Posts by Holly Bailey

  • The accused Boston Marathon bomber’s Hail Mary to change trial venue

    Holly Bailey at Yahoo News 7 days ago

    BOSTON -- The federal judge overseeing the trial of accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has found 61 of the 70 people needed for a suitable jury pool and predicted opening arguments would begin in the “near future.”

    But on Thursday, Tsarnaev’s attorneys made a last-ditch effort to move the trial out of Boston, renewing their argument that it’s impossible to find a truly impartial jury in a city where so many residents were affected by the deadly 2013 attacks.

    A three-member panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit heard arguments on whether to move the high-profile trial out of Boston to a more neutral city like Washington, D.C. — a request that has already been rejected three times by the presiding district judge in the case, George O’Toole.

    "Justice has to have the appearance of justice," Judith Mizner, Tsarnaev's court-appointed attorney, told the appeals court, adding there needs to be "public confidence" in the judicial system. She argued Boston-area residents have too many emotional and personal ties to the bombings to truly weigh the case against Tsarnaev fairly.

    "The voir dire process is working," Weinreb said.

  • In Boston Marathon bombing case, jury selection is an ongoing struggle

    Holly Bailey at Yahoo News 20 days ago

    The disqualifications seemed obvious. Her late father, she explained, had spent more than two decades serving on the board of the Boston Athletic Association, the group that sponsors the marathon, and her brothers were still involved in the organization. One had been near the marathon’s finish line in April 2013 only minutes before two bombs were detonated, killing three and injuring nearly 300. The marathon was in her blood, and what happened that day had affected her deeply. There was no way she could be impartial, the juror said.

    Besides, the middle-aged brunette added, she already believed Tsarnaev was guilty. “That’s clear,” she said, nodding ever so slightly in the direction of the accused bomber, who sat a few feet away from her at the opposite end of a long conference-room table. Tsarnaev briefly glanced at her before he sank back into his chair.

    “I can’t un-forget what I already know,” she bluntly replied. “I think he’s guilty.”

    He was “not a fan of his brother,” the juror said, referring to Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who offered no visible reaction to the mention of his older brother, Tamerlan.

    “I want to know why,” juror 345 said.

    The juror paused. “Don’t you have to hear why?”

  • Tsarnaev attorneys renew bid to move Boston Marathon bombing trial

    Holly Bailey at Yahoo News 1 mth 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.

  • ‘Gentle Judy’s’ biggest challenge: Defending the accused Boston Marathon bomber

    Holly Bailey at Yahoo News 1 mth 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.

  • Jury selection begins in trial of accused Boston bomber Tsarnaev

    Holly Bailey at Yahoo News 1 mth 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.

    RELATED: Who's who trial for Boston Marathon bombing trial

    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.

    See the Topic Page:  Boston Marathon Bombing Trial

  • Boston bombing suspect Tsarnaev wants 'supporters’ moved away from courthouse

    Holly Bailey at Yahoo News 2 mths 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.


  • Accused Boston marathon bomber makes first public appearance since 2013

    Holly Bailey at Yahoo News 2 mths ago

    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.

  • Locked away for 17 months, accused Boston Marathon bomber set to emerge in court this week

    Holly Bailey at Yahoo News 2 mths ago

    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.

  • Meet the woman spearheading the federal probe of Ferguson

    Holly Bailey at Yahoo News 2 mths ago

    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.