Is encouraging suicide a Texas crime? (Part 2)

pills-300x211This begs the question, how could encouragement alone ever be the but for of another person actually killing himself?   A jury would have to find that but for Ms. Carter’s conduct, the deceased would not have killed himself.  Then, the state would have to show also that the concurrent cause (method of death, other factors pushing suicide) were not sufficient on their own to cause death.  That would be a very large uphill battle for the prosecutor, because a person who kills themselves by definition caused their own death by some act.

But, couldn’t she be a party to a crime?   Section 7.02 of the code of the Penal Code defines the law of parties.   One might think this would apply, but it really doesn’t.  Under the law of parties “(a)  A person is criminally responsible for an offense committed by the conduct of another if:  (2)  acting with intent to promote or assist the commission of the offense, he solicits, encourages, directs, aids, or attempts to aid the other person to commit the offense.”  Thus, encouraging someone to kill ANOTHER could cause you to be a party to manslaughter or murder.  Killing oneself though, is not manslaughter or murder, because it is taking your own life, not the life of another.  As much as Texas has criminalized behavior, killing yourself is still not a crime.

All of this considered, I think a jury would have a very difficult time in Texas convicting a person of manslaughter for encouraging suicide, and futher think that the Courts of Appeals and Court of Criminal Appeals would have a very tough time sustaining it.   But, there is a lesser crime in Texas that could possibly stick.