I Love You, Now Die: what an HBO documentary can tell us about the duty of tech competence.

A few minutes ago, I finished HBO’s I Love You, Now Die: The Commonwealth v. Michelle Carter.  Directed by Erin Lee Carr, the two-part documentary delves into the relationship between teenagers Michelle Carter and Conrad Roy, and the involuntary manslaughter charge that was filed against Carter following Roy’s suicide.

As a person, I found the documentary disturbing, sad and disturbingly sad.  One life tragically lost, many others tragically altered, if not ruined.  I don’t have kids, but I imagine that anyone who does will be deeply affected by the story.

As bar counsel, I was struck differently.  In my professional capacity, the Carter trial serves as a compelling example of lawyers on both sides demonstrating tech competence.

I’m not going to divulge spoilers.  Suffice to say, at trial, both sides made extensive use of thousands of text messages that the defendant and decedent exchanged or sent to others.  The prosecution effectively putting the accused on the stand even though she did not testify, Carter’s lawyers essentially using the decedent’s own “words” to construct a defense.

Indeed, as you’ll learn if you watch, the verdict turned on a single text message.

From a professional responsibility perspective, the documentary makes me more certain than ever that the failure to understand that ESI exists, as well as the failure to understand how to access, review, and use it, likely violates the duty of competence.

Interested?  The trailer is here.

i love you now die