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U.S. District Judge John Koeltl has granted a motion from the Government to release attorney Lynne Stewart from prison. Months ago, Judge Koetl said he could not act unless the Government, as opposed to Stewart, made the request. This morning, the Government made the request and this afternoon, Judge Koetl granted it.
“The defendant’s terminal medical condition and very limited life expectancy constitute extraordinary and compelling reasons that warrant the requested reduction” in her prison sentence, Koeltl’s order said.
Stewart has been imprisoned since 2009 as a result of her conviction for assisting her jailed client, Omar Abdel-Rahman, communicate with his followers. Some more history on her need for early release is here.
She's been suffering from cancer since 2006.
Stewart's conviction stretched the definition of material support to a terrorist organization to new limits. While nothing can return the past four years to her, at least she will spend her final days with her family. Our best wishes go out to Lynne.
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Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is challenging the restrictive prison SAMS (special administrative measures) BOP imposed on his prison communications, including those with his attorneys. The ACLU filed this Amicus Brief today.
Among the restrictions: Defense attorneys have to pre-clear any documents they want to show Jahar with the Government. The Boston Herald reports:
In an affidavit attached to the filing, one of Tsarnaev’s lawyers stated that during a prison visit he was forbidden to show Tsarnaev photographs related to preparing his defense because they contained images of family members, which he is barred from seeing.
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Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's lawyers have filed a motion to end the SAMS restrictions on Tsarnaev and his legal team.
The SAMS imposed on Tsarnaev are attached to the motion as an exhibit. Take a minute to read them. But for all the alphabet references to federal agencies, I would have thought the jail was in Russia. The motion is here.
The documents also contain some interesting Government theories about Dzhokhar, some of which are at odds with other information released by the Government (the motion discusses this aspect.)
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Robel Phillipos, the third friend of Jahar Tsarnaev who was arrested for making false statements to the FBI related to the terrorism investigation into the Boston Marathon bombing, has now been indicted. He's charged with two counts of making a false statement in a matter involving domestic or international terrorism. The Indictment is here. It alleges his false statements material and made knowingly and willfully.
His attorneys previously said they were working on a disposition. No more. They now say he will fight the charges. My translation: Negotiations over sentencing broke down. [More...]
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Boston Magazine, which first published the leaked arrest photos of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, has published another 48 images from the arrest scene. Like the earlier photos, these were taken by Sergeant Sean Murphy.
In this photo, an injured Dzhokhar lifts his sweatshirt. Presumably, this was in response to a request by law enforcement to show he did not have a bomb strapped to his chest. In this photo, you can see the number of agents with guns trained on him as he descended from the boat. This photo shows injuries to his face and hand while still on the boat.
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He has multiple gunshot wounds, the most severe of which appears to have entered through the left side inside of his mouth and exited the left face, lower 18 face. This was a high-powered injury that has resulted in 19 skull-base fracture, with injuries to the middle ear, the skull base, the lateral portion of his C1 vertebrae, with a 21 significant soft-tissue injury, as well as injury to the pharynx, the mouth, and a small vascular injury that's been treated. He has, in addition to this, some ophthalmologic injuries that have been treated.
He has multiple gunshots wounds to the extremities that have been treated with dressings to the lower extremities; and in the case of his left hand, he had multiple bony injuries as well that were treated with fixation and soft-tissue coverage, as well as tendon repair and vascular ligation.
He was questioned for two days before this hearing, without being advised of his right to counsel. He was also being administered Diluadid, a potent pain killer, every three hours.
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Dias Kadyrbayev and Azamat Tazhayakov, the friends of Dzokhar Tsarnaev who took items from his dorm room a few days after the Boston Marathon bombing, appeared in court today and entered pleas of not guilty to charges of conspiracy to obstruct justice. After court, Dias' attorney released a statement, which reads in part:
“Dias comes from a former Soviet-bloc region where police routinely are distrusted. Yet when authorities first approached him, he fully cooperated and for nearly 12 hours over two days Dias answered the FBI’s questions without an attorney or a Kazakh Consular official present,” the statement read.
“Dias also voluntarily turned over the computer from Tsarnaev’s room and told the FBI where they could find the backpack that contained a packet of fireworks. The FBI recovered all of the items because of Dias’ complete cooperation with their investigation.”
At Slate, Azamat's first lawyer, Harlan Protass, has an op-ed arguing against long sentences for the pair. The Government told the court today it expects to call 15 to 20 witnesses at trial.
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I've complained a few times over the past months about the incomplete court docket in the Dzhokhar Tsarnaev case, suggesting that mainstream media should object. It's one thing to keep the contents of a motion or order sealed, it's another to keep secret the fact that a motion or order was filed. In May, there were 22 missing docket entries. The docket today shows more missing docket entries(and shows nothing has been filed since July 15.)
At last: A challenge from MA media:
GateHouse Media Inc., the parent company of several Massachusetts-based community newspapers — including The Herald News, the Patriot Ledger and the MetroWest Daily News — on Wednesday submitted a letter to federal district court objecting that the public docket maintained in the criminal case against Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is missing entries.
I quoted the MA rules and posted a graphic showing the missing entries in May, along with a graphic of how it's typically done in cases in other districts -- including terrorism cases, here [More...].
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Sergeant Sean P. Murphy, the State Police tactical photographer who leaked photos of a bloodied Dzhokhar Tsarnaev with a sniper's laser aimed at his head as he surrendered and departed the boat, has been placed on leave. He will have a hearing next week. He was not authorized to release the photos.
The U.S. Attorneys office, former prosecutors, police officials, a law professor and defense lawyers have all blasted Murphy's release of the photos.
“The release of these photos was completely unacceptable,” (U.S. Attorney) spokeswoman Christina DiIorio-Sterling said in a statement. [More...]
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Rolling Stone has made available online the full article about Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, Jahar's World. I haven't had time to read it yet, but if you have, here's a place to discuss it.
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I'm sure there will be people outraged by the presence of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev on the cover of Rolling Stone. I'm not one of them. I'm looking forward to reading the featured article about him.
[RS Editor Janet]Reitman spent the last two months interviewing dozens of sources – childhood and high school friends, teachers, neighbors and law enforcement agents, many of whom spoke for the first time about the case – to deliver a riveting and heartbreaking account of how a charming kid with a bright future became a monster.
I just wish they hadn't called him a "monster." Hopefully the article will provide some unbiased insights into Jahar from people that really knew him. It comes out August 3. [More...]
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Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has his arraignment tomorrow in federal court in Boston. These aren't long hearings, he will just plead "not guilty" unless he has a deal, in which case he'll plead guilty.
I wonder how his medical condition is, and whether he will be kept at medical facility or shipped to a prison that houses detainees.I also wonder whether his lawyers have been able to forge a relationship with him. From the few accounts available, it seems like they have. No one I know is better at mastering that difficult task than Judy Clark.
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Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has been indicted by a federal grand jury in Massachusetts. Among the charges are use of weapons of mass destruction. He is also charged in the killing of four people.
There will be a press conference at 3 pm ET.
The 74 page indictment is here.
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Yesterday, the Judge in the Boston bombing case of defendant Dzokhar Tsarnaev issued an order denying a motion filed under seal in which the defense asked to take periodic photographs of Dzhokhar (Jahar) at Devens Medical Facility to be able to document his evolving physical and emotional state. The court declined to interfere with BOP policy which disallows visitors to have cameras on security grounds. It ruled that the staff at the prison can take the photos which will be shared with both parties (not just the defense.) Here is the Court's order, referencing the motion which was filed under seal as Docket Number 29. The order also refers to a response the Government filed under seal.
Looking at the docket, it appears that there have been many motions filed under seal, because so many numbers are missing. Instead of listing the docket number with a descriptive notation like "Motion to Suppress, Sealed, by Defendant", there's a big nothing. See below: [More..]
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RiaNovosti in Russia recently interviewed Devens Medical Center spokesman John Colautti about Dzokhar Tsarnaev's conditions of confinement.
Jahar is locked down 23 hours a day 5 days a week and 24 hours a day on weekends. He has no TV. He could listen to a walkman radio if he had $45 to buy it. His meals are brought to his cell. A book cart is brought by his cell a few days a week. He eats every meal alone in his cell. He gets three showers a week -- in his cell. He's not allowed contact with other prisons. Even if his injuries improve and he is moved to another facility, it's unlikely his living conditions will be any different -- he'll be deemed to be a "celebrity" inmate who needs to be segregated from general population. This could easily go on for a year.
The only people he sees besides medical staff are his lawyers, and they are 30 miles away. He still can't have visitors because it takes a while. He has to submit the names of visitors -- they have to be people he knew before being arrested -- and then a thorough background check is done on them.
His cell is about 10 feet by 10 feet and contains only a bed bolted to the floor, a sink and a toilet. When he is taken out for exercise, he is shackled at the hands and feet by two guards, and brought to a cage type place outdoors where he can exercise. If weather is inclement, there's an indoor room where he could exercise alone. If the prison gets put on lockdown, or staff is short (e.g. from furloughs), he doesn't get to go.
More details here.
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