The highest court in Massachusetts, the Supreme Judicial Court in the state, heard the controversial case of Michelle Carter on Thursday. Carter’s attorney is appealing a juvenile court judge’s decision not to dismiss the involuntary manslaughter charge.
For those who don’t remember the case. … Here are some details.
In 2014, Conrad Roy III, was found dead in his pickup truck on July 13, 2014. Roy died by carbon monoxide poisoning. Although, his death was a suicide, Carter was indicted in February of 2015 after police found text messages between Roy and Carter. Prosecutors claimed that the messages proved that Carter “assisted Conrad’s suicide”.
After reviewing the messages, police said, “Michelle not only encouraged Conrad to take his own life, she questioned him repeatedly as to when and why he hadn’t done it yet, right up to the point of when his final text was sent to her on Saturday evening, July 12, 2014.”
Carter was charged with involuntary manslaughter and would most likely stand trial. If convicted, she could face up to 20 years in prison because she was charged as a “youthful offender” instead on a juvenile.
In September of 2015, Carter’s attorney attempted to get the charge dismissed in juvenile court. However, the judge ruled for the case to go ahead which meant that the case would proceed to trial.
On Thursday, the case was heard by the highest court in Mass. The goal was for the judge to dismiss the juvenile court judge’s decision.
Prosecutors argued that when Carter told Roy to “just do it” and when she told him to get back in the truck that day that she was committing manslaughter. While, Carter’s lawyers argued that her actions don’t meet the legal definition of manslaughter.
According to law.com, manslaughter is the unlawful killing of another person without premeditation or so-called “malice aforethought” (an evil intent prior to the killing). It is distinguished from murder by lack of any prior intention to kill anyone or create a deadly situation.” There is voluntary and involuntary manslaughter.
The court has to decide whether or not Carter’s texts “qualify as reckless actions that led to a predictable loss of life, a legal requirement for an involuntary manslaughter conviction,” according to MassLive.com.
According to an article on MSN.com, the court gave no indication on when it would rule.
This case has been very controversial since the beginning. Some people believe that she should be convicted. Reasons being that instead helping Roy or talking him out of suicide, she “pressured” him into it and encouraged it. Some articles state that she lied to his family, friends and the police.
Some argue that she should not be convicted because they believe Roy’s mind was already made up and that no matter what Carter said, he would have gone through with it. It is also argued that what she did was not manslaughter.
While I don’t think there is one single event that leads someone to commit suicide (I think it is combination of multiple triggers or events), I do believe that her actions and text messages did aide or encourage or even push him to go along with his decision. And I do strongly believe that there were so many other options that she should have done instead.
I do think that she should be punished for what she did, but I’m not sure if I would agree that she should serve 20 years in prison. What she did was wrong but 20 years is a long time.
What are your thoughts? How do you think this court will rule? Do you think she should be convicted or not?