Tsarnaev trial to begin in November for Boston Marathon bombing

Tamerlan Tsarnaev (L), 26, is pictured in 2010 in Lowell, and his brother Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, is pictured in an undated FBI handout photo in this combination photo Credit: Reuters
Tamerlan Tsarnaev, left, and his brother Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, are accused of carrying out the bombings at the Boston Marathon.
Credit: Reuters

A federal judge on Wednesday set the trial date for the prosecution of accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev for Nov. 3, about a year sooner than the 20-year-old’s defense team had requested.

The decision was announced during a 30-minute status hearing at Moakley Federal Court, where attorneys met for the first time since Attorney General Eric Holder authorized the death penalty for the alleged terrorist.

U.S. District Judge George O’Toole called the date “realistic and fair,” however Tsarnaev lead attorney Judy Clarke argued that the schedule was not feasible because defense attorneys were having a “laboriously” tough time getting what they need from the federal government.

“I understand the court’s desire to move the trial along, but the litigation schedule will be virtually impossible,” said Clarke, who was once dubbed by The New York Times as a “master strategist in death penalty cases.”

Prosecutors said that some 2,000 items of evidence, some as small as ball bearings collected on Boylston Street, were at an FBI lab in Quantico, Virginia. Defense attorney Miriam Conrad said their team has not yet examined those exhibits, and have been given no schedule as to when they will access them.

Defense attorneys also have to comb through thousands of pages of files, computer records and security camera photographs.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Aloke Chakravarty said prosecutors were responding promptly to defense requests for information.

“We’re going above and beyond what we probably need to do to make what they need available to them,” Chakravarty said.

O’Toole ordered prosecutors to provide defense attorneys with a list of the physical evidence.

Once the trial begins, it “is undoubtedly going to be a lengthy” one, O’Toole said, cautioning that disagreements between defense attorneys and prosecutors could push the date back.

Tsarnaev, 20, is accused of carrying out the deadly April 15 bombing, which killed three and injured 260 more, alongside his brother Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, who was killed in a shootout with police.

“There are competing interests here,” said Chris Dearborn, associate clinical professor of law at Suffolk University. “The public’s interest in having the trial and the families of the victims getting closure. Those are all valid concerns, but they can’t trump the defendant’s constitutional right to have a fair trial and have attorneys that are prepared.”

From a legal standpoint, Dearborn said, it isn’t unreasonable for Tsarnaev’s attorneys to request a delay of up to a year.

“It is not uncommon for cases to be pushed out a little bit,” said Dearborn. “I think there is a really good chance they’ll be given an extension.”

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

 



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Brooklyn man charged in roommate's stabbing death

A Brooklyn man accused of violently stabbing his roommate to death on Monday is in police custody and faces murder charges.

International

Dinosaurs could have survived asteroid strike

It turns out there is a good and a bad time for the planet to be hit by a meteor, and dinosaurs were just unlucky.…

National

OkCupid admits to Facebook-style experimenting on customers

By Sarah McBrideSAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - OkCupid, a top U.S. matchmaking website, intentionally mismatched users to test its technology, the IAC/InterActive Corp service said on…

Local

MTA fares still increasing 4 percent in newly…

The agency said the 4 percent increases, previously announced in December, will remain steady even as the MTA deals with increasing labor costs.

Movies

Interview: Brendan Gleeson on the way 'Calvary' depicts…

Brendan Gleeson talks about how his new film "Calvary" began over drinks and how his character here is the opposite of the lead in "The Guard."

Movies

'Get on Up' producer Mick Jagger on the…

Mick Jagger, a producer on the James Brown biopic "Get on Up," talks about the time had to tell the singer some bad news and his favorite JB record.

Television

'Glee' star Lea Michele to appear on 'Sons…

"Glee" star Lea Michele has been confirmed as a guest star in the final season of "Sons of Anarchy."

Television

TV watch list, Monday, July 28: 'The Bachelorette'…

See Andi Dorfman make her big choice on tonight's 'Bachelorette' finale.

MLB

Angelo Cataldi: Ryan Howard deserves better from Phillies

Just last week, Ryan Howard endured the embarrassment of a benching that was inevitable, and yet still shocking.

NFL

Larry Donnell has inside track in Giants tight…

Little-known Larry Donnell of Grambling State currently has the inside track, as the second-year player has received the bulk of the first-team reps.

NFL

Computer to Jets: Start Michael Vick over Geno…

Jets general manager John Idzik says the choice of who starts between second-year quarterback Geno Smith and veteran Michael Vick will be a “Jets decision.”

MLB

Yankees looking to trade for Josh Willingham: Report

CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Sunday the Yankees are interested in Twins outfielder Josh Willingham.

Travel

Glasgow: Hey, hey, the gangs aren't here

This European city has done a good job getting rid of its more violent residents and revitalizing with artists.

Education

Babson College tops list of best colleges for…

Money magazine has just released its inaugural list of "The Best Colleges for Your Money" -- and the answers have surprised many. Babson College, which…

Education

NYC teens learn how to develop apps during…

Through a program sponsored by CampInteractive, the high schoolers designed their own community-focused apps.

Tech

The Ministry of Silly Walks app is both…

Monty Python have dug into their back catalogue for cash-ins once more, but with the Ministry of Silly Walks app, they've made something that's fun too.