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Dzhokhar Tsarnev Trial Set for November

The judge in the Boston Marathon bombing trial of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has set his trial to begin November 3, 2014. The defense had asked it begin in September, 2015.

The defense says the FBI has yet to turn over 2,000 pieces of physical evidence still being analyzed.

The defense has until June to decide on whether to seek a change of venue.

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U.S. to Seek Death Penalty for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev

The United States will seek the death penalty for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. It filed a notice today (available on PACER) listing the statutory aggravating factors and non-statutory aggravating factors. Among the non-statutory factors:

1. Betrayal of the United States. DZHOKHAR TSARNAEV received asylum from the United States; obtained citizenship and enjoyed the freedoms of a United States citizen; and then betrayed his allegiance to the United States by killing and maiming people in the United States.

2. Encouragement of Others to Commit Acts of Violence and Terrorism. In conjunction with committing acts of violence and terrorism, DZHOKHAR TASARNAEV made statements suggesting that others would be justified in committing additional acts of violence and terrorism against the United States.

[More....]

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"Jihadi Jane" Sentenced to Ten Years

"Jihadi Jane" aka Colleen La Rose, has been sentenced in Philadelphia to ten years in prison for her role in the planned attack on Danish newspaper cartoonist Lars Vilks.

Prosecutors depicted Ms. LaRose as a “lonely and isolated” woman who sought excitement by joining the jihadist cause. She was flattered to get an assignment to kill a foe of Islam.

The original indictment is here. Rose has already served four years, so she has about four more years to do. She cooperated with authorities to avoid a life sentence.

“The fact that out of boredom, or out of being housebound, she took to the computer and communicated with the people she communicated with, and hatched this mission, is just unbelievable,” Judge Tucker said.

Still to be sentenced in the case: Jamie Paulin Ramirez, originally from Colorado, who became a mail-order bride for alleged co-conspirator Ali Damache, an Algerian national in Ireland who pleaded guilty there during trial to sending a menacing message by telephone to an American Muslim activist. [More...]

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Lynne Stewart Granted Compassionate Release

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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ACLU Files Brief Opposing Tsarnaev Prison Restrictions

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 Seeks End to " SAMS" Restrictions

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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Third Friend of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev Indicted

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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New Tsarnaev Injury Photos Released

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.

Here's a video in which you can hear the barrage of shots fired at Tsarnaev, who was unarmed.

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DzhokharTsarnaev's Injuries

A few documents were unsealed in the Dzhokhar Tsarnaev case, including the transcript of his advisement at the hospital two days after his capture. The trauma surgeon attending to him told the judge:

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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Tsarnaev Friends Plead Not Guilty at Arraignment

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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Media Wakes Up to Missing Docket Entries in Tsarnaev Case

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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Cop Who Leaked Dzhokhar Tsarnaev Photos Placed on Leave

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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Jahar's World: The Article

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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On the Cover of the Rolling Stone: Jahar's World

(Song here)

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 Goes to Court

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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