Judge faces legal quagmire in text message suicide trial

TAUNTON, Mass. — A juvenile court judge finds himself at the center of a legal quagmire in a case that provides a disturbing look at teen depression and suicide.

Judge Lawrence Moniz is deliberating the fate of Michelle Carter. The Massachusetts woman is charged with involuntary manslaughter in the 2014 suicide of her boyfriend, Carter Roy III.

“He's obviously a courageous judge because whatever he decides, he's holding himself up to criticism from various sides of the public,” attorney Peter Elikann said.

MORE: All the texts between Michelle Carter and Conrad Roy the day he died

Prosecutors allege that Carter caused Roy's death by relentlessly badgering him with text messages urging him to kill himself.

Carter's lawyers say Roy had made up his mind to take his own life and Carter did not cause his death.

The case is being closely watched in the legal community. If the judge convicts Carter of manslaughter, it could set a legal precedent in Massachusetts. The state does not have a law against encouraging someone to kill themselves.

Elikan said regardless of the outcome, Carter is likely to face serious challenges in her life because of the attention the trial has received.

“For the rest of her life, people might remember her name. They might Google her name. She might be very personally unpopular,” he said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.