Dzhokhar Tsarnaev Appears in Court

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, accused of committing the Boston Marathan bombing, was in court this morning. Reporters in the courtroom are live-tweeting. Almost all say he appeared much more alert, interested and engaged in the proceedings than at his prior appearance. He smiled when talking to his attorney Judy Clarke.

He wore slacks and a sweater, not an orange jumpsuit. He has a short beard and his hair is longer than at his last appearance.

As I wrote Monday, the Government asked for him to appear so that he could be quizzed about whether he is satisfied with his counsel, in case he is convicted and claims differently in an appeal. Today Dzhokhar (aka Jahar) assured the court he was satisfied with his attorneys, answering "Very much so." (One reporter tweeted he answered "Pretty much" and another said he responded "Yes Sir." Are they attending the same proceeding?)

One reporter said the Judge ruled the witness lists will be sealed until the jury is seated. Another said the judge said he will release the list on Dec. 28. [More...]

There was discussion about what the jury would hear about Jahar and his life, and the influence of his brother Tamerlan. The Judge said he will issue a "decorum order" for those attending proceedings. He said he is concerned about leaks by law enforcement to the media, but made no ruling on the issue. The hearing ended after 25 minutes.

This is the last conference before jury selection which is scheduled to begin in early January. One reporter said the defense told the Judge today they would be making another motion to continue the trial. (Another said a motion to move the trial is still pending.)

The reporters' live-tweeting is surprisingly contradictory, even as to what was said. It would be interesting to read the transcript so we know which ones are worth following during the trial.

A woman in the courtroom began yelling in Russian and was ushered out. She is the mother-in-law of Ibragim Todashev, killed by FBI agents in Florida.

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  • Display: Sort:
    Jury Selection (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by CST on Thu Dec 18, 2014 at 03:28:17 PM EST
    This will be an interesting one.  I wonder about jury selection and finding an impartial jury.  That's not to say that they should move the trial, I actually don't think that the city of Boston residents are any less likely to be "impartial" than anyone else - just that that's going to be a hard group of people to find anywhere.

    What Will the Jury Decide? (none / 0) (#2)
    by RickyJim on Thu Dec 18, 2014 at 05:54:19 PM EST
    Guilt vs Innosence or Penalty or both?

    Both (none / 0) (#3)
    by Peter G on Thu Dec 18, 2014 at 07:48:57 PM EST
    In a federal death penalty case, as in most states, both decisions are for the jury.  Unless the defendant makes a deal with the prosecution to plead guilty in exchange for a life sentence, which is a relatively common outcome in capital cases where there is no real defense on the guilty-or-not question.

    as to the relaibility of tweeters (none / 0) (#4)
    by Reconstructionist on Fri Dec 19, 2014 at 08:50:15 AM EST
    There are reasons why:

     Court reporters have to be trained and certified.

     Courtroom court reporters are generally among the very best at their jobs.

     They are situated at the prime "listening post" in the room.

      Their job is to do one thing an one thing only- accurately transcribe the proceeding. They don't pay attention to the "meaning" or "import" of the words being spoken they focus solely on getting them right.

     An untrained person sitting in the gallery attempting to both "transcribe" the words and at the same time trying to contextualize and analyze the meaning of what is going on is unlikely to do a good job at either.


    i'm not so sure (none / 0) (#5)
    by Dadler on Fri Dec 19, 2014 at 10:02:09 AM EST
    court reporters are transcribing words and nothing else. but a person can be saying one thing while their body language and tone can be saying quite another, and the disconnect between them often is the determining factor for a jury in deciding whether a witness is credible or not. i guess i'm actually taking the opposite position. i think it would be much better for a jury to able to watch and hear a witnesses testimony as it is given, as well as reading the dialogue text of the testimony. imo, this should be kind of axiomatic in this day and age. with technology as it is, why SHOULDN'T a jury be able to watch and re-watch a witnesses video-recorded testimony if they feel they need to. the limitation to transcript, and again this seems axiomatic to me, makes no rational sense aside from legal tradition.

    Cognitive biases get in the way. (none / 0) (#6)
    by Mr Natural on Fri Dec 19, 2014 at 10:36:54 AM EST