After Michelle Carter’s manslaughter conviction was upheld, her lawyer is vowing to take the suicide-bullying case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.
“This should be up to the highest court in the land,” defense attorney Joseph Cataldo told the Boston Herald on Thursday night. “And she should stay out of jail until this case runs it course.”
The Carter conviction has sparked debate from coast to coast about cyberbullying, First Amendment rights and suicide in the age of smartphones.
On Wednesday, Massachusetts’ top court upheld Carter’s manslaughter conviction.
Carter, now 22, was 17 when her 18-year-old boyfriend, Conrad Roy, killed himself by filling his truck with carbon monoxide in a parking lot in Fairhaven, Massachusetts. In the minutes before his death, Roy was in contact with Carter, who urged him to carry out his suicide plan.
“Dateline NBC” will feature the case tonight, with detectives and family members talking about the texting exchange on the night Roy took his own life.
“It was one of those things where you keep reading and it just keeps getting worse. And that’s what kinda put everything in motion,” Fairhaven police Detective Scott Gordon says on the show, according to a clip.
Roy at one point left the pickup and told Carter he was scared. She told him: “Get back in.”
Cataldo said he will push on Monday afternoon for a further extension of Carter’s 15-month sentence.Cataldo said he will argue that he needs time for Carter to exhaust her opportunities to petition the U.S. Supreme Court to review Wednesday’s decision by the state Supreme Judicial Court.
“Respectfully, I think the SJC got it wrong,” Cataldo said. “Rest assured, this legal battle is not over.
“This is an extremely important issue,” he added, “and the Supreme Court should weigh this and what is says about today’s technology. It’s hugely important to address this issue.”Asked if Carter is prepared to be taken into custody, Cataldo said, “Most people are never prepared to go into state custody. Somebody who offends when they’re an immature 17 I don’t think is ever prepared. Even though four years have passed, her life has been on hold.”
Roy, of Mattapoisett, Massachusetts, killed himself a month after his high school graduation. He had been accepted to Fitchburg State University.