This was a manslaughter case closely watched all over the country. In a state without any law forbidding encouragement of suicide, and in a state where free speech is still free, Michelle Carter was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in the death of Conrad Roy. And even though Carter was nowhere near the Fairhaven parking lot where Roy eventually committed suicide, she was convicted of being "virtually present" and doing nothing to alert authorities once she knew that Roy had gone back to his carbon monoxide-filled truck.
Carter's attorney moved to have the case heard by a judge. A public jury can just as easily be a judgmental mob as a compassionate group of peers. But neither a jury nor a judge could really understand the unhealthy relationship these two teenagers had, what kind of island in a terrifying world they had constructed, or how hopeless both of them saw their own struggles with mental illness. And Judge Lawrence Moniz seems to have been unswayed by the defense's efforts to explain Michelle Carter's thinking at the time.
Carter's friend Roy had been in and out of treatment and had attempted suicide before. He had a family, he had teachers, he most likely still had therapists and case workers. And it was he himself who closed the door of his truck, ending his own short life. But the entire weight of the state has come down on his equally troubled friend and placed full responsibility for the suicide at her feet.
This is a travesty of justice. I hope when it comes to sentencing that the courts will, in some measure of mercy and sanity, prevent the ruin of another young life.