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Boston Marathon Trial Will Go Forward in Boston
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Boston Marathon Trial Will Go Forward in Boston

Summary: Defense attorneys for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the 21-year-old accused of setting off bombs during the 2013 Boston Marathon, moved to transfer venue of the trial outside of Boston. The motion was denied by a federal district court judge. However, the judge did grant a two-month delay of the trial, which will begin in January.

The New York Times reports that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who is accused of the Boston Marathon bombings, will face trial in Boston. The trial will be delayed for two months and is set to begin in January.

  
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Tsarnaev’s attorneys had filed a motion moving to transfer the trial outside of Boston. Judge George A. O’Toole Jr. of Federal District Court denied the motion, ruling that the jury pool in the region would be big enough to find twelve impartial jurors.

Judge O’Toole opined, “It is doubtful whether a jury could be selected anywhere in the country whose members were wholly unaware of the marathon bombings. The Constitution does not oblige them to be.” The judge noted that jurors were only required to set aside impressions and render a verdict based only on the evidence presented during the trial.

The judge relied on precedent from the United States Supreme Court. During the case of Jeffrey Skilling, a former Enron executive, Skilling’s attorneys requested to move jurisdiction outside of Houston, where Enron was located. However, that motion was denied by the district court. Four factors were considered in the Supreme Court case: the size of the community from which the jury is drawn, the nature of media coverage, the passage of time between the crime and the trial, and whether, in hindsight, the jury had been prejudiced. In the present case, the jury pool for the Eastern Division of the District of Massachusetts includes five million people. “It stretches the imagination to suggest that an impartial jury cannot be successfully selected from this large pool of potential jurors,” the judge observed.

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However, Judge O’Toole did grant Tsarnaev’s request to delay the trial. The defense sought a ten-month delay, but Judge O’Toole granted two months. Such a long delay was unnecessary, according to Judge O’Toole, “given the size and experience of the defense team.” The trial’s start date was moved from November 3 to January 5.

A previous agreement between the parties requests the court to send 2,000 summonses to potential jurors roughly six weeks before the trial starts. The summonses will include detailed questionnaires that the potential jurors will complete.



Tsarnaev is charged with planting bombs along the route of the 2013 Boston Marathon. Three people were killed and over 260 others were wounded when the bombs detonated. Tsarnaev is charged with 30 counts, 17 of which carry the death penalty.

Photo credit: nbcnews.com



 

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