Criminal & Juvenile Law in U.S -  Killing someone with a text message? (652 views) Notify me whenever anyone posts in this discussion.Subscribe
From: Glen (GEAATL) DelphiPlus Member Icon Posted by host6/16/17 9:49 PM 
To: All  (1 of 29) 
Newsweek  - ‎4 hours ago‎

Michelle Carter was found guilty Friday of involuntary manslaughter after sending dozens of text messages urging her boyfriend to kill himself in a verdict that legal experts say could have wide-ranging implications for free speech and assisted suicide . Carter, 20, could face up to 20 years in prison when she is sentenced August 3. Bristol County Juvenile Court Judge Lawrence Moniz found that Carter had displayed wanton and reckless conduct that led to the death of her then-18-year-old boyfriend Conrad Roy III in Massachusetts in July 2014. Carter, then 17, sent numerous text messages encouraging Roy to end his life and belittling him for not doing so earlier. When Roy did decide to go through with it, Carter told him to “get back in” his pickup truck, in which he died soon after from inhaling carbon monoxide.


From: Glen (GEAATL) DelphiPlus Member Icon Posted by host6/16/17 9:50 PM 
To: All  (2 of 29) 
 137248.2 in reply to 137248.1 
New York Times

In a rare legal finding, a judge found Michelle Carter, 20, guilty of involuntary manslaughter. Ms. Carter urged her boyfriend, Conrad Roy III, to commit suicide through text messages and phone calls in 2014.


From: Jeri (azpaints) Posted by host6/17/17 12:23 AM 
To: Glen (GEAATL) DelphiPlus Member Icon  (3 of 29) 
 137248.3 in reply to 137248.2 

I agree with this.  For me there is no relation to assisted suicide.


From: Glen (GEAATL) DelphiPlus Member Icon Posted by host6/17/17 12:43 AM 
To: Jeri (azpaints)  (4 of 29) 
 137248.4 in reply to 137248.3 

As reprehensible as her conduct was, I don't see where the crime charged or potential sentence fit.   I'm not defending the defendant, but I think the charge wasn't appropriate.


From: Jeri (azpaints) Posted by host6/17/17 12:59 AM 
To: Glen (GEAATL) DelphiPlus Member Icon  (5 of 29) 
 137248.5 in reply to 137248.4 

I looked at this a little differently, I guess.  If JQ Public tells Susi to kill herself or he will kill her husband/child/family member, and Susi kills herself, is JQPublic quilty of something - reckless homicide, murder in the second, conspiracy?  Would Susi have killed herself without JQPublic?  Would this young man have killed himself without her interference?  Or might he have gotten help if she had told his parents?  She choose to push him to kill himself rather than to push him to get professional help.  


From: Glen (GEAATL) DelphiPlus Member Icon Posted by host6/17/17 1:18 AM 
To: Jeri (azpaints)  (6 of 29) 
 137248.6 in reply to 137248.5 

Jeri (azpaints) said...

If JQ Public tells Susi to kill herself or he will kill her husband/child/family member, and Susi kills herself, is JQPublic quilty of something

You've added an ingredient - a threat to harm someone else.  That would clearly be a crime.

The law doesn't (at least until this case) create a duty to talk someone out of suicide, or to engage in positive as opposed to negative conversation.   Words alone rarely constitute enough to prosecute.


From: Jeri (azpaints) Posted by host6/17/17 1:22 PM 
To: Glen (GEAATL) DelphiPlus Member Icon  (7 of 29) 
 137248.7 in reply to 137248.6 

But we are finding out how powerful words have become.  Internet bullying has resulted in some harm to people.  Words have promoted violence against others for a variety of reasons-  race, religion. Sexual orientation, etc.  Issis uses words to promote killing.  Maybe now this is the time and the case to show words have consequences.  That is a lesson many of our politicians need to have hammered home.


From: Glen (GEAATL) DelphiPlus Member Icon Posted by host6/17/17 1:30 PM 
To: Jeri (azpaints)  (8 of 29) 
 137248.8 in reply to 137248.7 

Words are powerful.   But in a free society, with freedom of speech, as soon as we allow government to criminalize SOME speech, we have created the dangerous precedent that ALL speech can be criminalized.   And this case, which I suspect will be reversed on appeal,is the first step on a slippery slope towards banning speech.


From: Jeri (azpaints) Posted by host6/17/17 1:48 PM 
To: Glen (GEAATL) DelphiPlus Member Icon  (9 of 29) 
 137248.9 in reply to 137248.8 

I would hope that there is a way to make people have consequences for words that can be proven to have a direct correlation to a result.  Conspiracy comes to mind where words are criminalized, right?  Inciting to riot?


From: Glen (GEAATL) DelphiPlus Member Icon Posted by host6/17/17 2:58 PM 
To: Jeri (azpaints)  (10 of 29) 
 137248.10 in reply to 137248.9 

Conspiracy requires active participation in an act (and multiple people).   .Conspiracy to riot involves planning acts that, if undertaken, would result in a breach of the peace. Conspiracy convictions usually require the defendant to have undertaken an overt act in furtherance of their plan.  In other words, the words itself are not enough.  Driving someone to the riot, buying the gun, etc. could be the act that must be combined with the words.

And, inciting to riot is a crime that involves more than just words.  Note the definition in the federal statute: "As used in this chapter, the term “to incite a riot”, or “to organize, promote, encourage, participate in, or carry on a riot”, includes, but is not limited to, urging or instigating other persons to riot, but shall not be deemed to mean the mere oral or written (1) advocacy of ideas or (2) expression of belief, not involving advocacy of any act or acts of violence or assertion of the rightness of, or the right to commit, any such act or acts." 18 U.S. Code § 2102

The current test for what speech can be called inciting a riot (and this is the case that I think will get the present suicide case overturned) comes out of a 1969 Supreme Court case... In 1964, an Ohio Klansman named Clarence Brandenburg held a “rally” on a private farm—attended by 12 KKK members —and invited a TV news crew. They donned robes, burned a cross, sang a Klan song, and then heard a largely incoherent address by Brandenburg, who said, “We're not a revengent organization, but if our President, our Congress, our Supreme Court, continues to suppress the white, Caucasian race, it's possible that there might have to be some revengeance taken.” Brandenburg was convicted of violating an Ohio state law that banned “advocating ... the duty, necessity, or propriety of crime, sabotage, violence, or unlawful methods of terrorism as a means of accomplishing industrial or political reform...”  In this case the Justices used Brandenburg to signal that they would not tolerate the use of “incitement” as an excuse to shut down speech, even if offensive or violent.  The Court held that the First Amendment protected even speech that urged breaking the law—unless it was “directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless action and is likely to incite or produce such action.”  What that means is most incitement cases never happen.  “Directed to” means that the speaker must have intended to cause violence; “likely to” means that there must be a true danger of violence; and “imminent” means that the danger must exist at the moment of the speech—not days or even minutes later.



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