High Court Could Revisit 'Texting Suicide' Case

Michelle Carter's new attorneys say her "unprecedented" involuntary murder conviction was unlawful
By Josh Gardner,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 4, 2018 1:45 AM CST
Updated Mar 4, 2018 1:45 PM CST
Michelle Carter awaits her sentencing in a courtroom in Taunton, Mass., Thursday, Aug. 3, 2017, for involuntary manslaughter   (Matt West/The Boston Herald via AP, Pool)

(Newser) – Attorneys for the Massachusetts woman who stood trial for pressuring her on-again off-again boyfriend into suicide while they were teens want her involuntary manslaughter conviction overturned. Michelle Carter's new team of lawyers, who are petitioning the state's highest court, said last month that the case against the now 21-year-old was unlawful. "Nothing in Massachusetts law made clear to 17-year-old Carter, or anyone else, that such circumstances could constitute involuntary manslaughter," read the application to Massachusetts Supreme Court, per MassLive. Carter was convicted in June in connection with the 2014 death of her long-distance boyfriend, Conrad Roy III, after she sent text messages to him that appeared to encourage him to take his own life in what became sensationally known as the "texting suicide case."

After being found guilty, Carter was sentenced to 15 months in prison plus five years probation. Now, her attorneys have asked the Supreme Judicial court to directly hear her appeal. Among the litigators who've been newly hired to Carter's team is the attorney who defended Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, William Fick. According to the Boston Herald, Fick is joined by former federal judge Nancy Gertner, who told the paper she and her fellow counsel were "troubled by the result of the case" and believe it deserves Supreme Court review. The attorneys wrote in their petition that the case could set a precedent for prosecuting future defendants "for encouraging suicide with words alone." Carter, meanwhile, has not served jail time since her conviction after the judge ruled she could remain free pending all her state appeals.

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