Lawyers for Michelle Carter, who was convicted of involuntary manslaughter for her role in her boyfriend’s 2014 suicide, are planning to push to extend the stay to her 15-month jail sentence as they petition the US Supreme Court to take up the case.
Joseph P. Cataldo, an attorney for Carter, said he would ask a judge to extend the stay at a hearing on Monday.
“There’s a legal issue worthy of appeal that should be decided and answered fully before we incarcerate somebody,” Cataldo said Friday.
The stay extension, he said, would be “only a matter of months.”
Prosecutors, meanwhile, are asking a judge to order Carter to start serving her sentence.
The state’s highest court upheld Carter’s involuntary manslaughter conviction and 15-month jail sentence earlier this week, finding that she acted with criminal intent when she “badgered” Conrad Roy III into killing himself.
In that unanimous ruling, the court rejected arguments that her texts and calls with Roy were forms of free speech protected by the First Amendment.
Cataldo disagreed with that decision.
“I would say, respectfully, I do believe they got it wrong,” he said. “That’s why we have other courts.”
He said he plans to file a petition with the Supreme Court within the next 90 days.
“Does the First Amendment cover this circumstance or not? That’s one of the questions we’re asking the US Supreme Court to answer,” he said.
According to testimony at her 2017 trial, Carter, then 17 years old, urged her 18-year-old boyfriend, Roy, to commit suicide on July 13, 2014.
Carter was 30 miles away from Roy and on the phone with him, listening as he inhaled carbon monoxide in his pickup truck in a Fairhaven parking lot, according to testimony. At one point, Roy told Carter he was getting out of the truck, but Carter ordered him back in, prosecutors said.