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See other United States News Articles

Title: Suicide-text girlfriend conviction will have national ramifications
Source: NY Post
URL Source: http://nypost.com/2017/06/16/suicid ... l-have-national-ramifications/
Published: Jun 16, 2017
Author: Julia Marsh
Post Date: 2017-06-16 20:13:48 by cranky
Keywords: None
Views: 695
Comments: 31

Top Massachusetts attorneys have mixed opinions about the involuntary manslaughter conviction of Michelle Carter, but they agree on one thing — the ruling has caused a seismic shift in the intersection of technology and the law.

“The decision will be shaping the way that future prosecutors handle these types of cases,” said Boston-based criminal defense lawyer Joseph Simons.

Michelle Carter, then 17, told her 18-year-old boyfriend Conrad Roy III to “get back in” his truck as it filled with carbon monoxide in 2014. Judge Lawrence Moniz found Friday that Carter’s instructions “constituted wanton and reckless conduct.”

Judge Moniz may have set a dangerous precedent with his decision, said longtime Quincy, Mass. attorney Bob Harnais.

“You open up the door to a direction where words now can amount to weapons, this is absolutely all new territory” Harnais said.

“Is she a criminal because she didn’t talk him out of it? That’s a big jump,” Harnais said.

Another Massachusetts defense lawyer, J. Drew Segadelli, applauded the judge for his “careful consideration” of Carter’s damning text message to Roy to “get back in the” vehicle.

“That was his lynchpin where he indicated that the behavior was wanton, he’s inferring intentional, and as such he found her guilty,” Segadelli said.

Local attorney Kevin Reddington, who was in the courtroom when the judge read his verdict, said the judge gave a “very well reasoned decision that is consistent with the law.”

Reddington predicted that an appeal will be an “uphill battle” because the state’s highest court has already ruled that Carter was “virtually” if not “physically” present at her boyfriend’s suicide through her text messages and phone calls.

If the decision is upheld the first-of-its kind case will have major national ramifications, Reddington said. (1 image)

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#1. To: cranky (#0)

I think the USSC will eventually strike this down.

Tooconservative  posted on  2017-06-16   20:40:42 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#2. To: cranky (#0)

“You open up the door to a direction where words now can amount to weapons, this is absolutely all new territory” Harnais said.

I agree. They were words. She didn't kill him. He did that all by himself. He could have stopped at any time. Sure, she had a moral obligation to talk him out of it. But not a legal one ... in my opinion.

I can see this ruling being applied to bullying, hate speech and sexual harassment. Some whacko listens to Rush, kills someone, and Rush is charged with involuntary manslaughter. Or as an accessory to murder.

What about a guy standing on a ledge threatening to jump and the crowd chants, "Jump! Jump!" Are they all to be charged with involuntary manslaughter?

misterwhite  posted on  2017-06-16   20:52:44 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#3. To: misterwhite (#2)

What about a guy standing on a ledge threatening to jump and the crowd chants, "Jump! Jump!" Are they all to be charged with involuntary manslaughter?

How about all those Dems on Twitter and Facebook cheering on what the Virginia shooter did trying to kill GOP congressmen? Should they all be charged with conspiracy to commit murder as well through their "virtual presence"?

It's daft. I don't think it will stand.

Tooconservative  posted on  2017-06-16   21:18:26 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#4. To: Tooconservative (#1)

I think the USSC will eventually strike this down.

I'm not so sure.

Where is the federal constitutional issue here? I doubt SCOTUS will think it even has jurisdiction over this case, and won't hear the appeal. This one will be finally decided by the Massachusetts Supremes, and I think they will uphold the conviction.

Am I correct in seeing this as having been a bench trial? I can see why the defense chose a trial before a judge rather than a jury. Ugly case to put to a jury.

Vicomte13  posted on  2017-06-16   22:02:40 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#5. To: Vicomte13, nolu chan (#4)

Am I correct in seeing this as having been a bench trial? I can see why the defense chose a trial before a judge rather than a jury. Ugly case to put to a jury.

I think it was shortsighted. They were hoping for a lenient judge.

They would almost certainly fare better on appeal if it had been a jury trial.

Maybe nolu has some insights into this case. He probably has been watching this one.

I wouldn't bet that the USSC will go along with murder-by-text. It's not like she was a crime boss ordering underlings to murder someone.

I can see charging someone with a crime like failure to protect a mentally unfit and vulnerable person or failure to report attempted suicide or such. But not murder.

Just because we don't like this heartless little bitch doesn't make her a murderer.

So should we consider her iPhone a murder weapon? Is that really your position?

Tooconservative  posted on  2017-06-16   22:10:05 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#6. To: Tooconservative (#5) (Edited)

Manslaughter is a crime under state law, not federal. On what basis would the US Supreme Court have jurisdiction in this case? I don't think the Supremes CAN hear the case. There's no constitutional issue. This is a state law issue. Massachusetts Supremes are the final court of appeal here.

Vicomte13  posted on  2017-06-16   22:20:35 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#7. To: Vicomte13, nolu chan (#6)

On what basis would the US Supreme Court have jurisdiction in this case?

I expect her defense will start with First Amendment issues. I'd expect they'd go for cruel and unusual punishment under the Eighth as well. Anyway these are the lowhanging fruit that seem obvious.

Tooconservative  posted on  2017-06-16   22:28:29 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#8. To: Tooconservative (#7)

I expect her defense will start with First Amendment issues. I'd expect they'd go for cruel and unusual punishment under the Eighth as well. Anyway these are the lowhanging fruit that seem obvious.

And I expect the Supremes would look at that and say that the First Amendment protects political speech and public speech from legal action to restrict it. It does not protect speech that is part of a conspiracy to commit a crime. It does not protect fighting words and words encouraging mayhem and injury.

Also, the Supremes may well decide that the Massachusetts Supreme Court has appropriate jurisdiction to rule on any First Amendment actions along with the other issues raised. The Supreme Court can hear First Amendment issues, but so can every other court. I don't think the Supremes will consider the First Amendment to be an issue here.

A prison term is not cruel and unusual punishment for the crime of manslaughter. I don't think the Supremes will give that argument a hearing.

Seems obvious to me, and I expect to the Supremes, that there's no federal jurisdiction here. This is a state case arising under state law, without constitutional issues. There's no death penalty at stake here.

So I expect that the Federal Supremes will never hear this case, and that the Minnesota Supremes will decide the case.

Vicomte13  posted on  2017-06-16   22:35:55 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#9. To: Vicomte13 (#6)

NRO:

A Sad and Terrible Verdict in Massachusetts

David French

In Massachusetts, we just saw a textbook example of how bad facts (in this case, horrific facts) can make bad law. Here’s the Washington Post with the details:

In a landmark case, a Massachusetts judge has ruled that Michelle Carter, who urged her boyfriend through phone calls and text messages to kill himself, is responsible for his death.

Bristol County Juvenile Court Judge Lawrence Moniz announced Friday that Carter, 20, is guilty of involuntary manslaughter after placing Conrad Roy III in a situation that led to his suicide in 2014.

There is no question that Carter behaved terribly. In fact, her conduct was unconscionable, and she certainly played a key role in an absolutely heartbreaking death:

Roy, 18, and Carter, who was 17 at the time, had been texting about death in the days and weeks leading up to the tragedy, according to court records. In one message, Carter told him: “You’re finally going to be happy in heaven. No more pain. It’s okay to be scared and it’s normal. I mean, you’re about to die.”

Moniz, however, focused on Roy’s final moments when he wavered, stepping out of the truck — and Carter told him to “Get back in.” The judge said that though Carter knew Roy was in trouble, she took no action.

“She admits in a subsequent text that she did nothing — she did not call the police or Mr. Roy’s family,” Moniz said in court. “Finally, she did not issue a simple additional instruction: ‘Get out of the truck.’”

I see two serious problems with this verdict — one moral, the other legal. First, Conrad Roy is responsible for his death. To argue that Carter committed manslaughter is to diminish Roy’s moral agency. It denies his free will. It’s wrong to deny compassion to someone so troubled that they’d attempt suicide, but we can’t move so far in the other direction that we race to find who’s “really” to blame when a person voluntarily takes their own life. It’s still an act of self-murder, and while Carter undoubtedly played a persuasive role, I can’t imagine where we will draw the line. Will we prosecute mean people for manslaughter when troubled teens kill themselves?

Second, there are real First Amendment implications with this verdict. Carter’s actions were reprehensible, but she was sharing with him thoughts and opinions that he may have found persuasive but had the capacity to reject. A legal argument that renders otherwise-protected speech unlawful because it actually persuades would blast a hole in First Amendment jurisprudence. 

When a young man dies — especially under these circumstances — the desire to hold someone accountable is entirely understandable. But the law can’t and shouldn’t try to right every wrong. Michelle Carter should go free.  

Since she was 17 at the time, this case was heard in a juvenile court. You have to wonder what sentence can be handed down now that she has been convicted.

You may be comfortable with letting a county juvenile court judge in loony Massachusetts redefine the First Amendment to turn text messages into murder weapons. I'm not.

Tooconservative  posted on  2017-06-16   22:40:38 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#10. To: Tooconservative (#9)

You may be comfortable with letting a county juvenile court judge in loony Massachusetts redefine the First Amendment to turn text messages into murder weapons. I'm not.

It's not a question of me. I don't think the Supreme Court will take the case, for the reasons I stated.

As far as "will we prosecute mean people for manslaughter when troubled teens kill themselves?" It might come to that, yes. People are getting sick of the bullying and the deaths from bullying, and more and more teeth and stick are being applied.

In America there has not historically been a duty to aid. In France and other countries, there long has been. We seem to be moving in that direction, and as we do, there's going to be less and less room for bullies.

Again, these are the facts, completely stripped of any emotion or opinion on my part.

Vicomte13  posted on  2017-06-16   23:44:37 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#11. To: cranky (#0)

If the decision is upheld the first-of-its kind case will have major national ramifications, Reddington said.

This means that if you tell sombody to stick it up their ass, and they do, you're responsible for their doing it.

rlk  posted on  2017-06-17   0:07:52 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#12. To: Vicomte13, Tooconservative (#4)

Am I correct in seeing this as having been a bench trial? I can see why the defense chose a trial before a judge rather than a jury. Ugly case to put to a jury.

Yes, this was a bench trial.

With 20/20 hindsight, I might not have relied on winning on the law to a judge, but have chosen a jury to argue neither one of them was mentally stable or legally responsible, they were two basket cases.

I agree with Vic. I do not see SCOTUS taking up the case.

She intended to send a text, she did not intend to cause death, but her action created a high degree of likelihood that substantial harm would result to another person whom she knew to be unstable, and it did result in death.

https://assets.documentcloud.org/documents/3866893/Commonwealth-vs-Michelle-Carter.pdf

COMMONWEALTH OF MASSACHUSETTS
THE TRIAL COURT
JUVENILE COURT DEPARTMENT
TAUNTON SESSION

DOCKET # 15YO0001NE

COMMONWEALTH

vs.

MICHELLE CARTER

VERDICT

This Court, having considered and weighed all of the evidence presented, and having applied the laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to said evidence, now finds the Defendant, Michelle Carter, guilty on the indictment charging her with involuntary manslaughter of Conrad Roy, III.

This Court further finds, as to said indictment, that the Commonwealth has proven, beyond a reasonable doubt, that Michelle Carter is a youthful offender, as that term is defined in G.L c 119 s 52, and she is adjudged to be a youthful offender on this date.

By the Court:
/s/
Lawrence Moniz, Associate Justice

Dated: June 16, 2017

cc: Attorneys Rayburn, Flynn, Cataldo, and Madera

http://statelaws.findlaw.com/massachusetts-law/massachusetts-involuntary-manslaughter-and-motor-vehicle-homicid.html

Involuntary manslaughter

1) An unlawful killing that was unintentionally caused as the result of the defendants' wanton or reckless conduct;

or

2) An unlawful killing that resulted during the commission of a dangerous battery by a defendant.

[...]

Definition of "unintentionally"

The defendant did intend to commit the act that ultimately caused the death of the victim, but the defendant did not intend to actually cause the death itself.

Definition of "wanton or reckless conduct"

Conduct which creates a high degree of likelihood that substantial harm will result to another person. An example is Russian Roulette.

Penalties

Involuntary Manslaughter: Up to 20 years in state prison, fines and possible victim restitution.

I do not know what the penalty may be at the juvie level.

nolu chan  posted on  2017-06-17   0:40:54 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#13. To: rlk, cranky (#11)

This means that if you tell sombody to stick it up their ass, and they do, you're responsible for their doing it.

There is an added circumstance here that she knew he was unstable. If you know someone is unstable, has repeatedly threatened to stick it up his ass, and you successfully goad said person into sticking it up his ass, your own ass may be in legal jeopardy.

nolu chan  posted on  2017-06-17   0:48:57 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#14. To: Vicomte13, Tooconservative (#8)

I do not see any national ramifications. It is a matter of Massachusetts law.

It does not seem very novel at all, other than she was not physically present. I do not see how that would make any difference.

Suicide. Self-destruction; the deliberate termination of one's own life.

Attempted suicide is a crime in some jurisdictions, but not in others. Some jurisdictions hold an attempted suicide which kills an innocent bystander or would-be rescuer to be murder, others manslaughter, others as no crime. Some jurisdictions hold it to be murder for one person to persuade or aid another to commit suicide; some (by statute) make it manslaughter or a separate crime.

Black's Law Dictionary, 6th Ed.

nolu chan  posted on  2017-06-17   1:01:46 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#15. To: nolu chan (#14)

We see down the same sightline on this.

As far as my personal opinion goes on this case, I don't really care what happens to her. Really dumb boy meets mean idiot bitch and kills himself over it. Happens every day. It's too bad for the families.

The only interesting part is that she urged him to do it, and was held accountable for that.

We often like to say, in our society, that free speech does not mean free of consequences. She spoke as she pleased. What she spoke was objectively evil. Something bad happened. People with greater power than she had took umbrage and imposed consequences on her for her evil speech.

He's dead, and now she will suffer. My "Give a Shit" meter remains pegged at zero, frankly.

The IMPLICATIONS of the case, that people who urge other people to kill themselves, while they are actively killing themselves. That's not "free speech" that I am willing to "fight to the death" to protect the right of somebody to say. In fact, I'm not willing to fight AT ALL for her right to do that.

When people assemble below some poor tortured soul on a ledge and start shouting "Jump! Jump! Jump!" , in real life, I am fine with the police pepper spraying them and bashing their teeth in with a baton to instantly silence that speech.

And I don't think there is any "slippery slope" between that and rounding people up for supporting Trump. I think, rather, that that "slope" is on a different mountain pointed a whole different direction.

I'm not willing to fight for somebody's "right" to be an evil bitch and coax some callow boy she knows is in love with her into committing suicide. In fact, I'm happy to see her prosecuted and punished.

They say that bad cases make bad law. In this case, I think the justice system got it exactly right. She IS guilty of involuntary manslaughter. The "mercy" in this case is that the judge found her a juvenile instead of an adult. Advance the ages by 15 years and the bitch does hard time, AS SHE SHOULD.

Vicomte13  posted on  2017-06-17   7:09:04 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#16. To: Tooconservative (#1)

I think the USSC will eventually strike this down.

Maybe, if it gets that far.

I think the defense found a sympathetic judge and is expecting little or no punishment for the minor child that was convicted.

cranky  posted on  2017-06-17   7:33:25 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#17. To: nolu chan (#13)

There is an added circumstance here that she knew he was unstable. If you know someone is unstable, has repeatedly threatened to stick it up his ass, and you successfully goad said person into sticking it up his ass, your own ass may be in legal jeopardy.

She was herself a mental case. Like him, they had both been in psychiatric hospitals for self-harming. She was medicated.

The two had met briefly while both were in Florida a few years back. After that, they met very briefly a couple of times in person.

I don't find it convincing that she held so much influence over him.

I can see other charges for which she was guilty. But manslaugter? No way. Not even Massachusetts is that fucked up.

Tooconservative  posted on  2017-06-17   11:08:29 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#18. To: Vicomte13 (#15)

The "mercy" in this case is that the judge found her a juvenile instead of an adult.

The judge had no choice. Massachusetts used to consider all juveniles being tried for murder as adults. After a USSC case 4-5 years back, they had to change how they handled juvenile murder cases in the state.

Tooconservative  posted on  2017-06-17   11:10:44 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#19. To: Tooconservative (#18)

Good.

Vicomte13  posted on  2017-06-17   18:19:59 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#20. To: Tooconservative, Vicomte13 (#17)

She was herself a mental case. Like him, they had both been in psychiatric hospitals for self-harming. She was medicated.

I do not know what she argued in court, but that seems a better argument for a jury trial than a bench trial. With a jury only 1 out of 12 need be persuaded to accept the argument.

As a legal argument, I see it as a fail if by mental case you infer the legal definition of being unable to tell the difference between right and wrong. I could see it as a possible argument for diminished capacity. Some states recognize diminished capacity and some do not. "A successful defense of diminished capacity will usually result in conviction of a lesser offense, not in acquittal."

Stgeven H. Gifis, Law Dictionary, Second Edition, boldface as in original, blue font added.

DIMINISHED CAPACITY in criminal law, the inability to have the mens rea required for the commission of a crime. 79 Cal. Rptr. 155, 161. The states which allow the defense treat it variously. Some limit it to crimes requiring a specific intent; others recognize it in crimes involving different degrees. About half the states do not recognize it as a separate defense, but limit questions concerning the mental state to the defense of insanity. 30 Vand. L. Rev. 213-15 (1977). A successful defense of diminished capacity will usually result in conviction of a lesser offense, not in acquittal. LaFave & Scott, Criminal Law 326 (1972). Compare insanity.

DIMINISHED RESPONSIBILITY see diminished capacity.

I just looked to see how Massachusetts views diminished capacity and it appears that argumment was not available in this case.

http://masscases.com/cases/sjc/439/439mass84.html

COMMONWEALTH vs. BRIAN J. GABORIAULT.
439 Mass. 84
January 10, 2003 - March 31, 2003
Bristol County
Present: MARSHALL, C.J., GREANEY, IRELAND, SPINA, & COWIN, JJ.

[...]

a. Withdrawal of a defense of lack of criminal responsibility. The defendant now claims, in essence, that he was denied a meaningful defense because trial counsel abandoned a McHoul defense. Commonwealth v. McHoul, 352 Mass. 544 (1967). [Note 9] In his opening statement, trial counsel conceded that the defendant killed the victims, [Note 10] but indicated that he was not criminally responsible. [Note 11] Trial counsel presented two expert witnesses in order to show that the defendant either was not responsible for

Page 91

his actions or suffered from a diminished capacity at the time of the murders. The first witness, Dr. Chet Lesniak, was hired primarily to conduct a battery of neuropsychological tests on the defendant and to report the results to the other expert witness, Dr. Marc Whaley. Dr. Whaley was hired as the primary defense expert witness to use Dr. Lesniak's results to form an opinion whether the defendant was criminally responsible for the murders. Unfortunately for the defendant, his own expert witness opined that, although Dr. Lesniak's tests indicated a possible organic brain disorder, the defendant was not completely lacking in criminal responsibility.

Once it was determined by the defendant's own witness that he would not meet the two-pronged McHoul test, an alternative strategy for counsel was to pursue a claim of diminished capacity. Trial counsel attempted to show that the defendant had a diminished mental capacity at the time he stabbed the victims, thereby "render[ing] him unable either to form the specific intent to kill or to premeditate." Commonwealth v. Laurore, 437 Mass. 65 , 70 (2002). See Commonwealth v. Gould, 380 Mass. 672 , 683 (1980). While there is no diminished capacity defense in Massachusetts, the Gould case stands for the proposition that the defense may produce psychiatric evidence that would allow a jury to consider whether the defendant lacked the mental capacity to premeditate the killing. Id. See Commonwealth v. Hardy, 426 Mass. 725 , 730 (1998); Commonwealth v. Parker, 420 Mass. 242 , 245 n.3 (1995) (there is no "diminished capacity" defense in Commonwealth); Commonwealth v. Grey, 399 Mass. 469 , 470 n.2 (1987).

Moreover, malice is a necessary element of both murder in the first and second degrees, and "[m]alice is established by proof beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant specifically intended either to kill the alleged victim or to cause grievous bodily harm." Commonwealth v. Azar, 435 Mass. 675 , 681-682 (2002). Malice may also be inferred "if, in the circumstances known to the defendant, a reasonably prudent person would

Page 92

have known that according to common experience there was a plain and strong likelihood that death would follow the contemplated act." Id. at 682, quoting Commonwealth v. Grey, supra at 470 n.1. These are commonly referred to as the three prongs of malice. See, e.g., Commonwealth v. Sirois, 437 Mass. 845 , 858 (2002). Only the first prong of malice, specific intent to kill, may satisfy murder in the first degree by deliberate premeditation. Commonwealth v. Simpson, 434 Mass. 570 , 588 (2001). Commonwealth v. Judge, 420 Mass. 433 , 441 (1995). While the first two prongs of malice have a specific intent requirement that may be negated by mental impairment, the third prong has a knowledge requirement that may also be negated by a defendant's mental impairment. See Commonwealth v. Hardy, 426 Mass. 725 , 730 (1998), citing Commonwealth v. Sires, 413 Mass. 292 , 299 (1992) (evidence of intent and knowledge relevant to whether murder was committed at all). [Note 12]

Page 93

Trial counsel was therefore faced with a situation where he had experts that would testify toward a diminished capacity claim, but not lack of responsibility. His tactical decision to focus on diminished capacity was therefore logical and cannot be seen as depriving the defendant of an adequate defense. See, e.g., Commonwealth v. LaCava, 438 Mass. 708 , 716-718 (2003). The judge did instruct the jury on lack of responsibility as outlined by the McHoul case, as defense attempted to elicit lay witness testimony regarding the defendant's behavior in the days leading up to the murders. See Commonwealth v. Guadalupe, 401 Mass. 372 (1987) (expert testimony not required to raise insanity defense). Finally, as the judge found in denying the defendant's motion for a new trial, counsel's closing argument "did not constitute an abandonment of the insanity defense," however he did shift "the emphasis away from that defense, which was supported only by lay witness testimony, to the more promising one of inability to premeditate." Accordingly, we do not second guess this tactical decision of trial counsel, and find no substantial likelihood of a miscarriage of justice.

Diminished capacity, per se, is not a defense in Massachusetts. The above was a premeditated murder case where an argument was attempted to show the defendant's diminished capacity rendered him unable to premeditate the crime, a required element of proof for the crime charged.

In the instant case regarding involuntary manslaughter premeditation is not a factor. Diminished capacity would not be a defense in Massachusetts, and it would not show an absence of one of the elements of the charge which resulted in conviction.

I reckon this may be why a bench trial was preferred. An argument of diminished capacity, just for the purpose of dazzling the jury, probably would not have been permitted.

She and her lawyer probably did as good as they could do, under the circumstances.

Being medicated may have been a mitigating factor, but not an argument for acquittal.

nolu chan  posted on  2017-06-18   17:39:26 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#21. To: Vicomte13 (#15)

In this case, I think the justice system got it exactly right. She IS guilty of involuntary manslaughter.

Agreed.

Also, I appear to have been in error when I opined at #12 that I might "have chosen a jury to argue neither one of them was mentally stable or legally responsible, they were two basket cases," i.e., diminished capacity. It appears that diminished capacity is not recognized as a defense in Massachusetts. See my #20.

Basically, she was guilty of involuntary manslaughter and the judge so found.

As for free speech, her speech in this case was the criminal offense. Criminal speech is not protected, so it raises no constitutional issue.

nolu chan  posted on  2017-06-18   17:58:30 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#22. To: nolu chan (#20)

I do not know what she argued in court, but that seems a better argument for a jury trial than a bench trial.

That was my thinking. They probably relied on the generally softer judges that end up in juvie courts.

Tooconservative  posted on  2017-06-18   18:01:01 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#23. To: nolu chan (#21)

Basically, she was guilty of involuntary manslaughter and the judge so found.

I'd have no problem if they found her guilty of other crimes with prison time. I don't see it as murder.

You presume that her power of speech was greater than that of the free will of the suicidal kid. What happened to "sticks and stones"?

As for free speech, her speech in this case was the criminal offense. Criminal speech is not protected, so it raises no constitutional issue.

I find the entire notion of "criminal speech" suspect. It seems like an un-American idea, much more like Europe's lack of free speech protections.

Tooconservative  posted on  2017-06-18   18:04:19 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#24. To: nolu chan (#21)

I thought that her lawyers would choose a bench trial because a jury would be angry at her communications with the boy, but that objectively all she did was speak to him from a distance - he killed himself. In other words, the reason that the case is commented on as groundbreaking is because the judge did break new ground by finding long-distance encouragement, without power or threat or the ability to constrain, sufficient to sustain a charge of manslaughter. It's punishing pure words at a distance, a new thing.

A conservative judge would not look into the books and find a precedent that fits this, and could be expected to find the defendant to be a horrible human being, but one with no duty to aid.

I figure that's what the lawyers were looking for. Unfortunately for them and their clients, he found differently.

Vicomte13  posted on  2017-06-18   18:55:11 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#25. To: Tooconservative (#23)

You presume that her power of speech was greater than that of the free will of the suicidal kid. What happened to "sticks and stones"?

As for free speech, her speech in this case was the criminal offense. Criminal speech is not protected, so it raises no constitutional issue.

I find the entire notion of "criminal speech" suspect. It seems like an un-American idea, much more like Europe's lack of free speech protections

Amen! It sets the stage for the continued erosion and distortion of law.

rlk  posted on  2017-06-18   19:02:53 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#26. To: Vicomte13 (#24)

Sticks and stones may break my bones but...if you send me a text message, I'll kill myself and you'll get sent to prison.

Tooconservative  posted on  2017-06-18   20:05:11 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#27. To: Tooconservative (#23)

I'd have no problem if they found her guilty of other crimes with prison time. I don't see it as murder.

You presume that her power of speech was greater than that of the free will of the suicidal kid. What happened to "sticks and stones"?

No, I don't see how to get around the black letter of the law.

  • Did the defendant send the texts intentionally?

  • Did the defendant sending the texts create a high degree of likelihood that substantial harm would result to another person?

  • Was the killing of the decedent unintentionally caused as a result of the defendant's wanton or reckless conduct, to wit: the sending of the texts?

I would say her conduct was reckless and she unintentionally caused the death of the decedent.

Her conduct in sending the texts was found to be, "Conduct which creates a high degree of likelihood that substantial harm will result to another person."

I find the entire notion of "criminal speech" suspect.

Free speech is not absolute. For example, it is not a defense to perjury. Perjury is criminal speech. Shouting "fire" in a crowded theater is the classic example.

http://statelaws.findlaw.com/massachusetts-law/massachusetts-involuntary-manslaughter-and-motor-vehicle-homicid.html

Involuntary manslaughter

1) An unlawful killing that was unintentionally caused as the result of the defendants' wanton or reckless conduct;

or

2) An unlawful killing that resulted during the commission of a dangerous battery by a defendant.

[...]

Definition of "unintentionally"

The defendant did intend to commit the act that ultimately caused the death of the victim, but the defendant did not intend to actually cause the death itself.

Definition of "wanton or reckless conduct"

Conduct which creates a high degree of likelihood that substantial harm will result to another person. An example is Russian Roulette.

nolu chan  posted on  2017-06-18   20:47:45 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#28. To: Tooconservative (#26)

Sticks and stones may break my bones but...if you send me a text message, I'll kill myself and you'll get sent to prison.

That's the basic idea. If you give insulting or destructive advice and some yokel decides to carry it out, he's declared the innocent victim and you get nailed to the cross.

rlk  posted on  2017-06-18   20:58:24 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#29. To: nolu chan (#27)

Did the defendant sending the texts create a high degree of likelihood that substantial harm would result to another person?

It didn't. Because text messages don't kill people.

Did the defendant sending the texts create a high degree of likelihood that substantial harm would result to another person?

No. Because an iPhone is not a murder weapon.

Let's try this: Kill yourself!

Now, if you do, I am a murderer for typing 13 keystrokes on the internet. Oh, and an especially lethal exclamation point.

Keystrokes are not a violent act.

And that kid did get out of his pickup. Nothing that girl texted made him get back in the pickup or stay in there until dead.

Tooconservative  posted on  2017-06-19   10:40:30 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#30. To: Tooconservative (#29)

Did the defendant sending the texts create a high degree of likelihood that substantial harm would result to another person?

It didn't.

Is he dead?

The court found her guilty of involuntary manslaughter, which necessitated a finding that the texts created a high degree of likelihood that substantial hard would result to another person.

Your dissent from the finding of a court of law is noted.

nolu chan  posted on  2017-06-19   16:17:20 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#31. To: nolu chan (#30)

Your dissent from the finding of a court of law is noted.

Courts of appeal and supreme courts are constantly engaged in full-time "dissent from the finding of a court of law".

The courts are wrong surprisingly often. Their oversight of human rights in prisons is appalling. Their responsibility for fundamental living conditions in prisons is a disgrace.

So, big whoop, I "dissent from the finding of a court of law". More often than not, they're just assholes and not particularly competent at operating the justice system.

Tooconservative  posted on  2017-06-20   2:08:12 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


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