanding common-law crime — involuntary manslaughter," according to a response to Carter's petition written by state Attorney General Maura Healey, State Solicitor Elizabeth Dewar and Assistant Attorney General Maria Granik.
According to them, her speech is therefore not protected by the First Amendment, stated a report by the Boston Herald.
Prosecutors in Carter's 2017 landmark case had successfully argued that the text messages she sent to her boyfriend Conrad Roy were criminal in nature. She is currently serving a 15-month prison term.
Boston civil-rights attorney Harvey Silverglate, who believes the conviction should be overturned, said he doesn't think "the ideological place on the left-right spectrum makes a whole lot of difference."
“This is an issue that could really disturb the justices on the right and the left," he added.
In another case last week, Inyoung You, a 21-year-old Boston College student, was arraigned on her own involuntary manslaughter charge after she allegedly abused and manipulated her boyfriend to commit suicide.
According to Silvergate, You's case could increase the chances that the top court would take up Carter's case. "We might be in the early stages of a series of copycat prosecutions of this nature," he said.
Carter's lawyers had appealed to the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court saying her text messages and phone calls with Roy were forms of free speech protected under the First Amendment. However, their appeal was rejected.
Roy was just 18 when he fatally poisoned himself by filling his pickup truck with carbon monoxide on July 12, 2014 — all the while talking with Carter by phone and text messages.
Furthermore, Carter, who was 17 at the time, ordered Roy to "get back in" the pickup when he had second thoughts about killing himself. That said, Carter's case has also inspired a new bill aimed at preventing suicide coercion.
"Conrad's Law," named after the victim and supported by his family, is designed to punish those convincing or manipulating others to take their own life. The offence carries with it with a maximum prison sentence of five years.