Michelle Carter Trial Begins: Defense Argues Free Speech Protection

By Mira Soni 

Michelle Carter was 17 when her boyfriend, Conrad Roy, committed suicide in his truck in a Kmart parking lot in Taunton, Massachusetts. Several months after his death, Carter was indicted after prosecutors discovered text messages between Carter and Roy from the months leading up to Roy’s death.

This week, Carter will go on trial for involuntary manslaughter. Prosecutors argue that the messages she sent her boyfriend and a phone call between the two of them immediately before he committed suicide were a central cause of his death.

In an interview with MassLive, one of Carter’s attorney’s, Joseph Cataldo, stated that her text messages were protected, and her actions could not be criminalized. .

“This is clearly just speech,” Cataldo said. “There was no physical action taken by Michelle Carter in connection with the death. It was just words alone. And words alone need to be a true threat in order not to be protected by the First Amendment.”

Opening statements for the case began this morning.

Additional Sources:

Texting suicide case trial begins (CNN)

“Just do it babe” woman accused of pushing her boyfriend to kill himself is on trial this week (Washington Post)

 

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