Michelle Carter Case: MA Defense Attorney in Supreme Court

By Ana Bottary

abottary@abc6.com

@anabottary

Massachusetts Defense Attorneys appeared in the State Supreme Court Thursday, fighting for their client Michelle carter. They argue, the dozens of text messages she sent to her boyfriend Conrad Roy III back in 2014 encouraging him to kill himself does not constitute as a crime.
Roy committed suicide in a K-Mart parking lot in Fairhaven. Carter’s attorneys are arguing she should not face manslaughter charges.
 
"Massachusetts is one of the 11 states that doesn’t have a statute addressing this type of behavior, encouraging suicide,"
 
We spoke with Massachusetts defense attorney, Michael Delsignore and asked him if he feels carters defense has a valid argument.
 
"I think it would probably go to the juvenile court on a lesser charge. But, I don’t think the lead charge manslaughter should remain given the defense motion," he says.
 
Delsignore says if she was charged as a juvenile she would probably face a reckless endangerment charge instead of manslaughter. So she would be looking at probation.
But, if convicted as a youthful offender on manslaughter charges, she could face 20 years in prison.

"Juveniles and adults have different concepts of what a threat or a text message even means. So, I don’t think the case should be prosecuted as an adult. I think the juvenile court would be the proper form,” Delsignore says.

However a prosecutor argues Thursday, Michelle Carter pressured Roy for weeks to end his life and engaged in "emotional manipulation".
 
"He said I don’t want to leave my family I love them, and she’s like don’t worry about that,"
 
Delsignore says despite the messages, the fact is, there is no statute against it. However he feels this case may change laws going forward.

"It is definitely going to prompt the legislature to create laws to prohibit this type of conduct to deal with the real issue, which is cyber bullying and things that are going on in schools," says Delsignore.

  The high court was originally scheduled to hear Carter’s case in May, but granted the earlier date when prosecutors raised concerns that the clock might run out of their efforts to try her as a youthful offender in Juvenile Court. She is 19 now and must be tried as a youthful offender by her 20th birthday, which is Aug. 11.

(c) WLNE-TV 2016