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She Told Boyfriend to Die. Now She Wants to Go to Supreme Court

Michelle Carter's lawyers say her 'words alone' shouldn't make her liable for Conrad Roy's death
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 9, 2019 6:11 AM CDT
This Feb. 11, 2019, booking photo shows Michelle Carter.   (Bristol County Sheriff's Office via AP, File)

(Newser) Michelle Carter's "words alone" shouldn't be to blame for the death of Conrad Roy. That's the premise her legal team is pushing in a new petition asking the Supreme Court to review her case in her quest to get her involuntary manslaughter conviction overturned, BuzzFeed News reports. The 22-year-old's lawyers argue her conviction—handed down two years ago after 18-year-old Roy killed himself in 2014, following texts and phone calls from a then-17-year-old Carter encouraging him to do so—violates two key constitutional amendments: the First (free speech) and the Fifth (due process), and therefore should be nixed. "Michelle Carter did not cause Conrad Roy's tragic death and should not be held criminally responsible for his suicide," attorney Daniel Marx said in a Monday statement, with the petition for his client calling her conviction "unprecedented."

Massachusetts' Supreme Judicial Court wouldn't overturn Carter's original conviction, noting the First Amendment doesn't shield her because her words to Roy were "speech integral to unlawful conduct." "After she convinced him to get back into the carbon monoxide-filled truck, she did absolutely nothing to help him," Justice Scott Kafker wrote in that decision, per Fox News, which notes an HBO documentary on the case, I Love You, Now Die, debuts Tuesday. Carter's lawyers argue that although the SJC noted not every assisted suicide should lead to prosecution, the court offered "no guidance to distinguish sympathetic cases of assisted suicide from culpable cases of unlawful killing," per the AP. Carter started serving her 15-month jail sentence in February; she had been permitted to remain free up until that point as she went through the appeals process. (Read more Michelle Carter stories.)

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