Earlier this month, the Supreme Court rejected an appeal from Michelle Carter, the “worst girlfriend ever,” seeking to overturn her manslaughter conviction in the death of her boyfriend, Conrad Roy. This meant that Carter would have to serve out the remainder of her term. As it turns out, that didn’t change much of anything in terms of Carter’s incarceration because she’s now back out on the street. Carter was scheduled to be released in March or April anyway, but it seems she was granted an early release for good behavior. (NY Post)
The early release on Thursday of “suicide text” convict Michelle Carter has outraged the family of Conrad Roy — the teen boyfriend she’d repeatedly encouraged to kill himself.
“It sure is a tough day,” Roy’s grandfather, Conrad Roy Sr., told E! News.
“I’m disgusted with the whole system,” he said Thursday, after Carter, now 23, was sprung from Bristol County House of Correction in Dartmouth, Massachusetts.
It’s totally understandable why the grandfather would be upset. After the original trial, he had complained that the fifteen-month sentence in the death of his grandson was too lenient. Seeing Carter get out three months early no doubt just rubs salt in the wound. He told reporters that fifteen months was “nothing” when compared to a lost lifetime with his grandson.
Carter apparently earned her early release by avoiding any disciplinary issues, doing extra work in the jail’s kitchen and garden, and attending classes geared toward rehabilitation. None of this impressed Conrad Roy’s grandfather who showed remarkable restraint by simply saying that she is “not a good person.”
I certainly won’t argue with him there. Michelle Carter is a horrible person. But given the fact that she had no involvement in Carter Roy’s suicide other than sending text messages and making phone calls, she also never should have been behind bars to begin with. What she was guilty of was speaking. But now, with this case in the books as precedent, speech can apparently land you in prison.
If Conrad Roy Sr. is looking for any consolation in terms of Carter’s punishment, he should realize that she’s paying a heavier price than simply a year or so in jail. She now has a felony record that will follow her around for the rest of her life. She’s also become a household name across much of the country. It’s difficult to imagine how she will fare out in society when people can immediately access the trail of horrible things she said and texted to her supposed boyfriend, badgering him until he finally killed himself.
But as I said above, this story is much bigger than the Carter and Roy families. We’ve turned what appears to be a disturbing corner in American criminal law. Now that someone has been sent to jail for saying things and the Supreme Court has basically upheld that decision, you can be sure that other cases will follow. So mind what you’re saying on the phone or sending in DMs or texts. You might find the police knocking at your door next.