Verdict Watch: Azamat Tazhayakov Jury Deliberations

From the last question asked by jurors deliberating the fate of Azamat Tazhayakov, it appears they are close to a verdict.

During opening arguments, Tazhayakhov's lawyer asked them to "give the kid a shot." Did they? Stay tuned.

Here's the court's verdict form. It mispells Dzhokhar. Here's the five page verdict form the Government wanted.

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    Not to get too technical on crim procedure stuff (none / 0) (#1)
    by Peter G on Thu Jul 17, 2014 at 03:05:11 PM EST
    but why would the government want a special verdict with respect to overt acts in furtherance of the conspiracy? I can't think of how that would help them. (Unless it was just an attempted trick to get the details of their accusations in front of the jurors again, in the jury room, after closing arguments were over.) The judge is totally correct that specificity as to overt acts is unnecessary.

    It's because there is an issue as to (none / 0) (#2)
    by Jeralyn on Thu Jul 17, 2014 at 07:00:20 PM EST
    whether the backpack is "tangible object" based on a case the Supreme Court recently granted cert on (Yates v. US). From the motion accompanying the instruction:

    The United States respectfully requests that this Honorable Court provide a general verdict form consistent with the charges as alleged in the Superseding Indictment. Although the Supreme Court has recently granted certiorari in Yates v. United States, that fact alone should not be read as an indication that the term "tangible object" should not be given its ordinary meaning. Unlike the Yates case, the instant case involves tangible items (not living creatures) such as a backpack that is capable of holding information and being altered. The government believes the definition of "tangible object" in 18 U.S.C. § 1519 encompasses digital storage devices such as the laptop computer and thumb drive as well as the other the items charged in the indictment, including the backpack,fireworks, and jar of Vaseline.

    If the Court disagrees with the government's position, rather than narrowing Count One
    of the Indictment to exclude any references to the backpack, fireworks, and jar of Vaseline, the
    government respectfully requests that the Court use the attached special verdict form.

    The Government is really reaching with the backpack. In one of their earlier motions, they argued that the backpack had been "altered" within the meaning of the obstruction statute because it was grimy and dirty when they found it at the land mill.

    The defense insists the jury must be unanimous as to overt act in furtherance of the conspiracy and the means of obstruction: concealment, disposal, destruction, etc.

    The U.S. says the jury doesn't need to be unanimous as to the particular object involved in the obstruction but didn't really address whether they must agree on the means.