Boston Herald: Tsarnaev penalty phase set for April 21

Boston Herald: Tsarnaev penalty phase set for April 21

Analysts laud post-marathon resumption

Saturday, April 11, 2015
By: Bob McGovern, Owen Boss

The death penalty phase in the case against convicted marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev will begin April 21 - the day after the Boston Marathon, in what some court watchers are calling a much-needed breather.

The same jury that found the jihadist guilty on all 30 counts in connection with the April 15, 2013, twin bombings on Boylston Street and the lethal aftermath will now hear arguments for and against sentencing the 21-year-old to death.

The nearly two-week break is a good thing for prosecutors, defense attorneys and jurors, who likely need time to recover from the gruesome images and testimony they were subjected to, legal experts say.

"I think it's a wise decision," said Robert Bloom, a law professor at Boston College. "I think the jury, who may be somewhat emotionally distraught after the testimony came out during the trial, need time to recover."

Brad Bailey, a veteran defense attorney and former prosecutor, agreed.

"It's probably, for everyone, a good idea to recalibrate, take a breath and reorient themselves," he said. "Certainly, with the decision of the magnitude they're about to make, this is good for the jury. It's important that passions aren't still running over and aren't running as high as they may have been after the verdict came down."

The fact that the penalty phase comes after this year's Boston Marathon also takes some of the spotlight off the trial. It could have been "problematic" if the proceedings started next week and ran into and through the pomp and circumstance of the marathon, Bloom said.

"Having the penalty portion just before the marathon and then possibly even the day of the marathon would be somewhat problematic," he said. "If I were the defense, I would prefer it the day after rather than the upcoming period."

To put Tsarnaev to death - a sentence federal Judge George A. O'Toole Jr. cannot overturn - the jury's decision must be unanimous. A split vote would default punishment to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Lead defense attorney Judy Clarke has sought to portray the bomber's older brother, Tamerlan, as the instigator and the more radicalized of the two. Tamerlan Tsarnaev was killed in the firefight with police April 19, 2013.

The 18 jurors, of which a dozen will deliberate death or life in prison, are being called back to court this coming Tuesday for "brief instructions" on scheduling and "other logistical matters," the judge added.

Original article available in full at Boston Herald.

Saturday, April 11, 2015
By: Bob McGovern, Owen Boss

The death penalty phase in the case against convicted marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev will begin April 21 - the day after the Boston Marathon, in what some court watchers are calling a much-needed breather.

The same jury that found the jihadist guilty on all 30 counts in connection with the April 15, 2013, twin bombings on Boylston Street and the lethal aftermath will now hear arguments for and against sentencing the 21-year-old to death.

The nearly two-week break is a good thing for prosecutors, defense attorneys and jurors, who likely need time to recover from the gruesome images and testimony they were subjected to, legal experts say.

"I think it's a wise decision," said Robert Bloom, a law professor at Boston College. "I think the jury, who may be somewhat emotionally distraught after the testimony came out during the trial, need time to recover."

Brad Bailey, a veteran defense attorney and former prosecutor, agreed.

"It's probably, for everyone, a good idea to recalibrate, take a breath and reorient themselves," he said. "Certainly, with the decision of the magnitude they're about to make, this is good for the jury. It's important that passions aren't still running over and aren't running as high as they may have been after the verdict came down."

The fact that the penalty phase comes after this year's Boston Marathon also takes some of the spotlight off the trial. It could have been "problematic" if the proceedings started next week and ran into and through the pomp and circumstance of the marathon, Bloom said.

"Having the penalty portion just before the marathon and then possibly even the day of the marathon would be somewhat problematic," he said. "If I were the defense, I would prefer it the day after rather than the upcoming period."

To put Tsarnaev to death - a sentence federal Judge George A. O'Toole Jr. cannot overturn - the jury's decision must be unanimous. A split vote would default punishment to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Lead defense attorney Judy Clarke has sought to portray the bomber's older brother, Tamerlan, as the instigator and the more radicalized of the two. Tamerlan Tsarnaev was killed in the firefight with police April 19, 2013.

The 18 jurors, of which a dozen will deliberate death or life in prison, are being called back to court this coming Tuesday for "brief instructions" on scheduling and "other logistical matters," the judge added.

Original article available in full at Boston Herald.

The death penalty phase in the case against convicted marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev will begin April 21 - the day after the Boston Marathon, in what some court watchers are calling a much-needed breather.

The same jury that found the jihadist guilty on all 30 counts in connection with the April 15, 2013, twin bombings on Boylston Street and the lethal aftermath will now hear arguments for and against sentencing the 21-year-old to death.

The nearly two-week break is a good thing for prosecutors, defense attorneys and jurors, who likely need time to recover from the gruesome images and testimony they were subjected to, legal experts say.

"I think it's a wise decision," said Robert Bloom, a law professor at Boston College. "I think the jury, who may be somewhat emotionally distraught after the testimony came out during the trial, need time to recover."

Brad Bailey, a veteran defense attorney and former prosecutor, agreed.

"It's probably, for everyone, a good idea to recalibrate, take a breath and reorient themselves," he said. "Certainly, with the decision of the magnitude they're about to make, this is good for the jury. It's important that passions aren't still running over and aren't running as high as they may have been after the verdict came down."

The fact that the penalty phase comes after this year's Boston Marathon also takes some of the spotlight off the trial. It could have been "problematic" if the proceedings started next week and ran into and through the pomp and circumstance of the marathon, Bloom said.

"Having the penalty portion just before the marathon and then possibly even the day of the marathon would be somewhat problematic," he said. "If I were the defense, I would prefer it the day after rather than the upcoming period."

To put Tsarnaev to death - a sentence federal Judge George A. O'Toole Jr. cannot overturn - the jury's decision must be unanimous. A split vote would default punishment to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Lead defense attorney Judy Clarke has sought to portray the bomber's older brother, Tamerlan, as the instigator and the more radicalized of the two. Tamerlan Tsarnaev was killed in the firefight with police April 19, 2013.

The 18 jurors, of which a dozen will deliberate death or life in prison, are being called back to court this coming Tuesday for "brief instructions" on scheduling and "other logistical matters," the judge added.

Original article available in full at Boston Herald.