Freedom of speech is alive and well in America. What this means, for the purpose of this blog post, is that Ty Doyle, a self-described “lawyer with an opinion on everything” is free to answer a question on Quora – “What are the chances that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s appeal against the death penalty will be successful?” and I am free to disagree with him.
So here goes.
Mr. Doyle backs up his two-word answer: “Pretty slim” by citing the common list of reasons people have been able to successfully appeal death penalty sentences:
1. New evidence suggesting actual innocence.
2. Prosecution failed to provide key evidence for consideration by defense.
3. Judge gave the jury an improper instruction in considering guilt/innocence or sentencing.
4. Judge made a serious error regarding evidence that was admitted/deemed inadmissible.
5. Prosecution engaged in constitutionally impermissible conduct during trial.
6. There was misconduct related to the seating of the jury or a juror committed misconduct during the trial.
7. Defendant received ineffective assistance from his own lawyers.
When I read that list, remembering Mr. Doyle had already said the chances Dzhokhar could successfully appeal his sentence were pretty slim, I was incredulous. My thought, as I read the list again was “Is this a taunt?” Is he trying to gaslight those of us who followed this trial day after day?
This list of reasons reads, to me, like an exact account of the serious issues that did, in fact, happen with this trial. And yet he says Dzhokhar’s chances are “pretty slim?”
And just as crazy are the following statements he goes on to make:
“There is no legitimate question that Tsarnaev is guilty.”
“The evidence collected against Tsarnaev is overwhelming.”
“He will not be able to argue credibly that his lawyers did not do a sufficient job in presenting their defense at trial because his counsel was Judy Clarke, one of the most well-known and high-profile criminal defense attorneys in the country when it comes to death penalty cases.”
I know what you’re thinking after reading that last one so let’s talk about it. I’ll begin by presenting what I found regarding the role of a judge. I’m sure I don’t need to tell you why that’s my next topic. You already know.
The Role of the Judge:
Most important of all, judges are impartial decision-makers in the pursuit of justice.
Many criminal cases are heard by a judge sitting without a jury. The judge is the “trier of fact,” deciding whether the evidence is credible and which witnesses are telling the truth. Then the judge applies the law to these facts to determine whether there is proof beyond a reasonable doubt that the suspect is guilty.
If a jury hears the case, the jurors become the “triers of fact” and assess the evidence while the judge takes on the role of legal advisor, explaining the law to the jurors.
This last description does not sound even remotely like the behavior exhibited by Judge O’Toole in this case. Beginning with jury selection, O’Toole tightly controlled the proceedings, demonstrated clearly held bias against the accused and worked in tandem with the prosecution to ensure a pre-determined guilty verdict. During sentencing, the tiger did not change its stripes.
This case was basically tried in the judge’s chambers, the defense was hog-tied, told over and over what they could and could not say, what they could and could not introduce as evidence. Judge O’Toole consistently ruled in favor of the prosecution. Copies of transcripts prove this is so. In this way, the judge, not the jury, became the trier of fact in the Boston Marathon bombing.
Mr. Doyle doesn’t even mention the change of venue issue in his answer, nor does he address the fact that Dzhokhar was essentially convicted without evidence. He probably left that last issue out since he believes there is an overwhelming amount of evidence that has been collected against Dzhokhar. If that is so, I’d sure like to know where and what it is and why it never made it to the trial.
I mean hell, we don’t even know who or where the bombs were made.
After I finished reading the article, I was clearly left wondering just what type of law this attorney practices. I found this information about Ty Doyle on Linkedin:
My practice focuses on state and federal litigation with a particular emphasis on commercial and intellectual property/trade secret disputes in the oil and gas, financial services and healthcare industries. Licensed in Texas, New York, California and the District of Columbia.
Maybe that explains it.
I’d love to ask him if he’s color-blind.