A recent court case in Massachusetts made international headlines when a young woman was convicted of involuntary manslaughter after she texted her boyfriend, encouraging him to commit suicide, which he did.
In New Jersey, the statute N.J.S.A. 2C:11-6, Aiding Suicide, presents a similar prohibition on taking action that assists or encourages a person to commit suicide.
The text of the bill is short, but in this era of constant communication and dark corners of the internet, it’s hard to say that the language is clear.
The law says, “A person who purposely aids another to commit suicide is guilty of a crime of the second degree if his conduct causes such suicide or an attempted suicide, and otherwise of a crime of the fourth degree.”
It’s far from obvious how a prosecutor could construe the word “conduct” in the statute, which means that a case like the one in Massachusetts could also play out here.
It’s likely that legislators envisioned the law applying to doctors and other caregivers when they enacted it in the 1970s, but with cyberbullying and online suicide challenges, Aiding Suicide is a statute that could come into play more prominently in the future.
If you or your child are being investigated for or have been charged with Aiding Suicide in New Jersey, it’s important that you choose to work with an experienced criminal defense attorney to develop a compelling defense.
Matt Reisig has been helping people in New Jersey who are facing serious criminal charges for two decades.
Call 732-625-9661 for a free consultation today.