After prosecutors rested their arguments in the Michelle Carter case, Judge Lawrence Moniz denied the defenses motion to declare her not guilty based on the evidence or lack therof. Carter, a young woman from Plainville Massachusetts is currently on trial for convincing her high school boyfriend to commit suicide in 2014; prosecutors arguing that Carter persuaded her boyfriend to take his own life, an act that would not have been possible without the influence of his then-girlfriend Michelle Carter.
The Judge did not give a reasoning in regards to the denial of the motion, but with the motion for required finding denied, the defense team will be putting on their own case. A motion for required finding is a relatively easy hurdle for a prosecutor to satisfy as all of the evidence is viewed in the light most favorable to the Commonwealth. It is only when viewing all of the evidence in the light most favorable to the Commonwealth, and finding that no reasonable juror or judge in this case, could find the essential elements of the case proven that the motion be be allowed.
Carter’s defense team argued that there is simply insufficient evidence that Michelle Carter actually caused her boyfriend to take his life; the defense has argued from the start of the trial that this is a suicide case.
Ultimately, in a voluntary manslaughter bench trial, the judge must consider whether the defendant acted recklessly and that the reckless behavior exhibited by the defendant was the cause of death for the victim. When determining recklessness in a case, often times it is looked at in regards to what a reasonable adult would consider as reckless behavior. The defense has argued that, because of the defendant’s age, she should be judged based on what a reasonable teenager would have done rather than being held to the reasonable adult standard. You can read more about the judges decision on Fox 25 Boston here.
The defense additionally exhibited the lack of Massachusetts suicide laws- arguing that there is no statute in Massachusetts that considers and adequately outlines the fact that assisting in a suicide is considered illegal.
The prosecutions argument is strongly based on the texting conversations between both Carter and Roy leading up to his death. You can read some of the many texts sent between Roy and Carter here on Cnn.com. However, the defense team has raised a first amendment issue, arguing that the texts sent from Carter should have been prohibited from the trial and that they did not fall under the “true” threats exemption previously outlined by the United States Supreme Court.
On Friday the defense called Steven Verronneau to testify; a multi-media forensic investigator, Verronneau was given the opportunity to analyze the phones and the computers which were owned by Ms. Carter and Mr. Roy. Veronneau identified google searches made by Mr. Roy, searches on how to commit suicide in a painless and easy manner. The prosecution during cross examination of Mr. Veronneau, however, made note of the more positive evidence found on his personal belongings, family pictures in which the victim appeared happy and not likely to commit suicide.
If you’re facing criminal charges and are worried you may have to take your case to trial, it is imperative you contact an experienced defense attorney at DelSignore Law today to discuss your case. The attorneys at DelSignore Law frequently handle both bench and jury trials and can be of great assistance to you if you are facing a criminal charge.