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A Verdict In A Texting Suicide Case07:03
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With guest host Jane Clayson.

Michelle Carter is guilty of involuntary manslaughter after sending her boyfriend text messages urging him to kill himself. What precedent does this set?

Michelle Carter is charged with involuntary manslaughter for encouraging 18-year-old Conrad Roy III to kill himself in July 2014. (Pat Greenhouse/The Boston Globe via AP, Pool)
Michelle Carter is charged with involuntary manslaughter for encouraging 18-year-old Conrad Roy III to kill himself in July 2014. (Pat Greenhouse/The Boston Globe via AP, Pool)

Guest

David Gray, professor of law, University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law.

From The Reading List

Boston Globe: Michelle Carter found guilty of involuntary manslaughter in texting suicide trial — " A woman who sent her boyfriend a barrage of text messages urging him to kill himself when they were both teenagers was convicted Friday of involuntary manslaughter in a trial that raised questions about whether words can kill."

Boston.com: Read the messages at the heart of the Michelle Carter suicide-by-text manslaughter trial --

Carter: Are you gonna do it now?

Roy: I just don’t know how to leave them, you know.

Carter: Say you’re gonna go to the store or something

Roy: Like, I want them to know that I love them.

Carter: They know. That’s the one thing they definitely know. You’re over thinking.

Roy: I know I’m over thinking. I’ve been over thinking for a while now.

Carter: I know. You jut have to do it like you said. Are you gonna do it now?

Roy: I still haven’t left yet, ha ha

Carter: Why?

Roy: Leaving now.

Carter: Okay. You can do this.

Roy: Okay. I’m almost there.

New York Times: Michelle Carter Didn’t Kill With a Text -- "In either case, Ms. Carter’s conduct was morally reprehensible. But — at least until today’s ruling — it was clearly legal. While some states criminalize the act of convincing people to commit suicide, Massachusetts has no such law. Moreover, speech that is reckless, hateful and ill-willed nevertheless enjoys First Amendment protection. While the Supreme Court has carved out narrowly tailored exceptions for literal threats of violence and incitement to lawless action, telling someone they should kill themselves is not the same as holding a gun to their head and pulling the trigger."

This segment aired on June 20, 2017.

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