Offensive Speech

Lawyers Argue In Appeal That Text Messages Sent In Suicide Case Were Protected Speech


Lawyers for Michelle Carter have filed an appeal in the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court to overturn the ruling in her involuntary manslaughter conviction, saying the text messages she sent encouraging her boyfriend’s suicide back in 2014 were protected speech.

Her attorneys wrote: “Because the judge convicted Carter for what she said, or failed to say, not what she did, this case implicates free speech under the 1st Amendment and art.” They added that her words encouraging the suicide were protected speech, even if distasteful to the court.

Carter’s legal team argued for an acquittal or new trial and noted that, “Massachusetts would be the only state to uphold an involuntary manslaughter conviction where an absent defendant, with words alone, encouraged another person to commit suicide.”

Newsweek CNN Rolling Stone Brief of Defendant-Appellant Michelle Carter