A federal magistrate judge appointed a prominent California-based defense attorney with death penalty experience to represent alleged Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.
Attorney Judy Clarke has represented other high-profile defendants including Unabomber Ted Kaczynski, Atlanta Olympic park bomber Eric Rudolph and most recently Tucson shooter Jared Loughner.
"In light of the circumstances of this case, the defendant requires an attorney with more background, knowledge and experience in federal death penalty cases than that possessed by current counsel," Magistrate Judge Marianne Bowler wrote in her ruling released Monday afternoon. "Appointment of Attorney Clarke is therefore justified to provide the defendant with adequate and proper representation. Attorney Clarke is willing to serve as counsel."
A New York Times profile of Clarke during the Loughner trial called her "a master strategist in death penalty cases." She is known to save defendants - including Kaczynski, Rudolph and Loughner - from the death penalty in exchange for a life sentence.
Tsarnaev is currently recovering in a federal medical facility at Fort Devens. He has been charged in a federal criminal complaint with using a weapon of mass destruction and malicious destruction of property resulting in death.
Tsarnaev had an initial appearance before Bowler from his hospital bed at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center last week. He is currently represented by three federal public defenders.
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