Important Lessons for Tsarnaev Case Outcome Come From the Past

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Convicted Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s family is angry about the way his defense attorney handled his trial.

Convicted Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s family is angry about the way his defense attorney handled his trial.

The criticism that some members of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s family levied against Judy Clarke, the lead defense attorney for the convicted marathon bomber, may sound familiar to anyone who followed the trial of Unabomber Ted Kaczynski 17 years ago.

Kaczynski believed that Clarke, who also led his defense, put her opposition to capital punishment and her desire to avoid a death sentence for her client above his own interests. Similarly, in the Tsarnaev case, Clarke has pursued a strategy focused exclusively on the penalty phase—and finding a way to secure a life sentence for her client.

But that approach has baffled Tsarnaev’s relatives in Russia. Some have called for Clarke to be replaced immediately. But with no legal mechanism to implement such a change, they can only sputter their outrage in advance of the sentencing of their young relative.

“Why do we even need defense attorneys if they just tell the jury he is guilty? What’s the point?” his aunt, Maret Tsarnaeva, told Time last week.

It is unclear if the Tsarnaev family is even aware of the once infamous Kaczynski case, much less Clarke’s 20-year record of winning life sentences for convicted murderers who faced the death sentence. But the Unabomber’s trial holds important lessons for anyone trying to understand the way Clarke defended  Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

The trial initially began in fall, 1997; Kaczynski attempted to represent himself. In early 1998, Kaczynski tried to fire Clarke after he discovered that she was going to mount an insanity defense in response to multiple murder charges lodged against him. Federal prosecutors intended to seek the death penalty following any conviction.

Ted Kaczynski believed that Clarke put her opposition to capital punishment and her desire to avoid a death sentence for her client above his interests.

Ted Kaczynski believed that Clarke put her opposition to capital punishment and her desire to avoid a death sentence for her client above his interests.

However, Federal District Court Judge Garland Ellis Burrell Jr. believed that permitting Kaczynski to act as his own counsel could bring chaos to his courtroom and would very likely guarantee appeals on procedural grounds.

To avoid this, Judge Burrell told Clarke that he would only permit the change if Clarke and her team stayed on in support of Kaczynski. But Clarke refused any such deal. As a result, Burrell rejected Kaczynski’s bid for new counsel. Within weeks a despondent Kaczynski pleaded guilty and received a life sentence, but he lost what he wanted most—a platform to further expound his radical, anti-modern ideology.

At first glance, the soundness of Clarke’s approach in the Kaczynski case seems evident—a mad bomber was denied an opportunity to parade his twisted views before a national audience. Yet in the process his life was spared. This was clearly a win-win for both defendant and society.

But it is precisely in light of the Unabomber trial that the Tsarnaev family’s objections to Clarke’s defense strategy gain credence. Tsarnaev is no Kaczynski—the defense has not sought to brand him as insane. Just the opposite: in one of the few push backs against the prosecution during the guilt phase of the trial, Clarke struck hard at prosecution claims that Tsarnaev’s social media presence showed a focus on global jihad and extremism.

Instead, Clarke and her team sought to portray Dzhokhar as a normal college student, who Tweeted about rap lyrics and Comedy Central shows. In fact, we know nothing first-hand about the defendant’s desires because he has effectively been held incommunicado since his arrest.

But if Dzhokhar was not insane then one can assume his actions, for all their horrific consequences, were intended to convey some message to society at large. After all, what motivates acts of terrorism as opposed to the deeds of ordinary murderers or mad killers?

What would his explanation have been for his and his brother’s actions if he had been allowed to speak for himself? Would he have chosen to proclaim his total innocence? And how would his words have affected the jurors as they decided whether or not to send him to his death ?

Despite the obvious differences between the young Tsarnaev and a brooding hermit who had decades of violence and maladjustment behind him when he went to trial, Clarke has chosen to muzzle the Boston Marathon bomber in the same way that she did the mad Unabomber to save him from the death penalty.

As a result, the sentence soon to be handed down by the jury in Boston may tell us more about Judy Clarke than it does about Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

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33 responses to “Important Lessons for Tsarnaev Case Outcome Come From the Past”

  1. Just Browsing

    While I was surfing yesterday I saw a great post about

  2. johan mann says:

    Judy Clarke is not a defense lawyer she’s was/is actually part of the gov’t prosecution team.
    Dzhokhar is just a patsy, neither he nor his death brother had anything to do with that bombing.

  3. jim james says:

    Ted Kacynski is one of the few modern day American heroes.

  4. The Interrogator says:

    She cared NOTHING for Dzhokhar’s “plea of innocence”, as she didn’t “defend” him or present evidence (and there was plenty) that he was INNOCENT. I think she is an abomination in the eyes of God for what she has done to this young guy, she & the other low-life attorneys, for he is innocent, and he NEVER had a chance to tell his side of the story to the jurors. It’s really Un-American and as unfair as I have EVER seen anything in this United States!

    My husband and I are completely sickened about this, and we wish something would happen that would turn this whole thing upside down and stop these MANIACS in our Federal government.

    Just think, they never even had PRIVACY while speaking to their client Dzhokhar. There was ALWAYS an FBI agent in the room with them. Boy, they just didn’t want the TRUTH to come out, did they…

  5. Boeser Wolf says:

    Kangaroo courts are alive and well in the USA, or as was stated in the movie “A Civil Action”: a courtroom is the last place to find the truth.

  6. sk1951 says:

    The lesson is don’t become a CIA patsy. “This is a drill…this is a drill…” This vid is long…but sooo with watching. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZDUkdp3AvtQ&list=PLYxZf1U0Wx2AKK9lSpWNWbUv3Dtp0Y_iX&index=2

  7. newsens says:

    There’s no doubt that his lawyer sold him out, for whatever reason.

  8. OCCUPY FEARRINGTON says:

    The expose, GEORGE HW BUSH: THE UNAUTHORIZED BIOGRAPHY, opened my eyes to the fascist movement in the USA. Highly recommended. That book and FAMILY OF SECRETS.

  9. oh_look says:

    Is it illegal for Federal Court to prejudice a jury? https://www.law.cornell.edu/rules/fre/rule_403

    “Exclusion for risk of unfair prejudice, confusion of issues, misleading
    the jury, or waste of time, all find ample support in the authorities.
    “Unfair prejudice” within its context means an undue tendency to
    suggest decision on an improper basis, commonly, though not
    necessarily, an emotional one.”

    Also see the following article that I located with just a simple and quick google search on the subject (probably thousands of other cases):

    Murder Conviction Reversed After Prosecutor Shows Jury 100 Prejudicial Power Point Slides During Closing Arguments

    Solar Toad

    • sk1951 says:

      “Ineffective council” with get him a new trial. It was all for show…I wonder what deal they made with that kid or what they threatened him with. Another CIA conspericy drifts into BS obfuscation of Truth.

    • The Interrogator says:

      How can they get another trial? The parent couldn’t even dismiss his attorney Clark?

  10. OCCUPY FEARRINGTON says:

    Perhaps some brave Attorney General can impose the RICO ACT on the stealth campaign to spread terror in the USA. Government workers/military/FBI/CIA are not immune to RICO and certainly enough people have been murdered and intimidated by these USA terrorists to be indicted by RICO. Eric Holder, will you be brave enough to invoke the RICO ACT?

    • oh_look says:

      It’s too far gone. I’ve been involved in “truth movement” for almost 14 years now and it continues to get worse. The problem is the People themselves, the majority who do absolutely nothing but believe whatever they are told. People at my workplace are literally like little Nazis.
      The whole goal here is to completely destroy the Constitution and all that stood for and I’m sure they will do it. I didn’t thinks so before, but I am certain of it now. People like Janet Napolitano are a dime a dozen in government agencies, who then move into “Education” to defile the youth. Also, this is so well orchestrated and organized that EVERY metropolitan area in the U.S. is now heavily controlled. We saw that in Oklahoma City.
      This does look like a World-wide dictatorship too, so I don’t know where one can go to get away with such pervasive evil. I do believe we have to continue to watch and go thru this nightmare until the system itself destroys itself.
      It’s an awful burden for those who are aware of what is going on.

    • The Interrogator says:

      That is so true—a very unfair burden on all people who know the whole unvarnished truth about these truly evil despots! I wonder if sometimes we aren’t headed over the cliff of HUNGER GAMES, as crazy brainwashed as Americans are.

    • jane24 says:

      I would have to agree, solar toad, that at least part of the problem here lies in an unthinking American public. Perhaps though, this is not so surprising when you consider that the process of indoctrination begins in kindergarten?

    • The Interrogator says:

      Indeed.

  11. oh_look says:

    Isn’t there ANY legal people who can sift through what has happened with this young man and see if there is anyway that can be shown the United States has acted unconstitutionally against DT? There must be something that can be done when someone has been mis-represented and has basically gotten NO defense.
    What is the family doing? If that was my son I don’t care if I had a “pending” shoplifting charge, this is YOUR SON for god’s sake. Where’s there “he’s innocent” website? There’s a lot they could be doing but they basically do nothing, except an occasional appearance by Merit.

  12. OCCUPY FEARRINGTON says:

    She also “defended” the Atlanta Olympics bomber. Her thing is to plead guilty and give them life. She does not mount a defense, even to show other perps. She is actually defending the Government which may have helped plot the Boston and Atlanta cases.They do not want their oft-used ploys of using patsies to be exposed.

    • oh_look says:

      But they HAVE been exposed. And one of their minions, Ms Janet Napolitano, recently wrote an article defending the FBI and the Government Narrative. She seems to have been threatened by Masha Gessen’s new book on the family which does ask a few important questions, especially about Tamerlan as an informant.

    • sk1951 says:

      Ineffective council…look it up.

    • onetree says:

      Exactly!

  13. onetree says:

    Thanks for this article. I did not remember much about the Kaczynski defense.

    Unless Clarke knows something that I don’t know, I tend to think she should be brought up on charges of some type.

    The problem with this case is that you’d have to give an alternative (or true) story to try to dispute the FBI testimony. A few problems I see with trying to mount a real defense are (1) there’s apparently not enough mistrust of the national security state in Boston to mount a defense that would be likely to sway the jury; (2) the defense may not have the budget to make a sincere effort to dispute the testimony coming from the prosecution’s side; and (3) I’m not sure whether all of the friends, acquaintances, and family members have been scared off or whether the judge is not allowing any character witnesses, but there seems to be something very dark and ugly going on here.

    Whatever it is, it is NOT justice — not even close.

  14. jcbrook says:

    Amazing that she labeled her client guilty in minute-one and then called for an aquittal mid-trial, stating that the prosecution hadn’t proven any of their case against Tsarnaev beyond a reasonable doubt. And, clearly there were many questionable things in the trial. Why did she ever start out like that?! That strikes me as utterly criminal, for a defense attorney.

    • onetree says:

      I agree with her that nothing was proven beyond a reasonable doubt, but now people assume he’s guilty (if they didn’t already) because his attorney said he was. If that isn’t a devastating blow to justice, I don’t know what is!

    • jane24 says:

      One thing I am curious about in regard to Judy Clarke: She is said to be a staunch opponent of the death penalty. Personally failing to see how making a good living off the death penalty amounts to “opposition.” Am I missing something?

    • The Interrogator says:

      It was, and the Judge should have dismissed her due to contempt of court. She refused to exhibit her hypocratic oath as an attorney.

    • The Interrogator says:

      She broke her OATH that she swore to uphold—I could go on, but here’s just one thing in the oath—

      She is supposed to defend the truth in representing her client. She clearly did not.