Michelle Carter, who in February began serving her 15-month involuntary manslaughter sentence for convincing her boyfriend to kill himself, has appealed to the Supreme Court to review her case.
Carter’s lawyers argued in a petition that convicting Carter—who in 2014 urged her 18-year-old boyfriend Conrad Roy III to die by suicide—was a violation of her First Amendment right to free speech and her Fifth Amendment right to due process. According to Buzzfeed,
“Michelle Carter did not cause Conrad Roy’s tragic death and should not be held criminally responsible for his suicide,” her attorney, Daniel Marx, said in a statement.
Marx said charging Carter “based on her words alone” violated the First Amendment and that the “decision upholding her conviction created a conflict among state supreme courts.”
Her conviction also violated due process because “the vague common law of involuntary manslaughter fails to provide guidance to prevent arbitrary and discriminatory enforcement in morally fraught cases involving suicide,” he added.
In February, the Massachusetts Supreme Court denied Carter’s appeal to overthrow her conviction. At the time, the court found that Carter’s words to Roy were not protected by the First Amendment, since they constituted “speech integral to unlawful conduct.”
It also cited texts that Carter sent friends, saying: “As the defendant herself explained, and we repeat due to its importance, ‘[The victim’s] death is my fault like honestly I could have stopped him I was on the phone with him and he got out of the [truck] because it was working and he got scared and I fucking told him to get back in.’”