U.S. District Judge George O’Toole–in his third motion denying a change of venue for the Boston Marathon bombing trial–boasted again that “the process of interviewing prospective jurors in person … is proving successful.”

O’Toole pointed to a particular juror as an example of fair-mindedness:

One human resources professional explained that it was a common occurrence in her experience for her initial impression of the merits of a workplace controversy to be altered or even reversed when she had information from a fuller or more careful investigation, and so she had learned to keep her judgment suspended until she had all the necessary information.

The court interviewed this particular juror on Jan. 22, the fifth day of voir dire, as the individual questioning of prospective jurors is known.

However, the human resources professional O’Toole cited as a voir dire success story made quite a few statements the judge declined to note in his ruling. Among them:

“It’s hard to not think that he’s [the defendant is] guilty. ”

“I believe in an eye for an eye.”

In addition, this prospective juror has a “Boston Strong” bracelet and attended a fundraiser for victims with several couples. One of her colleagues is a former FBI agent on the witness list. She said she would weigh the testimony of that witness just as she would any other. She also knows someone who was emotionally harmed by the bombing. That person, she said, still hasn’t talked about what she saw.

Not Moving, Despite the Motions

A stunning 68 percent of jurors have expressed the opinion that Tsarnaev is guilty, a point the defense made in its latest motion to move the trial. Others are confused about the prosecution’s burden of proof, saying they want the defense to show that Tsarnaev is not guilty. One said she would vote guilty even if the prosecution failed to make its case. Another said Tsarnaev should be blown up at the finish line.

Throughout the proceedings, O’Toole has said he was “making real progress.” He also repeatedly said the defense filings showing prejudice of jurors were “misleading” and “improper” though he apparently has had no legal basis to discipline them.

Through Feb. 6, O’Toole, prosecutors and defense lawyers for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev have questioned 157 prospective jurors. That’s 12 days of voir dire and the start of testimony has been postponed indefinitely because of the slow pace of juror questioning. Testimony had been scheduled to start at the end of January.

Proceedings resume on Wednesday, having been postponed for the first two days of the week because of heavy snow.

***

Ultimately, the court is looking to seat 12 jurors and six alternates. To get there, the judge is likely to qualify about 70 jurors. From that total, each side can disqualify 20 jurors via a process known as a peremptory challenge, as well as three each of the alternates. That’s more than in an ordinary trial, because, the judge points out, this is a capital case.

The latest change of venue request is now before the First Circuit Court of Appeals. The appeals court voted 2-1 against the defense in a prior request. Generally, appeals courts are loath to reverse judges during trial.

Tsarnaev, 21, has pleaded not guilty to detonating two bombings near the marathon finish line on April 15, 2013. Three people were killed and more than 260 were injured. He is also charged in the fatal shooting of MIT police officer Sean Collier, in what the indictment describes as an unsuccessful attempt to get his weapon. Of the 30 charges he faces, 17 of them carry the death penalty or life in prison.

Please take a look at our full coverage of the Boston Marathon Bombing and our primer of stories to bring you up to speed for the trial. 

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Barry Crimm
Barry Crimm
6 years ago

This judge sounds fairly typical of what sits on the federal bench. Everyone is guilty of something under the hyper-expansive Federal Criminal Code; whether the defendant is guilty of the charges filed is merely incidental.

iquitfornow
iquitfornow
6 years ago

http://www.madcowprod.com/2015/02/04/a-muckraking-life-interrupted-2more-9705/#more-9705 Great piece on “Uncle Ruslan” and Graham Fuller from Daniel Hopsicker !!

disqus_3BrONUAJno
6 years ago

Why is the judge going to qualify jurors when that is the job of the prosecutor and defense attorneys in voir dire?

Guest
Guest
6 years ago

Federal rules are opposite, one of the pluses for the Feds. This case is a state case, but the Feds had to gain control when Tsarnaev was not executed. They need a death penalty here.
A trial is a headache for them.

But O’Toole was appointed, not selected at random. He was Mehanna’s judge also, which elevates the suspicious rulings & procedures.

If the trial is moved, thevtrial becomes a crap shoot for the Feds & they lose much control.

EyesWideOpen
EyesWideOpen
6 years ago

Time ( long past) not to question this man’s logic, but rather how he was SELECTED in June, AFTER JAHAR’s arraignment..that he was SELECTED to be MEHANA’s judge the previous year..that he has ex parte conferences with ORTIZ…
What does the DOJ HAVE ON HIM?
The man is compromised.

Notwithstanding that very tall lanky drugged up defendant – IS NOT JAHAR.
The real JAHAR is neither bored nor catatonic, nor hyper

See: “Dzhokhar Tsarnaev teasing his niece” & compare.
This trial is for sheeple consumption ONLY.

daniel wilson
daniel wilson
6 years ago

I’ll try comment again and maybe you won’t delete it. The tree which the technician is kneeling in front of is not in the pictures from “WHDH news” purporting to show a suspicious bag beside the mailbox. The tree was removed shortly after this picture.

haifisch8587
haifisch8587
6 years ago

If a change of venue would mean assigning a different judge to this case, it is obvious why the judge would not want to give up his place in the sun (TV)

oh_look
oh_look
6 years ago
Reply to  haifisch8587

Yes, it’s all about his “successful” career as a judge. He’s exactly the type of person that those who are controlling the entire narrative want. It is clear that our judicial system is not working…..although it sure works for the bankers.

EyesWideOpen
EyesWideOpen
6 years ago
Reply to  haifisch8587

This judge has his orders & I understand the electronic properties on all rulings & motions are TRACED back to D.C, which may be the REAL REASON HE NEVER RULES FROM THE BENCH & takes weeks to do so in writing.
This is a secret evidence trial. 60% of the pleadings are sealed.
Another judge wouldn’t be so deferential to THE DOJ.
It is more about control of the case from the public than O’Toole’s infamy

The puzzle pieces are beginning to interlock now, as far as the DOJ CONTROL is becoming more obvious.

I do not trust the defense; therefore, I do not believe the defendant is the REAL Tsarnaev.

Calling John Grisham…

disqus_3BrONUAJno
6 years ago
Reply to  haifisch8587

A change of venue is a change of venue. If you don’t know what that means…

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