Calming the sea of emotions in the Boston Marathon bombing case is a monumental task when all one has to do to stir up sympathy and renew outrage is wave a prosthetic limb.
Consider the following accounts of an exchange that actually made it into a court document filed not by the prosecution as one would expect, but rather by the defense. It illustrates how clearly attorneys for the accused laid the groundwork to throw their naïve young client under the bus long before the trial began:
Shortly before the beginning of the final pretrial conference in his case on December 18, 2014, in the immediate vicinity of the courthouse, a group of demonstrators claiming to be “supporters” of the defendant were involved in a confrontation with members of the public, including a man who was severely injured by a bomb at the Boston Marathon on April 15, 2013. The demonstrators held signs and shouted statements to the effect, among other things, that the bombing and the survivors’ injuries were staged. Two news reports described the scene as follows:
His supporters, who claim Tsarnaev was set up and is actually innocent, massed outside the court building armed with provocative signs. Two women caught the eye of marathon bombing survivor Marc Fucarile, who limped by with a cane needed after he lost his right leg in the carnage.
“That’s trickery?” Fucarile fumed as he lifted his prosthetic leg to show the damage Tsarnaev is accused of doing to scores of innocents.
– Bev Ford, New York Daily News
Outside the courthouse, a man who lost his right leg in the bombings had a testy exchange with a small group of protesters holding signs supporting Tsarnaev and questioning whether authorities have proof that he is responsible for the bombings.
Marc Fucarile held up his prosthetic leg and moved it back and forth toward the demonstrators, saying: “That’s proof right there.”
– Associated Press, Boston Herald
The MOTION TO PROTECT DEFENDANT FROM PREJUDICIAL EFFECTS OF “SUPPORTERS” DEMONSTRATIONS AT COURTHOUSE goes on to add that many demonstrators advocate various conspiracy theories concerning the Marathon bombing, including that the resulting deaths and injuries have been somehow faked as a part of a government plot.
The defense continues, saying that the presence of these “supporters” poses a grave threat to the fairness of the defendant’s trial.
Taking a Closer Look
Bev Ford’s New York Daily News account is flamboyant and inflammatory in its language:
– his supporters massed outside (makes it sound like they are many in number)
– armed with provocative signs
– supporters claim Tsarnaev was set up & is actually innocent
– Fucarile says “That’s trickery?” lifting his prosthetic leg to show the damage Tsarnaev is accused of doing to scores of innocents
Now contrast that account with this from the Associated Press:
– a small group of supporters
– holding signs
– supporting Tsarnaev & questioning whether authorities have proof that he is responsible for the bombing
– Fucarile holds up his prosthetic leg and says “That’s proof right there.”
Actually, no it isn’t. The prosthetic leg is proof that Marc Fucarile has a severe injury and he is, understandably, mad as hell about it. It is not proof that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev caused him to sustain that injury.
If Judy Clarke had not tipped her hand, revealing her intention to betray her own client and cooperate to ensure a conviction by saying “It was him” in her opening statement, I would remain bewildered as to why lawyers supposedly “for” the accused would file a motion objecting to the presence of supporters who, according to both media accounts “question whether authorities have proof Tsarnaev is responsible for the bombing, believing that he was set up and is actually innocent.”
It is also of interest to note that the defense motion complains that some “supporters” believe the event and injuries to be faked while the media accounts they use to further their argument do not mention this.
If I had been Dzhokhar’s attorney, considering the amount of prejudicial media coverage against my client, I would have welcomed the presence of these people, whether I agreed with some of their more far-out theories or not.
The Fucarile exchange actually set the stage for the emotional carnage that was soon to pass for testimony in the courtroom, leading to a conviction and death sentence for Dzhokhar.
How did this jury return a guilty verdict on all counts and a death sentence in the Boston Marathon bombing case?
Consider the following:
– The complete lack of forensic evidence linking Dzhokhar to the crimes
– The complete lack of credible testimony, even from so-called “experts”
– Massachusetts residents overwhelmingly opposed the death penalty for Tsarnaev if convicted; 63% believed he should be spared the death penalty if convicted according to a Boston Globe poll
– Three jurors agreed these two tremendously powerful mitigating factors to be true yet still voted for guilt and death: 1) Dzhokhar’s brother Tamerlan planned, led and directed the Marathon bombing and 2) Dzhokhar would not have committed the crimes but for his older brother
– Three jurors also agreed these two very important mitigating factors were true yet still voted for guilt and death: 1) Dzhokhar acted under the influence of his older brother 2) Whatever the reason, Dzhokhar was particularly susceptible to his older brother’s influence
How has the judge in this case succeeded in keeping the jurors names and addresses a secret to this day?
We in Florida have twice been called upon to act with restraint when names of jurors were released after emotionally-charged, high-profile murder trials where public outrage at the verdict was palpable to say the least. The jurors who let Casey Anthony go free after murdering her own child are still among us. And those who chose not to convict George Zimmerman for the murder of Trayvon Martin are also alive and well.
And unlike George Zimmerman and Casey Anthony, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was convicted and sentenced to death. One can only conclude then that Judge O’Toole is promoting fear of backlash from those, like me, who continue to support Dzhokhar and still believe in his innocence.
That’s not only insulting but insane and totally without merit.
Is it possible the answer to both these questions lies in something that happened when Judge O’Toole met individually in camera (meaning privately in chambers) with each juror? He says, on page 14 of document 1620, that he did this to ensure each juror had been careful to obey his instructions to avoid media coverage of the trial after already questioning them collectively.
That sounded odd to me and got me thinking…
Was a promise of a guilty verdict and death sentence made in exchange for a promise of juror anonymity in those private interviews with the judge before the case went to deliberations in the guilt phase?
Yesterday we celebrated a federal holiday, remembering Martin Luther King Jr., a truly great man. In his most famous speech he said:
“I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”
Character… if Judge O’Toole were to be judged by the content of his as revealed by his actions before, during and after the trial, I shudder to think what we would find.
Like Dr. King, the Tsarnaevs had dreams for their four children as well. What, of those dreams, is still possible has yet to be seen.
I also have a dream for one of them. My dream for Dzhokhar is rooted in my faith in a heavenly Father about Whom the Bible says it is impossible for Him to lie.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans for good and not for evil, plans to give you a future and a hope that will not be cut off.” Jeremiah 29:11