April 15, 2013 is a date that will never fade from the memory of a Bostonian. The day began as a celebration of strength, speed, and determination, and without warning became a day of pain, injury, and sorrow. Two pressure cooker bombs exploded near the Boston Marathon finish line on Boylston Street a mere twelve seconds apart. The bombs left three dead and 264 injured. A short four days later on April 19, 2013, two young men were running for their lives. The men were identified as the Tsarnaev brothers, Dzhokhar and Tamerlan. Thousands of law enforcement officers began the manhunt for the two fugitives, which eventually resulted in the death of Tamerlan and the arrest of Dzhokhar from a boat parked in a Watertown driveway. The legal battle to convict Dzhokhar began.
Dzhokhar has alleged from the onset, during the interrogation at the hospital, that his brother was the brains behind the bombs. Before Dzhokhar was even released from the hospital he was indicted on 30 separate charges in relation to domestic terrorism. Dzhokhar has pled guilty to each of the charges. Many United States Senators pushed for Dzhokhar, a 19-year-old United States citizen, to be charged as an enemy combatant rather than a criminal; this label would have potentially prevented him from obtaining any legal counsel. Others, legal scholars included, argued that such a move was not only illegal but also unconstitutional. Ultimately, the government opted to try him in federal criminal court and not as an enemy combatant. Dzhokhar was questioned for about 16 hours before he was read his Miranda rights; law enforcement officials invoked the public safety exception arguing that this was an ongoing emergency. On April 22, 2013 the prosecution brought formal criminal charges against the younger brother in the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts. The charges have the potential to lead to a sentence of life imprisonment or the death penalty.
The trial for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was scheduled to begin on November 3, 2014. The trial was postponed when the defense made a motion for a change of venue. The motion essentially argued that there was far too much prejudice against Dzhokhar in Massachusetts for him to receive the constitutional protection of a fair trial. Late on Friday a request to move the trial outside of Massachusetts was filed by Dzhokhars attorneys. Whether a change of venue is required here is a question of exceptional importance, the lawyers stated in their appeal to the bench. A three-judge bench for the U.S. Court of Appeals in Boston has agreed to hold a hearing on the request; however, two of the three members have already voiced an opposition to moving the trial. For this reason, the attorneys have requested that the all six judges hear the argument. A hearing by all members of this court will best assure public confidence in the fairness of the proceedings, argued one of Dzhokhars defense attorneys.
At Brownstone Law we support the importance of a fair trial for all, no matter how despicable their actions may be. We hope all involved find peace and closure.
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