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The Government reached a new low in the Dzhokhar Tsarnaev trial this week, in my opinion. At a hearing outside the presence of the jury, AUSA William Weinreib complained about the security costs and FBI time spent ensuring the safety of five of Tsarnaev's relatives who traveled here from Russia to testify for him. They threatened to the FBI will take them back to Russia if the defense doesn't call them by Friday.
“It’s an enormous expense and distraction for the agency, and that’s just part of the expense that the government has endured,” federal prosecutor William Weinreb said during a closed-door meeting Monday with the defense and Judge George O’Toole, according to transcripts shown on the court's public terminal.
The Sixth Amendment compulsory process clause guarantees defendants the right to have witnesses brought to trial to testify for the defense: [More...]
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Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's defense team began making the case for life instead of death today. From David Bruck's opening statement: (Taken from WBZ reporter Jim Armstrong's live tweets in court.) [More...]
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Here's the 36 second video of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev that was played to the jury. I don't see any anger, just boredom. Who wouldn't be bored sitting alone in a holding cell all day?
What a big to-do about nothing. The reporter who said his face showed huge anger should cover something other than criminal trials.
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The Government gave its opening statement today in the death penalty trial of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. Live updates are here. At the end of her opening, the prosecutor giving the opening displayed a screengrab of a security camera video of Tsarnaev in his cell raising his middle finger to the camera. It hasn't been admitted into evidence, so there isn't a copy, but the media reports it was taken a year ago and shows his face was scarred and he was very angry.
The defense deferred their opening until the start of their case. Several witnesses testified as to their injuries in graphic detail. Victim impact testimony in these cases is always horrific. Over defense objection, the judge admitted a video of one victim on the ground, with constant blood curdling screams. [More...]
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Today is the 20th anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing, for which Timothy McVeigh was executed in June, 2001.
On April 19, 1995, President Clinton said during his first national address [More...]
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The family of Martin Richards, the youngest victim killed in the Boston Marathon bombings, has written a public request asking the Government to withdraw its request for the death penalty.
"We understand all too well the heinousness and brutality of the crimes committed. We were there. We lived it.... "The defendant murdered our 8-year-old son, maimed our 7-year-old daughter, and stole part of our soul. We know that the government has its reasons for seeking the death penalty, but the continued pursuit of that punishment could bring years of appeals and prolong reliving the most painful day of our lives."
The Richards want Tsarnaev to accept a sentence of life without parole and waive his right to future appeals.
AUSA Carmen Ortiz responded with a non-answer.
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The penalty phase of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's trial doesn't begin until April 21. In the meantime, here's a photo I came across yesterday.
I think it effectively communicates more than the difference in age between the brothers. Tamerlan is just so dominant in the photo. Even the way he has his arm around Jahar seems controlling to me. Looking at it, it is hard to see how, even years later, Jahar would be his "equal partner" in anything.
Also, here's a letter Dzhokhar submitted to UMass Dartmouth in January, 2013 in an application to have his financial aid reinstated: [More....]
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The jury found Dzhokhar Tsarnaev guilty on all 30 counts today.
The Boston Globe, in an editorial, urges a life sentence.
For jurors who believe execution should be reserved for the worst criminals, the lawyers laid out a clear path to conclude Dzhokhar wasn’t even the worst of the Tsarnaevs.
....Tsarnaev was 19 at the time of the bombing; he was apparently a heavy drug user; he had no prior criminal record. By themselves, none of these would seem like a particularly good reason to spare him, but taken as a whole, and alongside evidence of his brother’s dominant role, they should plant seeds of doubt.
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The alternates in the Boston Marathon Bombing trial of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev were disclosed today after closing arguments. The 12 jurors deciding his fate include 7 women and 5 men.
In closings today, the Government said Jahar and Tamerlan were partners and Jahar wanted to punish America. Reporter Jim Armstrong of WBZ in Boston has a lot of quotes from both side's closings on his twitter feed here.
Judy Clarke agreed Jahar committed the bombings, but focused on the different roles of the brothers. [More...]
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They began studying how to make a bomb with an FBI agent in tow in an undercover capacity. He began meeting with one of them in 2013, and then with both of them in 2014, when the women were roommates. He met with them repeatedly, took them to Home Depot to get ingredients that could be useful in a bomb, printed them out copies of bomb making articles from AQAP's Inspire Magazine, as well as a copy of the Anarchist's Cookbook, and spent hours with them as they "studied" the materials.
The women told the agent they didn't know that they ever would use this knowledge, they just wanted to be prepared because the U.S. was at war with Muslims, and if it became time to set off a bomb, they didn't want it to fail to go off, as had happened to the Times Square bomber. Nor did they want to be suicide bombers. Nor were they in any hurry. [More...]
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Vanity Fair has an excellent new profile of Judy Clarke. My favorite line, and it is not an exaggeration:
Her record defending the indefensible speaks for itself. Among those who want capital punishment abolished in this country, Judy Clarke is the most effective champion in history.
A basic premise:
No person should be defined “by the worst moment, or worst day” of his life.
How she does it: [More...]
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The Government ended its case in the Boston Marathon bombing trial of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev with gory photos of the autopsy of child victim Martin Richards. At least three jurors cried, according to reporters tweeting from the courtroom.
An FBI photographer testified earlier this morning about where Tsarnaev was standing in relation to Richards. The Government tried to make the argument that Tsarnaev deliberately targeted the 8 year old. On cross, the defense showed other photos that had two people standing between Jahar and the boy, and pointed out Jahar walked away right after the first bomb went off, while the Richards family stayed where they were.
The witness used a diagram that, at the direction of the government, didn't depict the other people standing between Jahar and Richards. On Cross: [More...]
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Dun Meng, the Chinese national whose Mercedes was carjacked by Tamerlan Tsarnaev, testified today about his ordeal. He said Tamerlan was alone when he carjacked him, threatened him with a gun and then had him drive around for 20 to 30 minutes before they picked up Jahar.
During cross-examination by the defense, Meng acknowledged that Tamerlan was the one who jumped in his car and threatened him with a gun. He said Dzhokhar barely spoke to him, except to ask if the sound system in his car would work with his iPhone.
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In the Dzhokhar Tsarnaev trial today, defense attorney Miriam Conrad reportedly shredded the testimony of FBI agent David Kimball about tweeting during cross-examination. Yesterday, Kimball testifed to a second twitter account Dzhokhar had called Ghuraba and read tweets from it as well as from his first account. The goal was to make Dzkhokhar seem like a "radicalized killer."
That fell apart today. Among other things, Kimball misidentified a mosque in Grozny as Mecca. He didn't know that many of the tweets were rap song lyrics or were quotes from Comedy Central and other shows. He didn't know the meaning of many slang words. (He guessed "mad cooked" meant crazy. It means high.) He admitted he hadn't even looked up the tweets he was testifying about. He just went with what prosecutors gave him. [More...]
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"We meet in the most tragic of circumstances."
The circumstances that bring us here today still are difficult to grasp, are incomprehensible, are inexcusable.
For the next several weeks we are all going to come face to face with unbearable grief. We're going to see it, feel it, and agonize with every witness
"We will not sidestep Tsarnaev's responsibility for his actions" [More...]
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