The article reports:
The lawyer for a Plainville teen — accused of goading her friend via text into killing himself — is defending his client in the wake of a slew of new records released by prosecutors, insisting her callous messages to the dead boy are protected under the First Amendment.
“I continue to maintain that no crime was committed,” Michelle Carter’s lawyer, Joseph P. Cataldo, said in an emailed response to questions from the Herald. “Michelle took no actions and her speech in the form of text messages and telephone calls do not amount to a crime. … Although the district attorney’s office does not like the content of the speech, it is speech which is constitutionally protected by the First Amendment and is not criminalized under our laws.”
What Michelle Carter did was horrible–she encouraged Conrad Roy III to kill himself–complete with instructions, challenges, etc., through text messages. Many of the text messages have been released, and they paint a picture of a calloused, uncaring person who encouraged someone to kill himself. There is no excuse for that–it is horrible behavior, but is it a crime? Doesn’t Conrad Roy III have to take the responsibility for his actions?
I am not defending what this teenager has done, but what law can she be convicted under? She did not lift a hand to help her friend commit suicide–she just encouraged him. I would strongly suggest that someone get her some sort of emotional help to find out why she did such a thing and to prevent her from doing it again. But, what law was broken? You cannot convict someone of a crime unless you can name the crime. A jury is required to rule on the evidence and the law. The evidence may be clear, but what is the law? I realize that what she did was awful, but is it illegal? Should it be? You can change the law if you choose, but you cannot make it retroactive.