Cyber Bullying, Free Speech, and Manslaughter
Have you heard about the case in Massachusetts that involved texting and suicide? Here, Michelle Carter was convicted of manslaughter after persuading her boyfriend, via text, to kill himself. On February 6,2019, the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts upheld the conviction. Specifically, the court concluded that “the evidence against the defendant proved that, by her wanton or reckless conduct, she caused the victim’s death by suicide.”
Although this is not a Florida probate case, it is a very important one because it involved a free speech argument. Here, the court determined that Carter’s free speech rights were not violated because “she was not being punished for her words alone, but for reckless or wanton words causing death.” What does this case mean in regards to free speech rights? What does it mean in the cyber bullying world? Did you ever think that sending a text message could land you in prison? How could text messages affect your civil or criminal case? Would a Florida court rule the same way? To read the entire opinion, click here.