Michelle Carter partially innocent but deserved a prison sentence
Michelle Carter was recently sentenced to 2.5 years in prison, for her questionable actions that led to her boyfriend committing suicide. However I see this both as unjust as well as a political maneuver. Her actions are not black and white.
According to Massachusetts law, there is no law against encouraging suicide. In addition, Carter was not present when Roy physically committed suicide. Despite the disgusting texts, it could have been ruled that only Roy was responsible for taking his own life. The judge in the case found Carter guilty of involuntary manslaughter.
Instead of throwing the book at Carter and giving her the max sentence, Carter will only serve 15 months in prison, and was also given a stay of incarceration, meaning Carter will not serve time behind bars until she has exhausted her appeals in state court.
Keep in mind, Carter did send some extremely hateful texts, which added to Conrad Roy’s decision to end his life and she should be held accountable for that. Just like everyone else being emotionally abused, Roy had options. Michelle Carter was not there when Roy finally took “his” own life. Meaning the blame should not solely rest on Carter.
Still, Carter faced a fair judge and received a guilty verdict for the manslaughter charge, which many legal experts believe was going too far. Manslaughter charges require prosecutors to prove that a certain reckless action (sending the texts) lead to a predictable loss of life. Also, Carter’s attorney, Joseph Cataldo, defended her texts as free speech and protected by the First Amendment.
While legal experts were stunned at the sentence, I believe the decision by the judge was made because of the national implications of this case. Courts will now have to decide how to apply long-standing laws as technological advances have taken personal interactions to the computer or cellphone screen. The judge seemed to say Carter was whispering into the victim’s ear “kill yourself.” This decision possibly protected the judge from having to deal with anyone who might consider doing what Carter did and realize that they are legally responsible for their victim’s actions.
So, while the crime may be disgusting in nature, we must sit back and set our emotions aside and logically consider the situation. We can’t always point the finger at a person who did not physically pull the trigger — or, in this case, siphon carbon monoxide into Roy’s car. Personally, I don’t hold Carter completely responsible but based on the affects of her actions, I believe the judge’s decision was in the best interest of justice.