Defense attorney Judith Mizner is seeking to change the venue from which Boston Marathon bombing suspect, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, case will be heard. USA Today reports that Mizner addressed a First Circuit Court Of Appeals panel Thursday to request the change of venue, stating that the region was too deeply affected by the bombings to produce an impartial jury in his death penalty case.
The Boston Marathon bombing suspect, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, has been indicted under 30 different counts, 17 of which could get him the death penalty. He is also being tried for killing Sean Collier, an MIT police officer who was part of the shootout between officers and Tsarnaev and his older brother, Tamerlan, who also died in the firefight.
Mizner went on to argue that even if the District Court could pull together enough jurors who believed themselves to be fair and impartial towards the Marathon bomber, it still wouldn’t be ethical to allow them to hear the case because jurors may not fully understand how prejudiced they really are until the evidence is presented to them.
Cement trucks outside Boston’s District Court court are emblazoned with the phrase “Boston Strong,” reaffirming Mizner’s stance that the region feels too personally connected with the events at the 2013 Boston Marathon to be impartial.
District Court Judge O’Tool, who is presiding over the case, feels quite differently. O’Toole has three times rejected the Defense Attorney’s request for a change of venue.
Assistant U.S. Attorney William Weinreb, through the process known as “voir dire,” or personally asking each potential juror if they could be fair or impartial in this case, has dismissed more than 60 candidates, based on their responses.
“The voir dire process is working,” Weinreb said.
Yet during the appeal in First Circuit Court, Appellate Judge Juan Torruella disagreed with the Assistant Attorney, remarking at the number of potential jurors that have already admitted they have strong feelings regarding Tsarnaev’s guilt, with some going so far as to questioning the need for a trial at all.
On paper questionnaires provided to all of the candidates prior to their questioning, several chose to voice their full convictions on the matter.
“Why waste time on this guy? We know he’s guilty.”
“With this case, I think a public execution would be appropriate, preferably by a bomb at the finish line of the Boston Marathon,” were a few of the responses Torruella read from the questionnaires.
As reported by Reuters, Massachusetts state law does not allow for capital punishment, with over 200 jurors that have been questioned in the last few weeks expressing difficulty in sentencing someone to death.
The Inquisitr has written an interesting op-ed piece regarding the case. Do you believe Boston can pull together an impartial jury for the Boston Marathon Bomber’s trial?
[Image courtesy of the L.A. Times]