As the Michelle Carter trial continues this week, her defense team presented expert witnesses; Dr. Peter Breggin took the stand testifying in regards to his knowledge on the effects felt by juveniles whom are prescribed antidepressants. This comes after the defense had their motion to dismiss the case, for lack of credible evidence, denied. A witness for the defense, Dr. Breggin has frequently testified in court cases, roughly 90 times since the 1980’s, and is commonly known for his opposition of anti-depressant medications.
For roughly four hours, Dr. Breggin described Michelle Carter as a person always willing to offer a helping hand who underwent changes after being prescribed the well known antidepressant Prozac and subsequently Celexa. Dr. Breggin painted a picture of a young adult who simply was suffering from the side effects of the medication she was placed on, noting that antidepressants, such as the medications listed above, have the ability to affect impulse control. He also pointed out some of the warnings, in plain view, on the side of the Celexa medication bottle itself; warnings such as potential for an increased risk of suicide for those taking the medicine.
After first being prescribed Prozac, Breggin noted that it was evident to Carters loved ones that she was becoming increasingly more vulnerable. He gave his expert opinion, citing the many common side effects patients that take similar drugs commonly feel. Prozac was the first medication that was prescribed to Carter whom later switched her medications in July of 2014. After switching her medication to Celexa, Carter began to exhibit more apathy, but this apathy was also coupled with bursts of anger and mania. Dr. Breggin highlighted the drugs effect on the frontal lobe, specifically in young adults, noting that the drug may negatively impact her ability to make proper choices and to fully understand the consequences of such choices.
Dr. Breggin confirmed, when asked, that he had access to and spent some time looking at both Carters and Roys medical history as well as their many text message conversations. He mentioned that it was evident, through not only the texts sent to Roy but to other loved ones as well, that Carter was battling demons of her own, ultimately raising the idea that Carter was involuntary intoxicated by the medications she was prescribed. The involuntary intoxication, said Dr. Breggin, could be the reason Carter ultimately convinced her boyfriend to kill himself. The involuntary intoxication manifested itself as delusions, and feelings of being out of touch with the rest of the world. You can read more about the involuntary intoxication raised by Michelle Carter’s defense team here on Cnn.com.
Carter frequently tried to convince Roy that there were other options than committing suicide and that he should instead seek help. Dr. Breggin shed light on Carters attempts to save Conrads life- mentioning that Carter began feeling overwhelmed and hopeless, referencing potential side effects of the medication, and ultimately decided to go along with his plan. Read a detailed account of the case along with some of the controversial texts at The Washington Post here.
Closing arguments wrapped up late Tuesday. As Carter awaits the verdict and ultimately her fate, the judge is weighing the evidence presented by both the prosecution and the defense. If the verdict comes back in favor of Carter, I believe it is likely due to the medical testimony of Dr. Breggin.
If you have been charged with involuntary manslaughter, read more here as it is important you understand the crime and the charges you are facing. If you are interested in contacting an experienced defense attorney at DelSignore Law, view our office locations and contact information here.