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Supreme Court rejects appeal in Michelle Carter case over texts encouraging suicide

Carter was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in the 2014 death of Conrad Roy III.

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Michelle Carter's case gained worldwide attention and was the subject of a 2019 HBO documentary.

David L. Ryan/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

The US Supreme Court said Monday it wouldn't hear an appeal brought by Michelle Carter, who officials say encouraged her boyfriend to kill himself in dozens of text messages. Carter is serving a 15-month sentence after being convicted of involuntary manslaughter in the 2014 death of Conrad Roy III.

The Supreme Court declined to decide whether the 2017 conviction, which was upheld in Massachusetts' highest court earlier this year, violated the First Amendment guarantee of free speech because it was based on words she said or texted. Carter's conviction broke legal ground because a suspect's physical presence at the scene of a death is usually a condition of the manslaughter charge. 

The case gained worldwide attention and was the subject of a 2019 HBO documentary, I Love You, Now Die: The Commonwealth v. Michelle Carter

Carter's lawyer said the Supreme Court decision was unfortunate. 

"Clearly many legal scholars and many in the legal community understand the dangers created by the unprecedented decisions of the Massachusetts courts," said attorney Joseph Cataldo in an emailed statement Monday. "To that end we will be weighing our next steps in correcting this injustice."


If you're struggling with negative thoughts or suicidal feelings, here are 13 suicide and crisis intervention hotlines you can use to get help.

You can also call these numbers:
US: The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline can be reached at 1-800-273-8255. 
UK: The Samaritans can be reached at 116 123. 
AU: Lifeline can be reached at 13 11 14.