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Uphill battle for defense of marathon bomb suspect

April 23, 2013 • National News


FILE – In this Monday, July 23, 2007 file photo, attorney Frank Rubino, left, talks to reporters as Jon May looks on during a news conference in Miami. Attorneys who handle terrorism and other notorious cases say public opinion is stacked against the defense for obvious reasons. Rubino, who represented former Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega on drug conspiracy charges, agreed it wouldn’t make sense to deny the younger Tsarnaev’s involvement in the Boston Marathon bombings, but attorneys could try to spare his life by focusing on his age – 19 – and possible coercion by his older brother, Tamerlan, 26, who was killed Friday, April 19, 2013 in a fierce police shootout. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)

There are photos of the suspect at the bomb scene, video footage of him dropping a knapsack at the site of one of the blasts, and perhaps most incriminating could be the written words of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev himself during questioning in a Boston hospital. A case with evidence like this may be the toughest challenge a lawyer can face: defending someone accused of an act of terror so horrific a nation cries out for swift, severe punishment.

Attorneys who handle terrorism and other notorious cases say public opinion is stacked against the defense for obvious reasons. Acts of terrorism unleash an outpouring of anger from the public, including potential jurors. In Boston, the circumstances are especially egregious: Three people, including an 8-year-old boy, died in the twin blasts, more than Login to read more

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