back to article Teen faces trial for telling suicidal boyfriend to kill himself via text

A teenager will stand trial for sending dozens of texts to her boyfriend encouraging him to take his own life. Massachusetts' highest court rejected an appeal from Michelle Carter's legal team that the texts to Carter Roy back in 2014 were protected under the First Amendment. She now faces an involuntary manslaughter charge …

  1. ecofeco Silver badge

    Is this a trick question?

    Ultimately the question becomes: is virtual, online communication equivalent to real-world, offline communication?

    You've got to be kidding. Has the world become this fucking stupid?

    Oh wait. Merkin. Never mind.

    1. asdf Silver badge

      Re: Is this a trick question?

      Well legally the SCOTUS badly wants online communication to be different so they can finally get rid of the fourth amendment that they loathe so much and its onerous warrant requirements.

      1. The Man Who Fell To Earth
        Boffin

        Re: Is this a trick question?

        This was a State Supreme Court decision, not a SCOTUS decision, that allowed the charges to proceed to trial. In the US, murder & manslaughter are State, not Federal offenses. That is why if you are going to kill someone in the US, you be wise to do it in a State that doesn't have the death penalty.

    2. Dabooka Silver badge

      Re: Is this a trick question?

      I agree, I can only assume the downvotes are for the comment about the colonials.

    3. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

      Re: Is this a trick question?

      "Has the world become this fucking stupid?"

      Is that a trick question?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Is this a trick question?

        Was the world ever not this fucking stupid?

        1. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

          Re: Is this a trick question?

          "Was the world ever not this fucking stupid?"

          Yes it was. Before undeveloped minds could cummunicate instantly with each other in the millions, the world wasn't this stupid.

          1. Ilsa Loving

            Re: Is this a trick question?

            So to clarify, the world really *was* this stupid, but it was a lot harder for stupid people to congregate and consolidate their efforts?

            1. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

              Re: Is this a trick question?

              "So to clarify, the world really *was* this stupid, but it was a lot harder for stupid people to congregate and consolidate their efforts?"

              No. The undeveloped minds would have had to TALK to actual wiser people in their vicinity, rather than type on a phone to millions of other idiots. Because of this they became less stupid quicker.

              So, undeveloped minds (i,e, young people) really are a lot more stupid today than ever before.

  2. DougS Silver badge

    If nothing else

    She certainly didn't do anything to prevent his suicide, like calling the police or someone else to try and stop it. It is really no different than if he was injured on the street and she stepped over him on her way to work without trying to get help.

    I don't know the law in that state, but there's some sort of good Samaritan law there she's guilty of violating that at the very least.

    1. asdf Silver badge

      Re: If nothing else

      Yeah then they should charge her with accessory to the fact not this made up retroactive bull crap.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: If nothing else

      < 5 minutes with google: https://blog.mass.gov/masslawlib/misc/good-samaritan-laws/

      Now that we know reporting it will hurt you, you don't have to report it.

      1. asdf Silver badge

        Re: If nothing else

        >Now that we know reporting it will hurt you, you don't have to report it.

        Not a good way to go.

        http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-36446652

    3. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

      Re: If nothing else

      The charges are blatant overreach. She did show incredibly poor judgement that is typical of a 17 year old and possibly did not fully appreciate his mental state. I am not sure what she was a criminal offence unless one makes stupidity a crime; certainly not murder. He apparently was suicidal and any number of things could have pushed him over the edge sooner or later to commit suicide.

      1. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

        Re: If nothing else

        Being 17 is not an exuse. Not at all. Even an 7 year old would know better.

        " He apparently was suicidal and any number of things could have pushed him over the edge sooner or later to commit suicide."

        Lots of people are suicidal at some stage in their lives, but nothing comes of it and they live until old age. All they might need is a tiny little bit of support at some stage. Would you agree that he got the opposite of support?

        There is something seriously wrong with this particular 17 year old.

        1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

          Re: If nothing else

          Isn't committing suicide a crime in some places? If so then she could at least be charged with being an accomplice.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: If nothing else

            Isn't committing suicide a crime in some places?

            It's used to be in the UK, but was revoked. However assisting in suicide is still illegal in the UK.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: If nothing else

      "She certainly didn't do anything to prevent his suicide, like calling the police or someone else to try and stop it."

      Well, yes - I think we can agree from her posts that is not what she was doing.

    5. Pliny the Whiner

      Re: If nothing else

      "I don't know the law in that state, but there's some sort of good Samaritan law there she's guilty of violating that at the very least."

      You can't "violate" a Good Samaritan law, since the very nature of such laws is that they're an affirmative defense, i.e., a defined reason(s) why you should NOT be punished for violating some other law(s).

      Defendant: Yer Honor or whatever, I smashed the windshield so that I could extricate the sweaty teenager from the car.

      His Honor: Well, yes, but it was the dead middle of winter. And anyway, all teenagers are sweaty. My god, man, have you never smelled one of those creatures?

      I'm pretty confident that life will punish Michelle Carter. I mean, would you give her a job or rent her an apartment? She's one Google search away from being George Zimmerman, the armed Floridian who murdered an unarmed teenager and got away with it through -- you guessed it -- the application of affirmative defenses. His ass is toast too.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: If nothing else

        Oooo, the whiny troll squeaks!

        I bet you swear by Zimmerman's Brand Bogeymen® (ask for them by name!)

    6. Sirius Lee

      Re: If nothing else

      "She certainly didn't do anything to prevent his suicide"

      How can you assert that? In the article we're given only the texts highlighting the justification for the case. The other communications are completely missing. The article itself points out that she encouraged the boy to seek psychiatric help. And we know nothing of the verbal communication between the two of which there appears to be a lot.

      It's staggering that you feel able to make such a bold statement on such one-sided and limited evidence. Even more staggering is that you get 7 upvotes. In the event I ever have to face a trial, I hope beyond all measure that you are not a juror.

    7. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

      Re: If nothing else

      " It is really no different than if he was injured on the street and she stepped over him on her way to work without trying to get help."

      It's a bit worse than that. It's more like she also told him that if he put the amputated leg in a low position it would stop the bleeding, and then stepped over him.

      1. NotBob
        Holmes

        Re: If nothing else

        It's more like she also told him that if he put the amputated leg in a low position it would stop the bleeding...

        As we were taught in medicine: all bleeding eventually stops, and all patients eventually die. Technically, that would stop the bleeding faster than holding it up if nothing else is being done. That femoral artery is a big one.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I miss that brief time when the stupid people hadn't worked out how to access the internet.

    It was August if I remember correctly.

    1. asdf Silver badge

      Back in the gopher days where real men got Wolfenstein shareware off dialup BB not this fancy inter tubes thing.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I remember it well.

      It was just after compuserve etc... started giving out cds.

      Windows also started asking if you had a CD from your ISP. The rest of us did it manually for a long time before.

      Then it all went to shit.

      1. asdf Silver badge

        CDs came a bit later I think. If I remember right only ever got Mosaic and most other early software via ftp. ISP was my college though.

        1. Scroticus Canis
          Happy

          FTP - Shear Luxury!!

          I got my Wolfstein like my AV updates - on stiffy or several of them.

      2. Geoffrey W Silver badge

        Elitists.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "The rest of us did it manually for a long time..."

        Just like most teanagers.

        1. TRT Silver badge

          Software on CDs? Luxury. Typed it in by hand from a listing printed in a magazine.

          1. TRT Silver badge

            In hexadecimal.

            1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

              Luxury. We had to chew th' holes in th' punchcards with our teeth. Sittin' in an unlit septic tank.

          2. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

            "Software on CDs? Luxury. Typed it in by hand from a listing printed in a magazine."

            And thus learned how to bugfix when you dutifully copied in all the typo's :)

            I also recall taping some stuff off the radio to load into my Vic20 once.

            1. TRT Silver badge

              Or there was that flashing square...

              in the corner of the Micro Programme on the BBC IIRC. As well as the spare teletext lines for those with the teletext decoder unit.

          3. DropBear Silver badge

            "Software on CDs? Luxury. Typed it in by hand from a listing printed in a magazine."

            TYPED it? Luxury! We had to toggle eight switches for each byte then press the burn pulse button for the windowed EPROM...

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Happy

        BBS, Pppft newbies.

        Prestel and proud here.

    3. Jan 0
      Boffin

      > that brief time when the stupid people hadn't worked out how to access the internet.

      It was quite a few years actually and they never did work it out. Clever people made it is easy, hoping that stupid people would pay to use the appliances that the clever people created.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I miss that brief time

      And then we had to go and invent the Dummy Guide To The Internet.

      And create online porn so they could learn how to reproduce.*

      And now look at what we've got.

      * Well, some of it could lead to reproduction. Maybe if we could just remove those ones...

  4. goldcd

    No she didn't kill him in any way

    and the moment the law says she did, we're all screwed.

    Abusive email sent to you, abusive message you read online, somebody bumping into you on the stree, somebody staring at you.. blah blah.

    She's clearly not a nice person, but the world's full of them.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: No she didn't kill him in any way

      Well being this only applies to Massholes in Taxachusetts I wouldn't worry too much about the precedent. Sully the Townie is too busy following under inflated footballs in the courts to worry about this case.

    2. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: No she didn't kill him in any way

      Your honour, in this case we're going to hear that the accused should be released because she incited that the victim commit suicide while standing on the other side of the door frame, therefore she was not present in the room with the victim when it happened and was therefore not responsible.

      Which is equally ridiculous.

      She knew his mental state and incited him to carry on. It doesn't matter if she's there or she did it by post, by e-mail, by messenger, or by carrier pigeon.

    3. Jez Burns

      Re: No she didn't kill him in any way

      Horseshit - argumentum ad absurdum. This wasn't a one-off, or a message sent in a fit of anger, and she was by definition fully aware of the victim's mental state.

      You have to worry about the psychology of someone who expresses concern over legal precedents that might curtail online / remote abuse.

    4. Bernard M. Orwell

      Re: No she didn't kill him in any way

      If you bully a person to the point where they kill themselves, have you not committed a crime? Is it worse when you bully someone suffering from a mental health issue to the point where they kill themselves?

      The medium doesn't really matter, or shouldn't, and we've already seen people sentenced for "bullying" on twitter. How is this different?

  5. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

    Is suicide illegal in the USA

    Assuming it is, at the very least it's incitement to commit a crime, especially that text message to another friend admitting she told him to get back into the car and carry on killing himself.

    Whatever the outcome, she''s either a nasty piece of work or has some serious mental/educational problems of her own to deal with.

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: Is suicide illegal in the USA

      Whatever the outcome, she''s either a nasty piece of work or has some serious mental/educational problems of her own to deal with.

      Not "either/or" but "and"... I'll add "despicable". She reminds me of those who stand on the sidewalk chanting at someone threatening to jump to "Jump.. jump... jump" and then applaud when the jumper actually jumps. I'm just not sure how she can look in the mirror at herself.

      FTR: In many states it is illegal. It's a legal ploy to allow the state to get you mental help. Or was at one time before RR started shutting down the mental health institutions and dumping those folks on the streets.

      1. MonkeyCee Silver badge

        Re: Is suicide illegal in the USA

        "Or was at one time before RR started shutting down the mental health institutions and dumping those folks into the prison system."

        FTFY

    2. Marketing Hack Silver badge

      Re: Is suicide illegal in the USA

      Suicide is not really a federal crime, so this depends on the laws in the state of Massachusetts. I know that in California, suicide is not illegal.

      Suicide would only be a federal issue if it were illegal in the federal code, and there was some palpable attempt to cross state lines while performing it.

      1. CustardGannet

        Re: Is suicide illegal in the USA

        "if... there was some palpable attempt to cross state lines while performing it"

        I know it's not really a laughing matter, but I just have this vision of loading oneself into a huge cannon, Wile E. Coyote -style.

    3. werdsmith Silver badge

      Re: Is suicide illegal in the USA

      Whatever the outcome, she''s either a nasty piece of work or has some serious mental/educational problems of her own to deal with.

      A total lack of empathy. Which is associated with a particular type of mind which isn't good.

      1. Locky Silver badge

        Re: Is suicide illegal in the USA

        I never really got this as a concept.

        Surely it should be that attempted suicide is illegal

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Is suicide illegal in the USA

        Whatever the outcome, she''s either a nasty piece of work or has some serious mental/educational problems of her own to deal with.

        A total lack of empathy. Which is associated with a particular type of mind which isn't good.

        Beginnings of a brilliant career in politics.

      3. DropBear Silver badge

        Re: Is suicide illegal in the USA

        "A total lack of empathy. Which is associated with a particular type of mind which isn't good."

        She's destined for great things as a CEO of a megacorp one day. Certainly fits the job requirements.

  6. Andrew Jones 2

    Urging him to commit suicide by text message was one thing but "I was the one on the phone with him and he got out of the car because it was working and I fucken [sic] told him to get back in." being aware that he got out of the car because it was working - and therefore wished to seek help, for her to then convince him to get back into the car and carry on killing himself - that is a whole new level of wrong. Further it suggests that she was indeed on the phone with him the entire time he was killing himself - and if nothing else - it makes you wonder about the state of her own mental health, normal well adjusted people would find it difficult, if not impossible to stay on the phone with someone who you knew was ending their own life.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      It's America. Even therapists have therapists.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        It's America

        "It's America. Even therapists have therapists."

        And Life Coaches.

        And now the opposite.

      2. MonkeyCee Silver badge

        While appreciated

        It's a good joke, but if you're dealing with people's real traumas, then you do have to regularly see a therapist yourself.

        I've had at least two therapists (a councilor and a psychologist) who had to refer me on because my crap was either too much, or to close to their own issues for them to be clinically effective.

        While it's fun to mock rich people talking about their non-problems, there are some people who are out there trying to help, and they can carry of lot of other people's grief and anguish with them.

        The kind of people who maybe this chap could have down with in his life, rather than this lady.

      3. Don Dumb
        WTF?

        @massivelySerial - "It's America. Even therapists have therapists."

        Why is that a bad thing? - Doctors have Doctors you know

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          It's America. Even doctors are seeing doctors for oxycodone addiction.

      4. Jez Burns

        Therapists have therapists everywhere - personal therapists and supervisors. It's sensible, and professional supervision is a required part of the job.

    2. GrumpenKraut Silver badge
      Unhappy

      > ...to then convince him to get back into the car...

      Where I live this would virtually guarantee she'd be on the harsher end of what a court could hand out: When he got out he had decided to stop the attempt and he was certainly impaired with regard to his decisions. Her making him go back could be looked upon as encouraging suicide as if he hadn't tried before.

      No sympathy for her if she gets a harsh sentence.

      And make no mistake, arsewipes like this one exists in all nations.

  7. Trigun
    Unhappy

    Physical or mental - it's the same

    If I actively shove you over a cliff, or I deliberately coerce you into jumping over it when I know you're in a bad place mentally then both of these, in my book at least, are the same. One is physical, the other non-physical, but both would make me the cause of you jumping.

    My two cents? Even if she gets off, she's guilty of being a deeply horrible person going by those texts and the circumstances reported.

    1. Deltics

      Re: Physical or mental - it's the same

      How exactly do you coerce someone into jumping who does not want to, on some level ?

      "deliberately coerce you into jumping" is not the same as "encouraging you to jump when you have already indicated a desire to jump and made all the necessary preparations to do so".

      1. TRT Silver badge

        Re: Physical or mental - it's the same

        Is a cult leader who engineers the mental state of his or her followers to such a position that they are willing to kill others or themselves guilty in any part for the crimes that those followers commit? Of course they are.

        If you got hold of the leader of a terrorist organisation, someone who had only approved plans for mass murder, had lectured their followers and nursed, cajoled and manipulated them into a state of religious fervour and martyrdom, who had an undue influence on their actions, you would want to be able to hold them accountable in some way for their actions.

        There is precedent, although I can't find the actual case notes at the moment.

        1. Vic

          Re: Physical or mental - it's the same

          There is precedent, although I can't find the actual case notes at the moment.

          There was this chap by the name if Bin Laden, who probably didn't actually kill anyone himself. I think it reasonable that he got the blame for what he talked others into doing...

          Vic.

  8. Pompous Git Silver badge

    How exactly do you coerce someone into jumping who does not want to, on some level ?

    Clearly you've never been depressed. No, you don't want to kill yourself, but not doing so seems worse. She deserves a damned good thrashing at least. Likely you do too.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      media..circus

      Have an upvote.

      I've a mate I've known for decades. Nutter, then manic depressive, then bipolar. His monika rather depended on political correctness than anything else. Electro-shock, lithium, he's been through it all. He likes to self-medicate and for the last few years he's been getting it right.

      Relentless bad karma gets us all down. Some people walk(*) through life. I waited all through our kids upbringing before I got another motorbike. Major arguments. Eventually I just buy one. Three weeks later some twat parked on top of it & fucked off. A neighbour saw the culprit but would not go to court with me because of his immigration status.

      Almost immediately the bike is totalled, my car is in the shop. Someone hits it overnight. Turns out we're both with the same insurer and mine is due soon - premium up by amount of damage, even with NCP. The bike comes back: I end up in intensive care from a revoked driver. When I get out of hospital, I'm straight back in because my stomach split open in four places. A student nurse took all my staples out when left unsupervised. Car back from shop. New cam belt assembly. It broke. The builders we had in at the time did a runner: water pouring into four rooms of the house. Second mortgage required for new roof. They weren't even employed to do that, just guttering - but stomped about up there anyway and pulled the TV aerial off the chimney.

      (*) which is why I laugh when shit happens to them.

      You can either fight back or die. In my time I've considered both. So would anyone.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: media..circus

        "The bike comes back: I end up in intensive care from a revoked driver. When I get out of hospital, I'm straight back in because my stomach split open in four places."

        I decided not to go back to bikes when the kids grew up, having seen the statistics on middle aged riders. They are not good. For one thing, when I was a kid 50HP was a large bike, and that was comparable with a lot of cars. Now in the UK 80HP seems to be entry level and cars start at around 90HP. Everything happens faster and with more acceleration, there's more traffic on the road and at the same time middle age reflexes are not the same as 18 year old. Last week, it seems, someone in his late 30s killed himself near here, entering a long straight stretch of road so fast he couldn't avoid a driver who decided a main road was a good place to do a three point turn. And not many years ago, I got the recordings off a road sensor which showed that a bike was regularly doing 70mph+ at the exit from a 20mph limit, in a narrow road with cars parked on one side and houses coming to the pavement on the other.

        Some people walk through life, others go through life with a target on their chests of their own construction.

    2. MonkeyCee Silver badge

      Well put

      Well put. Depression isn't feeling shitty, or sad because something (or a series of things) are causing you pain.

      It's a hole that you can't see out of. It's the lack of hope that anything will change for the better. The inability to dream. You lose your self esteem, self worth and then no-one really wants to be around you anyway.

      That's why being depressed, plus some hard logical thinking*, often leads to suicidal thoughts. If those thoughts are encouraged and reinforced, then you can move to actions. Hence why reporting is restricted, since it can encourage people "over the edge".

      Depressed people are vulnerable, and this lady took advantage in about the worst way possible. Well, making him kill others would be worse I suppose, but still. She's as culpable as someone bullying a person so much they harm themselves.

      If someone is really suicidal, they don't need any encouragement, so FUCKING DON'T. They'll find a way, usually after a number of attempts, each of which leaves them in a worse state than before.

      * in my case, courtesy of prozac.

    3. MR J

      I cant see why so many people are defending her.

      Had she said something along the lines of "I don't want to hear this again, leave me alone" then she would have taken part in neither pushing him to do it nor stopping him from doing it. Her text clearly show she was egging him on to do it.

      Those kids that egg on other kids to get them to stab or beat a homeless man, they are just as guilty as the one doing the stabbing - perhaps even more guilty in some ways. I view what this chick did in the same light.

      I have personally known people (late teens) that act this way when their "love" is going away, I have never seen anyone egg them on to the point of making it happen.

      I did once get stopped because someone was on a bridge about to jump, my suggestion was that they either jump or get down because they were holding traffic up. Most people will get down - If everyone there had been shouting Jump then I am sure he would have jumped.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "She deserves a damned good thrashing at least."

      Apparently, the stocks are still legal on this side of the pond...

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What's next for her?

    After all, her life is ruined even if she gets off.

    No one would employ someone like her.

    Won't happen though. The do gooders will step in and protect her.

    Poor lickle girl. She done no wrong.

    Just the tip of the iceberg.

    All those tweets you made when Bobby-Joe dumped you. Good luck getting a job even washing dishes as McD's once your prospective employers dig them up.

    1. TRT Silver badge

      Re: What's next for her?

      Well let's put it this way, she's not even going to be able to volunteer for the Samaritans ever.

  10. Taegukgi

    With a friend like her ...

    You don't need enemies!

    Don't know if she is just plain stupid or purely malicious. Oh wait! she is just a teenager with a phone!

  11. Suricou Raven Silver badge

    Idiot.

    If you are doing something that could land you in legal trouble, don't use any form of communication that leaves a record!

    That's just common sense.

  12. Yugguy

    Girlfriend from hell!

    I'd like to see her Tinder profile.

    1. CustardGannet

      Re: Girlfriend from hell!

      Swipe left, dude, swipe left.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    She deserves a spot in the cell with the Seinfeld cast in the final episode

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hang on

    Does this mean she's single?

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Possibly not the appropriate charge but still a criminal act.

    If not murder, what's the penalty for

    "Criminal harassment resulting in suicide".

    It only takes two malicious communications targeting the same individual to be defined as harassment and a criminal offence.

    Other examples of prosecutions from harassment resulting in suicide:

    http://edition.cnn.com/2010/CRIME/03/29/massachusetts.bullying.suicide/

    http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/10/15/florida-bullying-arrest-lakeland-suicide/2986079/

  16. JimmyPage Silver badge
    Stop

    Fire in a crowded theater ?

    Only read the first page, but I thought the US courts had long delineated the 1st amendment as not being a license to shout "FIRE !!!" in a crowded theater - the point being that the ensuing - possibly fatal - stampede was a foreseeable result, and the responsibility of the shouter. Free speech or not.

    In other words, nothing to see. Move on. There shouldn't be any new law here.

  17. lukewarmdog

    Theatre Fire

    But what if you just phoned / texted / emailed someone in the theatre to say there was a fire and thus caused a stampede? According to current laws it seems there is a difference between being there and saying in in person and doing it remotely.

    1. Another User

      Re: Theatre Fire

      Your argument doesn't hold water. Do you really think that texting 911 with such stuff will be considered free speech?

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    But is it Manslaughter?

    There is no argument that she is a nasty piece of work but is it manslaughter and what sort of precedent would it setif it was decided it is manslaughter.

    1. TRT Silver badge

      Re: But is it Manslaughter?

      Unlawful killing perhaps.

      1. Swarthy Silver badge

        Re: But is it Manslaughter?

        The precedent I'm worried about is this: "They created new law here in Massachusetts and applied it retroactively,"

        Retroactively making something a crime is illegal and unconstitutional as six different hells.

        ..And apparently happens every day.

        1. MonkeyCee Silver badge

          Re: But is it Manslaughter?

          "Retroactively making something a crime is illegal and unconstitutional as six different hells.

          ..And apparently happens every day."

          What about the reverse, which seems to happen rather often too. Say some government agency has been keeping data in it's database of ANR/emails/phonecalls etc for longer than it should, and another agency has copied all this information into another "super" database, combined with all the other information it has.

          Then when this *currently illegal* activities start surfacing in undeniable fashions, a series of home secretaries propose laws that make this all retroactively legal, move on, nothing to see here.

          Not sure which is worse, but both are pretty clear abuses of power.

  19. FuzzyWuzzys
    Unhappy

    A lot of men and women get aroused by the power to control someone else's life. In this case it seems quite clear that this girl was getting a thrill over having control over this lad's life, she knew she could get him to do whatever she wanted. It wouldn't matter if he as suicidal, a child abuser, a bank robber or whatever, she would have simply pushed him on to do whatever she wanted.

  20. Julian I-Do-Stuff

    IANA philosopher but...

    Is there some principle of free speech that says the speaker is not responsible for the consequences of their speech? Free speech: yes. Immunity from liability: no. All assuming that one grants speech add having "casual powers", which it would seem strange to deny. Suppose you are a bomb disposal trainee and I the trainer tell you to dismantle a bomb to see how it works and that it has been defused, but I am lying or mistaken, am I not liable? It was only my statement about safety that encouraged the trainee to proceed.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Charming...

    ..what a delightful and compasionate individual, hopefully this will haunt her for the rest of her life, but I doubt it.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Depraved Heart situation?

    I'm not a lawyer, but would the "depraved heart" not apply here? That deals with indirectly causing a death.

    The idea of inventing a law and retroactively applying is very scary. That can lead to all sorts of new legal abuse you really, really don't want. The US legal system is already a big enough mess without adding a(nother) daft idea.

  23. JJKing Silver badge

    I have to wonder why the prosecution polluted the jury pool by releasing her text messages.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I believe she waived her right to a jury trial, so the case will be decided by the judge.

  24. rtb61

    Suicide Is Illegal

    Suicide is illegal and there is a profound and sound reason it is so, otherwise ever murderer ever will set up their victims to look like suicides. Suicide legal, hmm, looks like a suicide, done, finished no investigation. Keeping suicide illegal forces an investigation, simple, sound logic.

    As it is illegal and the accused was fully aware of the intention of the other claimed suicider, the accuses was an accessory before the fact and not only was she criminally negligent in failing to take some actions to prevent it occurring, the accused compounded their guilt by promoting the act and keeping it secret from the claimed suicides parents and authorities.

    So accessory before the fact, criminally negligent and conspired to promote a criminal activity and a bit of mail fraud thrown in (funny laws come into play when you use public messaging systems letters or emails to commit criminal acts). So fair and valid prosecution based upon the information presented, the real question is what is the appropriate rehabilitative penalty, a loss of life was involved, so custodial sentence is mandatory, only it's duration is a matter of question.

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019