Reps for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev say prison restrictions are too harsh

Alleged Boston Marathon bomber Dzokhar Tsarnaev hopes to lessen restrictions he faces in prison. (Credit: FBI/Reuters)
Alleged Boston Marathon bomber Dzokhar Tsarnaev hopes to lessen restrictions he faces in prison. (Credit: FBI/Reuters)

Lawyers for alleged Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 20, have asked a judge to lift certain prison restrictions, claiming they are too severe and prevent him from properly preparing for trial.

A motion filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Boston claims that the “Special Administrative Measures,” which bar him from speaking with other inmates or the outside world unless it is directly related to his defense, are too harsh.

The measures were imposed to keep the terror suspect from inciting or triggering other attacks.

“The restrictions on Mr. Tsarnaev leave him in nearly total isolation,” defense attorneys said in the motion. “He is confined to his cell except for legal visits and very limited access to a small outdoor enclosure, on weekdays, weather permitting. The purported basis for these conditions lies in the crimes he is alleged to have committed prior to arrest, not any behavior during his confinement.”

Additional restrictions Tsarnaev faces include no cellmate, no television or radio, and no praying with other inmates.

“The negative effects of isolation on detainees are well-documented. Indeed, the United Nations identifies long-term solitary confinement as a form of torture,” the motion continues.

Tsarnaev is facing charges for using a weapon of mass destruction, bombing a place of public use, carjacking, conspiracy and firearms violations that could bring the death penalty. He has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

According to James Alan Fox, Ph.D. a professor of Law and Public Policy at Northeastern University, solitary confinement can have detrimental effects on a prisoner’s psychological state, but in cases of high-profile criminals, it is often a necessary safety precaution.

“The effects are severe in terms of sensory deprivation. It is a fact that it sometimes leads to psychological breakdowns, if not suicide,” said Fox. “But we don’t incarcerate people so that others will attack them. We have a moral obligation to protect him from other inmates.”

“People may silently, or sometimes not so silently, root for certain inmates to be injured by others or by their own hand. Obviously that’s not appropriate for society. Deprivation of liberty is the punishment, not violence,” he said.

It’s unlikely that the restrictions on Tsarnaev would prevent him from being fit to stand trial, according to Fox.

“All that really means is you’re able to understand what’s going on around you, and assist your council in your defense,” he said. “It doesn’t have to mean that you’re psychologically well.”

Follow Morgan Rousseau on Twitter: @MetroMorgan
Follow Metro Boston on Twitter: @MetroBOS



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Newest java joint in bastion of hipness is…

Little may represent the change the neighborhood is undergoing right now like the arrival of the first Starbucks. The chain which is ubiquitous in Manhattan, opened a Williamsburg store at…

National

Black and white are the new orange at…

By Brendan O'Brien(Reuters) - Black and white are the new orange in a Michigan county where the sheriff has made a wardrobe change for jail…

National

Traps set after reports of giant snake on…

New Jersey animal control workers have set traps to snare a reported 20-foot-long serpent slithering through the waters of Lake Hopatcong.

Local

NYPD: Stroller carrying 2-year-old rolls onto Queens subway…

A 2-year-old girl in a stroller rolled onto subway tracks in Queens on Monday morning, police said.

Entertainment

‘The Leftovers’ recap: Season 1, Episode 4, ‘B.J.…

Last week’s episode of “The Leftovers” was apparently a fluke, because this week’s episode returns to focusing on the Garveys and it is so boring.…

Movies

Interview: Luc Besson says 'Lucy' is very different…

Filmmaker Luc Besson talks about his new film "Lucy," how it's different than "Limitless" and his crazy first conversation with Egyptian actor Amr Waked.

Music

Weezer releases first new song since 2010

Weezer releases "Back to the Shack," their first new song in almost six years.

Movies

Benedict Cumberbatch plays a different kind of genius…

The man known worldwide for his portrayal of London's eccentric private detective Sherlock Holmes is trading his Belstaff coat for tweed this fall. Benedict Cumberbatch…

NFL

'Vicktory dogs' travel road to rehabilitation seven years…

Of the dozens of dogs groomed by Bad Newz Kennels, 48 were rescued and 22 of the pit bull terriers have emerged at Best Friends Animal Society.

MLB

Yankees looking at trade for Cliff Lee, according…

Yankees looking at trade for Cliff Lee, according to report

NFL

Giants lineman Chris Snee to retire: Reports

The Giants report to training camp on Tuesday, but Chris Snee may not be there when they do.

NBA

Carmelo Anthony talks about his charity work in…

As he is used to doing every year, NBA All-Star Carmelo Anthony is going to visit Puerto Rico to do work for his foundation.

Tech

RocketSkates let users roll with a motor

Los Angeles company Acton has raised funds on Kickstarter to roll out a nifty alternative – motor-powered "RocketSkates."

Tech

Knicks star Carmelo Anthony becomes a tech entrepreneur

He's been an All-Star, an Olympian, and a celebrity spokesperson. Now NBA player Carmelo Anthony is adding the position "tech entrepreneur" to his resume. Along…

Tech

Ulises 1 is the world's first singing satellite

A group of artists and engineers in Mexico have unveiled Ulises 1, the world's first opera-singing satellite.

Home

Wallscape on a budget

Skip the wallpaper and ombre an accent wall instead.