Judy Clarke Appointed to Represent Dzhokhar Tsarnaev

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev just got the biggest gift of his life -- Judy Clarke has been appointed by the court to represent him along with the Federal Defenders.

Among the lives Judy has helped save: Jared Loughner, Eric Rudolph, Susan Smith, and Ted Kaczinski.

I wrote a week ago that her phone must be ringing off the hook, and I'm so glad she accepted the appointment. There is no one more suited for the task and more capable. More on Judy here and here.

Tsarnaev has become the new poster child for "the worst of the worst." If anyone can gain his trust to be able to provide him an effective defense and save his life, it's Judy.

Judy rarely talks to the media but last week, she was the keynote speaker at a Loyola Law School conference, and spoke a little bit about being a death defense lawyer.

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    Having Judy on his side is a good thing (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by CoralGables on Mon Apr 29, 2013 at 05:35:32 PM EST
    but I would disagree with:
    the new poster child for "the worst of the worst."

    I haven't read of anyone that knows Dzhokhar that has said a bad word about him yet. Friends, parents of friends, teachers, and coaches have all described him as a great kid. And that will make Judy's job a little bit easier.

    I agree. (none / 0) (#5)
    by Peter G on Mon Apr 29, 2013 at 08:13:35 PM EST
    The criminal conduct is atrocious and depraved.  But the accused has many positive factors going for him, in the balance of aggravating circumstances versus mitigation which determines the outcome in a capital case.

    I doubt very much that you know enough (5.00 / 7) (#12)
    by Peter G on Tue Apr 30, 2013 at 06:18:17 PM EST
    about the case to second-guess the decisions that Loughner made in consultation with his (excellent) lawyers.  FWIW, this is the federal insanity defense statute.  Congress "reformed" it in 1984 to reject the standard adopted by federal courts to reflect 20th Century understandings of mental illness, reverting instead to a test developed in England in the 1840s.

    Sometimes (5.00 / 1) (#13)
    by sj on Tue Apr 30, 2013 at 11:45:24 PM EST
    this is a very scary nation.

    Or (none / 0) (#15)
    by jbindc on Thu May 02, 2013 at 12:42:52 PM EST
    It was so soon after the event, that a jury would have ignored any insanity defense and found him guilty and sentenced him to death quickly.

    Or, his legal team, working with the judge and the prosecutors, as well as the doctors, decided that he was fragile and could not withstand a trial.


    Solitary for life...... (none / 0) (#2)
    by trillian on Mon Apr 29, 2013 at 05:39:59 PM EST
    .....under the conditions you illustrated in one of your last posts doesn't sound like much of a gift to me. Am against the death penalty but the alternative in this country sounds almost worse.

    Not much of a gift if confined to a box forever (none / 0) (#3)
    by TycheSD on Mon Apr 29, 2013 at 06:44:45 PM EST
    I'm totally opposed to the death penalty, but what kind of life is it without any hope of ever getting out?

    What kind of life? (none / 0) (#4)
    by NYShooter on Mon Apr 29, 2013 at 06:53:20 PM EST
    A life with at least a hope for a better future, a hope those who died in the carnage will never have.

    and he will do much better (none / 0) (#6)
    by nyjets on Mon Apr 29, 2013 at 09:42:41 PM EST
    He will still be doing better than the people who were seriously injured as well.

    How do we know he will be better off than injured? (none / 0) (#7)
    by TycheSD on Mon Apr 29, 2013 at 10:42:00 PM EST
    I have tremendous sympathy for the people who have had to have amputations or will have to have numerous surgeries to restore function in their limbs.  One minute they're standing there happy and cheering for people, the next they're permanently crippled -- not like a war zone where you might expect to get severely injured. And, some don't have sufficient health insurance to cover the costs of their treatment.

    Tsarnaev sustained injuries as well.  Severe injury to his left ear, 2-inch gash in throat area, large wound in thigh.  I'm not sure how long-term his injuries will be, but his throat wound was so severe that the medical director at the hospital told an Israeli newspaper that he wondered if he would ever be able to talk again.

    I have read or listened to some of these victims talk about their injuries, and several of them, even some with the most serious injuries, including the guy in the wheelchair with the completely white face, have very good attitudes.  I'm amazed.  If they're runners, I wouldn't be surprised to see them running with prosthetics.  Certainly the people in Boston will be cheering for all of them to recover and may even take part in that effort.  They have people in their lives who care and will be there for them.  Not so, Tsarnaev.

    As for the deceased victims' families, I would be interested to hear what punishment they would recommend for Tsarnaev.  I wonder if they believe in redemption.  Three of the families are Catholic, I think.  The Catholic Church doesn't believe in the death penalty.  


    I hear ya... (none / 0) (#8)
    by kdog on Tue Apr 30, 2013 at 06:08:24 AM EST
    not to sound cold or diminish the senseless suffering of the victims, but what good are legs in a lifetime of solitary in a box?  I think I'd rather be a free amputee.

    Until we address the torture that is solitary confinement and abolish or seriously diminish it's use, death truly is more humane, if maintaining our humanity in the face of heinous violent crime is the goal here (I doubt it is, humanity is not a primary societal concern imo).  The only advantage of supermax solitary over death is death can't be reversed on appeal.  But I don't see us changing our ways in this f*cked up kid's lifetime, nor do I see any possible way he gets out on appeal, or parole or pardon in 50 years.  

    Pains me to say, but if the only choices are death or life in a box...death is more humane.  A third choice would be nice.  


    for his crimes, assuming they are proven in court (none / 0) (#9)
    by nyjets on Tue Apr 30, 2013 at 07:14:18 AM EST
    For his crimes, assuming they are proven in a court of law, there is no 3rd choice. Either death or life in prison.

    Understood... (none / 0) (#10)
    by kdog on Tue Apr 30, 2013 at 08:05:14 AM EST
    I was thinking it would be nice if we came up with a third way to deal with those convicted of the most heinous crimes...one that doesn't reflect so poorly on us as a people...as a species.