Saturday, June 17, 2017

Young lady in USA is judged guilty in case somewhat similar to abetment of suicide

[Note: I have put this post up in my spiritual blog as, unfortunately, suicides do happen in ashram systems too.]

The New York Times Facebook video, https://www.facebook.com/nytimes/videos/1875362036014643/, dated 17-Jun-2017 (by Indian Standard Time), around 1 min 45 secs, seems to capture the key part of the court judge's verdict in a case of involuntary manslaughter in the USA associated with a suicide. I think such a case in the Indian legal context would be viewed as abetment of suicide.

The lady, Michelle Carter, was charged with egging her boyfriend to commit suicide by Carbon Monoxide poisoning in a 'truck' through text messages and phone calls in 2014. ['Truck' in USA is also used to refer to pickups that have an open load bed that may be only slightly larger than normal cars, besides it ('truck') referring to the large load carrying vehicles that are referred to as lorry in India.] The case seems to have been tried in Taunton, Massachusetts, USA as per a text label on the video, and this judgement was read out on 16th June (2017). I have given below key words of the Judge as well as some other info. provided in the short video:

Judge: "... now finds you guilty on the indictment charging you with the involuntary manslaughter of the person Conrad Roy the third."

The video shows Michelle Carter's text message on the morning of Roy's suicide: "If you want it as bad as you say you do it's time to do it today".

Conrad Roy text message: "Yup. No more waiting."

Michelle Carter text message: "Okay. I'm serious. Like you can't even wait 'till tonight. You have to do it when you get back from your walk."

The video then states that the teenage couple both suffered from depression and Roy had prior suicide attempts.

It also gives the defense view that Michelle Carter tried to help Roy and that she told Roy that she loved him and that a lot of people loved him. The defense also put forward a view that Carter was taking antidepressents which led to her being involuntarily intoxicated.

It reported that the prosecution stand was that Carter used Roy's death to get attention from girls she admired.

It was a non-jury trial with the (single) judge handing down the verdict.

Judge: ".. Ms. Carter realizes that Mr. Roy has exited the truck. She instructs him to get back into the truck, which she has reason to know is or is becoming a toxic environment inconsistent with human life."

Carter is to be sentenced in August.
--- end video content captured in text ---

Here's the associated New York Times text article: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/16/us/suicide-texting-trial-michelle-carter-conrad-roy.html dated 16th June 2017.

This text article gives more details. It states that Carter asked Roy to get back into the truck which Roy had filled with (Carbon Monoxide) fumes and that he had come out of. Later, the article states, she listened to him die without helping him.

The Judge's name is given as Lawrence Moniz, and the court is a Juvenile court in Bristol County. The article states that this case "had consumed New England, left two families destroyed and raised questions about the scope of legal responsibility". [New England refers to an area in the USA which includes the state of Massachusetts.]

The article states that the lady, Michelle Carter, faces upto 20 years in prison (for the crime of involuntary manslaughter).

It also states that some legal experts are stunned with the verdict as it says that mere words killed him. The defense team is expected to appeal the verdict.

The lady, Michelle Carter, was gasping and sobbing while hearing the verdict. Both the families also wept by the time the lady was asked to stand up and the judge pronounced her guilty.

Ravi: I think in India such a case would be viewed as abetment of suicide and perhaps a similar guilty verdict would have been given in an Indian court against the lady.

What damage such suicide causes! This damage is not only to the person who committed suicide but to the family members and friends of the person who committed suicide, and then if there is a criminal trial for abetment of suicide or equivalent, it extends that suffering to the family members and friends of those accused of abetment of suicide!

I pray to Almighty God to give strength, courage and peace to both the families  involved as well as friends involved, in this tragic case.

[I thank New York Times and have presumed that they will not have any objections to me sharing the text content of their above video on this post which is freely viewable by all, and does not have any financial profit motive whatsoever. Note that I have put up the text content of this video as it deals with a tragic matter of suicide and abetment of suicide which causes a lot of disturbance and sorrow to society. Such information being shared more widely may help in handling such situations better and perhaps preventing some such tragedies.]

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