From our private database of 37,200+ case briefs...
Commonwealth v. Carter
Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts
481 Mass. 352 (2019)
Seventeen-year-old Michelle Carter (defendant) was charged with involuntary manslaughter for encouraging 18-year-old Conrad Roy to commit suicide. The two met in 2012 and maintained a long-distance relationship through texting and phone calls, frequently discussing Roy’s mental health and suicidal thoughts. By mid-2014, Roy had attempted suicide several times but abandoned each attempt or sought rescue. Carter initially urged Roy to get help and to accompany her to a treatment center where she planned to go for an eating disorder, saying they could support each other. But Roy refused to go, and Carter began helping plan a suicide method and chastising Roy for his indecision and delay. Roy procured a gas-powered water pump and ran it in his truck while sitting inside. Carter and Roy were in contact by cell phone as the truck filled with carbon monoxide. Carter texted a friend that she could hear a motor running and hear moaning, but that Roy would not respond. Carter stayed on the phone for about 20 minutes, then texted that she thought Roy had just killed himself. Carter later texted the same friend that Roy had gotten scared when he felt the effects of the carbon monoxide and had gotten out of the truck, but that she had told him to get back in. The judge found that Roy had gotten out seeking fresh air, but that Carter had told him to get back in knowing the inside had become toxic and aware of his fragile mental state. The judge found Carter could hear the pump running and Roy coughing, but took no steps to save him. She did not call 911, Roy’s family, or tell him to get out of the truck. [Ed.’s note: The casebook excerpt omits the remaining facts and the trial court ruling. Carter had waived a jury, and the judge convicted. Carter appealed, challenging the sufficiency of the evidence and the constitutionality of the involuntary-manslaughter statute as applied and claiming her statements to Roy were protected First Amendment speech.]
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Kafker, J.)
What to do next…
Unlock this case brief with a free (no-commitment) trial membership of Quimbee.
You’ll be in good company: Quimbee is one of the most widely used and trusted sites for law students, serving more than 630,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Berkeley, and Northwestern—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students.Unlock this case briefRead our student testimonials
Learn more about Quimbee’s unique (and proven) approach to achieving great grades at law school.
Quimbee is a company hell-bent on one thing: helping you get an “A” in every course you take in law school, so you can graduate at the top of your class and get a high-paying law job. We’re not just a study aid for law students; we’re the study aid for law students.Learn about our approachRead more about Quimbee
Here's why 630,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:
- Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 37,200 briefs, keyed to 984 casebooks. Top-notch customer support.
- The right amount of information, includes the facts, issues, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
- Access in your classes, works on your mobile and tablet. Massive library of related video lessons and high quality multiple-choice questions.
- Easy to use, uniform format for every case brief. Written in plain English, not in legalese. Our briefs summarize and simplify; they don’t just repeat the court’s language.