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Mass ACLU: Michelle Carter conviction 'imperils free speech'

23 Juin 2017

"Miss Carter had reason to know that Mr. Roy had followed her instruction and placed himself in the toxic environment of that truck, " Moniz said.

Michelle Carter's parents listen to Judge Lawrence Moniz before he announces his verdict on Friday, June 6, 2017, in Bristol Juvenile Court in Taunton, Mass. Michell Carter was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter in the suicide of Conrad Roy III.

Prosecutors focused on a series of text messages Carter sent Roy in the days before he killed himself.

Prosecutors, however, argued Carter had been eager to gain attention from Roy's suicide and knew exactly what she was doing. "I mean, you're about to die", Carter wrote in one text, after she had previously encouraged the teen to seek professional help. Carter also allegedly texted Roy telling him to "get back in" to his vehicle prior to his death, after he reportedly texted her expressing hesitancy and worry.

While the family will have to wait until August 3 for the sentencing of Carter, who faces up to 20 years in prison, they hope she will receive the maximum punishment.

"Ms. Carter has now been convicted of manslaughter, based on the prosecution's theory that, as a 17-year-old girl, she literally killed Mr. Roy with her words", ACLU Legal Director Matthew Segal said hours after the verdict. "Like I don't get why you aren't", Carter wrote to Roy the day of his suicide. A MA judge ruled that she was guilty of involuntary manslaughter after she texted her boyfriend instructions on how to kill himself. "You can't keep living this way", Michelle allegedly said in another message.

Michelle Carter cries after being found guilty of involuntary manslaughter in the suicide of Conrad Roy III.

Carter's attorney argued she was a troubled, delusional young woman who was "dragged" into the suicidal journey of Roy, who was long intent on killing himself.

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Roy poisoned himself with carbon monoxide on July 13 2014.

"The problem is that technology has vast out-paced existing laws, especially with respect to the assisted-suicide" cases, he said.

"I still don't think ur gonna do this so you have to prove me wrong."

In the end, the judge found that it was not the coercive text messages that caused Roy's death.

Carter's defense attorney Joseph Cataldo said he was "disappointed" by the verdict as he left the courthouse, but did not make any further statement or take questions.

Carter had denied involuntary manslaughter at the trial.

According to CNN, Carter's guilty conviction could set a legal precedent in MA on whether or not it is a crime to tell someone to commit suicide. She also isn't allowed to leave the state.

Martin W. Healy, chief legal counsel to the Massachusetts Bar Association, agreed that the outcome of the case could have widespread impacts but also affirmed the judge's decision.

Mass ACLU: Michelle Carter conviction 'imperils free speech'