Finally, after three requests to move the Boston Marathon trial, a federal appeals court will be hearing arguments Thursday that may determine if the trial will be moved out of Boston. The concern is, will Dzhokhar Tsarnaev get a fair trial in Boston?
Judge George A. O’Toole has been ‘interviewing’ the 1,300 people who filled out questionnaires to become jurors. This process has been taking several weeks of time. Judge O’Toole has interviewed 183 possible jurors since January 15 until Thursday.
It has not been announced how many acceptable jurors have been found for the Boston Marathon trial. Judge O’Toole has also denied moving the Boston Marathon trial three separate times. He even denied the request to postpone jury selection because the news media has been so focused on the terrorist attacks in France that are very similar to the attack at the Boston Marathon. Both bombings involved two brothers and are viewed as homegrown terrorists.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev pleaded not guilty to all 30 counts against him. 17 of those counts carry the death penalty. Tsarnaev is being charged with the explosions that happened near the Boston Marathon finish line April 15, 2013. The bombs killed three people and injured over 260 other people. However, jury selection for the Boston Marathon Trial has been tedious and likely fruitless.
Out of the 1,300 questionnaires Judge O’Toole collected, 68 percent believe already that Tsarnaev is guilty and 69 percent of the questionnaires have a connection to the case. Jurors also have to be open to Tsarnaev receiving the death penalty. Massachusetts does not have capital punishment in their laws. Many juror prospects are vehemently opposed to the death penalty. The Boston Marathon Trial cannot be held so close to the incident.
It is highly likely that the prosecution will argue that the trial should stay with Judge O’toole in Boston, because he believes that he is in the best position to find a fair jury. There is also a very strong belief that Boston deserves to have this very personal trial in their jurisdiction. The defense will be standing by its statement that Tsarnaev will not have a fair trial in Boston.
One potential juror broke down as she told of the eight year old boy whom she met during a neighborhood clean-up event. He died in the explosion. Then she talked about having to find runners from her organization. The woman was understandably emotional and distressed. She was excused by the judge and the search for impartial jurors for the Boston Marathon Trial continues.
After the bombing, Tsarnaev tried to return to life as usual. He played Playstation with a friend and worked out at the gym. According to close friends, Tsarnaev was laid-back, funny, liked parties and was extremely fond of marijuana. Even his own roommate was shocked that Tsarnaev was one of the bombers. He did not provoke violence in any form.
However, there were some signs that something was changing in Tsarnaev. He tweeted about having a ghastly dream about murder and destruction. At the same time he would say cryptic things about putting plans to action and the “righteousness of an unspoken cause”. His wrestling coach even talked about how even-tempered Tsarnaev was. If he lost, he just shrugged it off. All season, he did not get upset over a loss.
He encouraged his teammates to not give up, even physically pushing them to keep up the pace. He was a strong athlete who believed in others. They made him captain of the wrestling team, which was well deserved. He attended daily four-hour practices, weekend trips at sunrise for meets, kept good grades and modeled good sportsmanship and temperament.
This is the Dzhokhar Tsarnaev nobody will get to know if his trial remains in Boston. Friday, Judge O’Toole had only interviewed 14 possible jurors. There have been questions about a variety of issues brought up by potential jurors. Some have said they could not be impartial because they believed Tsarnaev to be guilty, others were opposed to the death penalty so would not be able to be on the jury panel. The Boston Marathon Trial needs to be moved a venue that is more partial and observes the death penalty.
Opinion By Jeanette Smith
Photo courtesy of John Hoey – License
Photo courtesy of DebatParllnLibrary – License