In the eyes of the law, domestic violence in Arizona may not always involve physical acts of aggression against another person. A judge and jury may decide that alleged acts of emotional or psychological abuse also qualify.

A 22-year-old student at Boston College in Massachusetts committed suicide by jumping off a building earlier this year. Authorities have charged his 21-year-old girlfriend with involuntary manslaughter. The allegation is that she goaded him into it with allegedly abusive text messages.

During the girlfriend’s arraignment, the district attorney read a number text messages that she allegedly sent to her boyfriend, claiming that they amounted to repeated and consistent psychological abuse that overwhelmed her boyfriend’s will to live. However, the girlfriend’s defense counsel asserts that, by reading the texts in court, the district attorney is creating a media storm that threatens to taint the pool of potential jurors that could hear his client’s case a year from now.

He also claims that the prosecution is purposely selecting text messages that paint his client in an artificially negative light. The two students exchanged tens of thousands of text messages over the course of their relationship. The Boston Globe published additional text messages purportedly from the girlfriend intended to show that she knew of her boyfriend’s suicidal intentions and tried to prevent him from going through with it.

The defense attorney does not deny that the relationship between his client and her boyfriend was toxic but claims that both were emotionally needy young adults. He describes his client as a fragile young woman mourning the loss of a loved one and that the prosecution has branded her as a monster.

In the United States, everyone accused of a crime is presumed innocent until proven guilty and has the right to a fair trial. Those facing charges of domestic violence who believe a violation of their rights may have taken place may wish to consult an attorney.