Massachusetts law is today muddier than the Charles River. Juvenile Court Judge Lawrence Moniz has ruled that Michelle Carter is guilty of involuntary manslaughter in the death of Conrad Roy III. Roy smoked himself in a cloudy pool of carbon monoxide on the evening of July 13, 2014.

Judge Moniz stated that Carter was guilty of reckless conduct creating a strong likelihood that substantial harm resulting from her order to Roy to get back to committing the suicide he originated, with the equipment he purchased. Over a period of several months, Roy threatened to take his own life. According to court testimony (text messages between the suspect and victim), Conrad encouraged Carter to pull off a Romeo and Juliet double suicide. Carter says no, we're not going to die. She requested that Conrad seek therapy. He refused.

What is startling to me is the Judge did not seriously consider Michelle Carter's psychological challenges. She once attempted suicide. She had been prescribed the power drug Prozac at age 14. How the judge dismissed the RX factor is appalling. It should be interesting to see how that plays out in appeals court.

The bottom line. People of the United States expect a certain modicum of freedom, inclusive of when and how to die. We have an inalienable right to discuss these emotional plans with a trusting friend. There's a bonafide and legal reason why Massachusetts doesn't have an assisted suicide law. It's a protected issue of statement and choice. Judging by the scads of text messages initiated by Roy III, stable or not, he had a tight bond with Michelle Carter. A bond he could have severed by blocking her off Facebook and other text channels. He did not. Repeat, he did not.

As hesitant as Conrad was in his final days, it's clear as text message day, he was on a smoky collison course to death. Roy started the process and trusted Carter to keep zipped lips. It's understandable the prosecution intentionally skipped over this huge fact. Horrifying that learned Judge Moniz would barter verbiage of freedom for an unclear and unwritten law. What happens the next time you say "go jump off a bridge," and the person does it and dies. Guilty?

Next stop, Appeals Court.

Editor’s Note: Brian Thomas is the host of Brian’s Beat on 1420 WBSM New Bedford.  He can be heard weekdays from 10am-Noon and Saturdays from 6am-9am.  The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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