Posts by Holly Bailey
Holly Bailey at Yahoo News 5 days ago
In a court filing Thursday, Tsarnaev’s attorneys said roughly the same amount of potential jurors — 69 percent — have a “self-identified connection” to the April 2013 bombings, meaning they were personally affected or knew someone who was. “Stronger support for a finding of presumed prejudice in Boston is difficult to imagine,” Timothy Watkins, one of Tsarnaev’s attorneys wrote in the filing. “The existing record precludes a fair trial in Boston.”
Based on an analysis of juror questionnaires, the defense noted that just 345 prospective jurors — or 25 percent of those summoned in the case — said they were “unsure” when asked if they had “formed an opinion” that Tsarnaev is guilty, while 66 potential jurors said “no.”
The motion came just hours after court officials announced that opening arguments in the closely watched trial would be delayed. U.S. District Court Judge George O’Toole, who is presiding over the case, said earlier this month that the trial would begin next Monday. But jury selection has moved at an achingly slow pace in recent days, fueling rumors that the court would have no choice but to delay the proceedings.
Holly Bailey at Yahoo News 8 days ago
Taking a seat between his attorneys at a table in the front, the 21-year-old suspect, dressed in khakis and a dark sweater, fidgeted under the microscopic gaze of the potential jury pool before him. They were fixated on the young man widely portrayed as a heartless terrorist who killed with no remorse. Drumming his fingers on his chair, his face aimed toward the ground, Tsarnaev avoided looking at anyone — save for the woman to his left, his attorney Judy Clarke, who suddenly caught his eye and gave him a gentle smile.
Tsarnaev visibly relaxed, returning her smile with a brief one of his own. And for the first time during jury selection, the accused bomber looked out toward the room of Boston-area residents who could be called upon to decide whether he lives or dies for his alleged role in the April 2013 bombings that killed three people and injured nearly 300 more.
As the potential jurors sized up Tsarnaev — many getting their first clear look at his face, which bears the scars of gunshot wounds he sustained before his arrest — Clarke, in turn, studied them, her blue eyes slowly scanning the room, gauging their reaction to her client.
That presumably includes Tsarnaev.
Holly Bailey at Yahoo News 22 days ago
“We will never forget,” it reads.
Not that people here ever could. Nearly two years after the attacks, which paralyzed the city and shocked the world, many in Boston are still recovering from the bombs which killed three people and injured nearly 300, including 16 who lost limbs. Now the city is preparing to relive the gruesome horror all over again.
Jury selection began Monday for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the 21-year-old surviving suspect in the attacks. He is accused of plotting and carrying out the twin bombings along with his older brother, Tamerlan, who was killed during a confrontation with police four days after the attacks. The brothers are also accused of shooting and killing a Massachusetts Institute of Technology police officer while on the run from the authorities. Tsarnaev, who has pleaded not guilty, faces the death penalty if convicted.
Holly Bailey at Yahoo News 28 days ago
Accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is asking a federal judge to clamp down on “self-appointed supporters” protesting on his behalf outside a Boston courthouse, arguing that their “inflammatory accusations” could hurt his right to a fair trial.
In a court filing Monday, Tsarnaev’s defense team sought to distance themselves from the demonstrators, arguing they could have a “deleterious and prejudicial impact” on his trial, which is set to begin Jan. 5. The supporters, his attorneys wrote, “advocate various conspiracy theories concerning the marathon bombing, including that the resulting deaths and injuries have somehow been faked as part of a government plot.”
Tsarnaev’s lawyers asked federal Judge George O’Toole, who is overseeing the case, to direct the U.S. Marshals Service to move the demonstrators away from the courthouse, because their presence implies that Tsarnaev agrees with them.
“The defendant and his attorneys are powerless to protect the fairness of his trial from the destructive activities of these demonstrators, ” the accused bomber's attorneys wrote.
He wore baggy gray khakis and a black zip-up sweater, with a white button-down shirt that peeked out from underneath — an outfit that seemed to overwhelm his slight frame. He rubbed his beard and the left side of his face, and his left eye appeared to be a little droopy.
There was little in his appearance that seemed out of the ordinary. Yet with every slight move he made, people behind him sat up straight in their seats and stared at him — some tilting their heads to get a better look. Even when the action shifted to the other side of the room, they kept their eyes locked on him.
The scene that unfolded in a federal courtroom in Boston was Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s first public appearance in 17 months. The surviving suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings said only five words in the final hearing before his trial begins in January, on charges that he, along with his older brother, set off two deadly bombs near the marathon finish line in April 2013.
Tsarnaev occasionally offered brief hints of a smile to his team of defense attorneys, but not once did he look at the spectators behind him, perhaps aware of the microscope he was under.
He spends most of his days in "nearly total isolation," according to his attorneys, locked behind a heavy steel door in a tiny cell in the most restricted wing at Fort Devens medical prison 40 miles outside Boston.
His only visitors have been members of his legal team and his two older sisters — though the sisters have come to see him only a handful of times and always under the observation of an FBI agent. He has not been allowed to mingle with or talk to any other inmates — either verbally or through notes. His only other regular contact has been with prison personnel, who slide meals through a slot within a thick glass observation window in a corner of his cell door.
The closest Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has come to experiencing the world beyond his cell in more than 500 days has been through "very limited access to a small outdoor enclosure," according to court records. And that's only "on weekdays, weather permitting." But that will soon change.
Vanita Gupta was only weeks out of law school in 2001 when she began looking into a strange series of drug busts in a tiny West Texas ranch town named Tulia.
In 1999, a third of the town’s black population had been ensnared in the biggest drug bust the Texas Panhandle had ever seen. Forty-six people, almost all of them poor African-Americans who had prior run-ins with the law, were convicted on charges of cocaine dealing and sentenced to years in prison based solely on the testimony of a former rodeo clown turned undercover cop who had little experience investigating narcotics.
Gupta, then 26, had just joined the NAACP’s Legal Defense Fund, and she began assembling a team of attorneys and civil rights groups to look into the drug arrests, which didn’t smell right to her. It was her first case as an attorney. Two years later, a Texas judge overturned many of the convictions, calling the cop’s testimony not credible. After the officer was found guilty of perjury, Gov. Rick Perry pardoned most of the defendants whose convictions had not been previously overturned.
“Civil rights work is what gets me up in the morning and makes me feel like I can live a meaningful life,” she said.
Holly Bailey at Yahoo News 2 mths ago
In the wake of Monday's grand jury decision not to indict a white police officer in the fatal shooting of an unarmed black teenager in Ferguson, Mo., the investigation of the volatile case is far from over.
Under the lead of Attorney General Eric Holder, the Justice Department is still pursuing two investigations related to the Aug. 9 shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown.
"While the grand jury proceeding in St. Louis County has concluded, the Justice Department's investigation into the shooting of Michael Brown remains ongoing," Holder said in a statement.
Federal prosecutors are still looking into whether the officer, Darren Wilson, should face civil rights charges in the controversial case. At the same time, the Justice Department is continuing a broader inquiry into the widely criticized policing practices of the police department in Ferguson, a mostly black suburb of St. Louis that has had tensions for years with police and community officials who are mostly white.
According to Holder, the Justice Department "continues to investigate allegations of unconstitutional policing patterns or practices by the Ferguson Police Department."
Holly Bailey at Yahoo News 2 mths ago
It was the day before New Year’s Eve two years ago, and Mitch McConnell was suddenly in search of, as he put it, someone to dance with.
Talks had collapsed between McConnell, the Republican Senate minority leader, and his Democratic colleagues over a deal to ward off major tax increases and automatic spending cuts that threatened to send the nation’s economy off what officials apocalyptically described as a “fiscal cliff.” With the clock ticking, the staid Kentuckian and consummate behind-the-scenes legislator known for rarely showing his cards in public went to the Senate floor and made an unusually vivid appeal. “I am willing to get this done, but I need a dance partner,” McConnell declared.
A few hours later, he found one in Vice President Joe Biden, a Democrat with whom he’d sparred for nearly three decades. They were fierce political rivals who were polar opposites on every front, save one: Biden, like McConnell, was a creature of the Senate. He’d represented Delaware for nearly 36 years before relocating down Pennsylvania Avenue as Barack Obama’s No. 2, and, like his GOP colleague, he appreciated the fine art of dealmaking.