Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s Developing Dilemma

A fascinating issue is emerging during jury selection in the Dzhokhar Tsarnaev trial.* The vast majority of the prospective jurors who have been questioned believe he is guilty. A few have expressed doubt regarding his role and responsibility, but not about his participation in the bombing. Under ordinary circumstances that would be terrible news for the defense and good news for the government.

Nevertheless, the government has a problem.

Very few of the prospective jurors believe in the death penalty.

That’s good news for the defense and bad news for the government because only the defendant can move for a change of venue. He is not likely to do that because opposition to the death penalty is highest in the Boston area.

The Sixth Amendment provides in pertinent part,

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed . . .

Since Tsarnaev has a right to be tried in the Eastern District of Massachusetts, the government lacks standing to move for a change of venue and the Court has no authority to order it.

Quite the dilemma. Boston is the last place on the planet where the defense would like to try the guilt/innocence phase of this case, but Boston probably is the first place where they would want to conduct the penalty phase.

I’ll bet they will stay in Boston and not renew their motion for a change of venue.

Crane-Station adds:

Some of the thoughtful and interesting answers given summarized in this article:

Here’s How Possible Boston Bombing Jurors Feel About The Death Penalty

Juror 9:
Asked twice if he could impose the death penalty, he said, “I’m committed against it.”

Juror 10:
“There is no way in modern America today that I’m going to vote for the death penalty. I will not.”

Juror 19:
“This whole process made me more religious. I just can’t agree with the death penalty.”
“I just think killing another man is wrong. And I would be one of the members doing it. I just can’t kill another person.”

Juror 23:
“I would rather do the life imprisonment. I’m against the death penalty. It would have to be as personal as my child. I could not pass on the death penalty.”

Juror 27:
“I would leave myself open to persuasion, but I would be disinclined.”

Juror 35:
He said the death penalty is “cruel and unusual.”

Juror 42:
“Here’s the thing. This was a horrendous crime — hundreds, thousands affected. The magnitude was significant. At the same time, I do have reservations about the death penalty as a policy.”
“The age of the defendant has some weight in my mind. The defendant was 19 when the crime was committed. I look at that as a mitigating circumstance.”
“I would have a difficult time [voting for the death penalty]. Let’s put it this way: It would go against my judgment that the death penalty is a good idea for society. My personal belief is that the death penalty serves no constructive purpose.”
On could he vote for the death penalty, “If there were societal risks, I would say…possibly? It would have to be pretty compelling.”

Juror 43:
“I think it’s something I would struggle with. I’m not sure I have the personal constitution to participate in someone’s death.”

Juror 49:
Asked if she could conceive a situation “so disturbing or morally repugnant” enough to impose the death penalty, she said, “Pretty sure. No.”

Juror 51:
“I don’t object to the death penalty itself. But I could never decide somebody’s fate like that.”
“I don’t feel that it’s up to me to make that decision to take somebody’s life.”

Juror 54:
“It is not a logical punishment for any crime. It costs the state more. It carries the burden of being irreversible if the person is found not guilty afterwards. It’s proved not to be a deterrent.”
When asked if he could conscientiously vote to impose death: “I think it would be difficult for me, but honestly I think I could.”

Juror 57:
“I’m completely opposed to it.”
Asked if she could conceive of any case that would be so shocking that it would change your mind, she said, “No.”

Juror 60:
“Theoretically, I believe in the death penalty. It becomes very different when you’re looking at you making the decision.”

Juror 65:
“I think more often than not I am opposed to the death penalty … I’d have more difficulty voting for it, but I believe I could do it.”

Juror 67:
“I don’t believe in an eye for eye justice.”
“Government shouldn’t impose the ultimate penalty.”
“When someone does a heinous crime, you don’t do the same thing back.”

Juror 84:
“Upon reflection, I strongly oppose the death penalty. I think my answer would be he should not receive the death penalty.”

Juror 102:
“I have no view either way. I am really in the middle. I would have to hear everything and make an educated decision.”
“I was surprised that the death penalty was on the table.”

*I have been following Jim Armstrong on Twitter. He is covering jury selection for WBZ in Boston.

45 Responses to Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s Developing Dilemma

  1. MDX says:

    Wow, an elderly black man with a pitching wedge is cause for alarm and arrest:

    Go to 1:45 on the video and prepare to see just how lame and petty police can be:

    • Malisha says:

      Why in Hell must we have such paranoid lunatics running around in squad cars with guns on their hips? This cop was so out of bounds she appeared to be deranged. “You swung a weapon at me! WAAAAGH WAAAAGH WAAAAAGH you swung a weapon at me BOO HOO oh WOOOOO WOOOOO help help poor widdow me I’m so scaredy-waredy help help ooooh oooh I need help”

      Damn, woman, get out of that car and go seek professional help. And I don’t mean talk therapy either; you need MEDS! 👿

      • girlp says:

        She suffers from delusions, she needs to get on meds and quick, he never picked it up when did he swiing a golf club at her, how about never.

        • Malisha says:

          Like a 70-year-old man would swing a golf club at someone driving a car, let alone someone armed driving a SQUAD CAR.

          She’s psycho. She needs to be removed from the police immediately and institutionalized for her own and others’ (mostly others’) protection.

  2. MDX says:

    Henry Wallace correctly predicted, in 1944, that fascism was a disease that would not be eliminated by the end of WW2.

    One quoted paragraph:

    ” A fascist is one whose lust for money or power is combined with such an intensity of intolerance toward those of other races, parties, classes, religions, cultures, regions or nations as to make him ruthless in his use of deceit or violence to attain his ends. The supreme god of a fascist, to which his ends are directed, may be money or power; may be a race or a class; may be a military, clique or an economic group; or may be a culture, religion, or a political party…”

    A question never asked, but should is:

    Why, after WW2, did the USA turn hard right when Europe went left?

    Read the history of the resistance movements in any of the Nazi or Japanese occupied countries – it is very left oriented. Hell, one of the survivors of the Doolittle Raid on Tokyo was saved by none other than Mao.

    My point is that a right winger in Europe was either “the enemy” or a “collaborator”, so they had little or no pull, unless the USA covertly backed them, in a post war Europe which has suffered horrors under Fascism.

    And Fascists were responsible for hundreds of thousands of deaths of American soldiers.

    So why would we give vile Right Wing views such reverence in the post war world?

    And Wallace had the answer: The USA had the money and power.

    • Two sides to a story says:

      The far right, such as the John Birchers, were considered nuts when I was a kid in the 50s and 60s and were politely ignored. That the Tea Party and every other rightnutter group now seem to run police departments, Congress, and half of everything else is pretty amazing. There’s a definite drop in IQ in the USA over the intervening years.

      • MDX says:

        Since the beginning of the 20th Century, the USA has actively attacked and destroyed a legitimate part of the political spectrum that should be occupied by either the IWW or a Socialist party. On the right, fringe groups or more solid movements were allowed to have a voice. The result is a car with a left front wheel removed such that it pulls right.

        In the 1960s, my two next door neighbors during the golden age of Detroit (read as blacks kept in their place) were police officers.

        One was in the John Birch Society and the other was very sympathetic to the KKK.

        During the 1967 riot, the son of the KKK sympathizer thought it was great because:

        “daddy is out shooting coons”

        And he did not mean that in the Jed Clampett sense.

        The so-called left has been usurped by an unholy embrace of the free market and free tolerance of social issues. Although it is true that economic liberalism breaks down conservative social barriers, it is also true that it creates an economic inequity which dooms the mass of humanity that will never acquire much property to being a wage slave at the whim of those who do own substantial property.

        For example, natural property rights deem that the Earth belongs to all men in common.

        However, due to property rights being given to individuals, industry pollutes major watersheds to the point that one can not put a bucket in a stream or river to slake their thirst.

        IOW, a capital owner who derives income from a subset of the Earth is allowed to impose a negative cost on the mass of humanity without paying any compensation.

        Why is water not provided for free?

        It was free before the Earth was allowed to be subdivided, then it is only logical and just that those who benefit form the subdivision pay for what they took away from mankind.

        Instead, the so-called left will argue about how “the market” is “perfect” and any talk about collective rights is communism and that means Stalin.

  3. Trained Observer says:

    Off topic: Sundance Film Festival showcasing 3 1/2 minutes this Saturday, recapping murder of unarmed teenager Jordan Davis by gun-dunce Michael Dunn, who subsequently decided to leave the scene, go to his hotel, mix a couple of rum & Cokes, and order pizza. Below is from the site.

    YEAR 2015

    SECTION U.S. Documentary Competition


    RUN TIME 98 min

    On Black Friday 2012, four middle-class African-American law-abiding teenagers stopped at a gas station to buy gum and cigarettes. One of them, Jordan Davis, argued with Michael Dunn, a white man parked beside them, over the volume of music playing in their car. The altercation turned to tragedy when Dunn fired 10 bullets at the unarmed boys, killing Davis almost instantly. The seamlessly constructed, riveting documentary film 3½ MINUTES explores the danger and subjectivity of Florida’s Stand Your Ground self-defense laws by weaving Dunn’s trial with a chorus of citizen and pundit opinions, and with Jordan Davis’s parents’ wrenching experiences in and out of the courtroom.

    While Jordan Davis, Trayvon Martin, and Michael Brown’s stories join a wretched, enduring cycle in the American social narrative, 3½ Minutes portrays Davis’s murder and its aftermath as anything but generic. Instead, the intimate camera particularizes each character as singular, as if to say: The more we see each other as human beings, the less inevitable will be violent outcomes from racial bias and disparate cultures colliding

  4. a2nite says:

    FYI: Charles Blow’s son a Yale student had a “Yale cop” pull a gun on him as he fit a profile. Here are some thoughts in a post from DK:

    He has been on the side of our protests including calling out crap on CNN.

    • Malisha says:

      This is particularly offensive to me whenever I see a video of some white guy who DOES act threatening, who IS drunk and high on drugs and armed and dangerous, who WOULD properly need to be treated with extreme caution and possibly put under a certain degree of restraint, but who sails through a police encounter as if he is a saint.

      A video I watched (30 min long) yesterday: police saw a car on the side of the road in a ditch, lights still on, driver slumped and unconscious on the front seat. Two cops talk on the radio, and we learn that the one approaching hears from the other one that he had stopped the guy in the same car a while back and asked what he was doing — he was “sleeping it off” so the other cop gave him some time. This cop approaches and sees the car is actually still running.

      He knocks on the window politely and asks the guy if he’s OK. The guy’s voice is slurred. The cop asks if he can please turn off the car and take the keys. Guy agrees. Cop asks him for driver’s license — doesn’t have one, it’s been suspended. Cop asks him to get out of the car. He can’t stand straight. Cop puts an open bottle of beer on the hood of the car, asks him when he had a drink last. He says 2 hours. etc. etc. etc.

      Cop puts the guy in the front of the cop car, passenger seat.

      Twice during the front-seat interview the cop leaves the guy, unrestrained, no cuffs, in the front of the car, and exits the car himself. A gun is found in the car. The guy has no carry license. Finally the cop tells the guy he’s taking him in, and asks him to put on his seat belt. And they drive away like the suspect is a passenger.


  5. Nef05 says:

    “Anonymous” said over the holidays that they were going to take up the Kendrick Johnson case. Yesterday “they” posted a 10 minute LLMPapa – type video of the case.

    I use quotation marks because some posters/commenters are claiming it’s not Anonymous. BUT, I will say this – we’ve seen Steubenville videos, we’ve seen other case building videos, we’ve seen LLMPapa videos and if these aren’t “Anonymous”, they’re good enough to be taken seriously. They’ve collected all that’s been discussed here and more. So, it really doesn’t matter if it’s really “Anonymous” or not. Someone has taken up the cause, and they’re doing a very good job of it!

    • MDX says:

      The injuries to Kendrick’s neck are consistent with a lethal choke hold.

      • Nef05 says:

        Clearly, MDX. Clearly… and they knew that as soon as they saw it. I wonder if they knew it even BEFORE they saw it. I believe those boys knew they were screwed as soon as it happened and told daddy that night. And I believe daddy had all the pieces in place before the body was discovered. There’s no other reason for the way the crime scene was(not) processed and the ME was not called immediately. There’s no reason they couldn’t know that Kendrick had a fight with some other kid who they had no interest in protecting. Fresh blood at the scene that didn’t belong to the victim, but it was an “accident”? GTFOH

        The feds have been investigating this since Oct. 2013, apparently. I wonder what they can/cannot do since apparently a huge amount of evidence was not recovered from the scene. Not to mention the missing organs. It would appear that the police knew going in who was responsible and did everything in their power to make sure they were not held accountable in any manner whatsoever.

        What’s astounding to me is that they, and the prosecutor’s office in Mike Brown’s case, don’t seem to care that their corruption is blatant and clearly visible. These “law enforcement” entities are so invested in protecting the privilege of whites to kill black people with no consequences they put their own personal office(s) on the chopping block with a HUGE amount of hubris. Then again, with the feds lack of action on any of these cases, why wouldn’t they? Just some random thoughts…

        • Malisha says:

          Whenever people don’t care that their corruption is blatant and that it’s obvious that they have done something grossly wrong, you can bet that’s because they have already fixed whatever needed to be fixed so that there are no negative consequences.

          • Nef05 says:

            No doubt. I really hate people sometimes. I try not to since I think it makes me no better than the people who do this. But, they make it really, really, hard not to.

    • Two sides to a story says:

      Anonymous is whoever wants to be Anon, so it’s a little nonsensical when someone claims someone else isn’t really Anon.

  6. MDX says:


    Thanks for pointing out that inconsistency. There are so many that I lose count or have missed them 🙂

  7. Malisha says:

    Strange that this time around we don’t learn the name of Fogen’s latest girlfriend-victim? Strange that the press reports stop after we hear that Fogen is not “lucky with the ladies”? Strange that this latest in a chain of violent offenses is being ignored, when we heard more reports about him cussing out a driver or lurking around the dark alley of a gun shop at night than we’re hearing about an actual arrest and a felony charge?

    This article is interesting:

    • MDX says:

      It has led to a phenomena known as the Zimmerfail:

      • MDX says:

        Assume the worst about a small black male? – check.

        Try to be a cop wannabe hero and detain the thug? – check.

        Get other whites to assume that you are engaging a thug? – check.

        Get it caught on video – whoops.

      • MDX says:

        In Florida, as in many states, an adult has the right to carry a concealed weapon in a holster – which is what the man under attack was doing.

        Florida had better press charges for felony assault on this tackler.

        • Malisha says:

          Also, the gun nuts and NRA and all the Second Amendment and Tea Party loudmouths better weigh in on the side of the guy with the gun!

          Amazing. It’s the REAL thing that Fogen LIED about happening: a man minding his own business with his gun in its holster being victimized by thugs! Only THAT armed man didn’t “pull out [his] gun and shoot one time…shrug…smirk.”

          • MDX says:

            This also points to how the supposed key testimony by John Goode is actually not.

            All he claimed he saw was the arms of a person dressed somewhat like TM going down in a motion that “could” be punches.

            He never saw or heard blows strike.

            And there is no forensic evidence to support multiple MMA style blows to anything.

            And look at this video. From the perspective of the camera, it looks to me like the fat white guy with light hair got horny and wanted to leg hump that old black man 🙂

            But lack of pant stains would debunk my theory.

            However, a leg hump or take down of a “virtual thug” is still a felony.

            I bet Zimmerman saw this, got a hard on, and thought to go out and be a hero at Wall Mart. But he does not have his big gun, just a little Derringer that tends to go off prematurely.

          • Malisha says:

            just a little Derringer that tends to go off prematurely.


          • gblock says:

            And MDX, a set of arm motions that looked like it could be punching is inconsistent with what would have been required for Zimmy’s alleged head-bashing by Trayvon.

    • gblock says:

      If the press released the girlfriend’s name, she might be harassed and threatened by Zidiots trying to persuade her to drop the charges.

  8. Malisha says:

    The best quote I heard about the OJ Simpson case was (unfortunately) Jay Leno’s comment: “The LAPD is so bad they have to frame a guilty man.”

    • bettykath says:

      Author Dear has convinced me that OJ didn’t commit the murders but he is probably guilty of obstruction of justice or accomplice after the fact.

      • gblock says:

        Does that make sense? What would be his motive for that? Was he trying to cover up for something else he did, or for a family member?

      • Two sides to a story says:

        I stumbled upon a true crime program in Nov or Dec about a drifter / serial killer (of women) who claims he killed Ron and Nicole. He was supposed to be stealing back some valuable earrings from Nicole for OJ and went bonkers on them instead. The story was pretty convincing on many different levels – for one thing, it does sound like OJ to hire someone to steal something – and he seemed to know a lot of things about placement of bodies and evidence, etc. that only the murderer would. Can’t recall if the man is still in prison on death row, believe so, in FL or GA. He was an attractive young man at the time. Wish I’d taken some notes – I don’t recall the name of the program, the channel I was watching, etc. Perhaps the program or details about this serial killer can be found online somewhere. I believe he may be mentioned in Wikipedia as an unlikely story but the program certainly had me riveted. The serial killer sent his mom an angel pin about that time and Nicole was known to wear angel pins. The serial killer’s brother was interviewed extensively for this broadcast. At any rate, I found the story compelling and logical.

  9. bettykath says:

    OT: There is a blog thread on OJ at

    There is a book, “OJ is innocent and I can prove it” that brought about the thread. The thread has been up for a week or so but is still active. Well, two of us are discussing. 🙂

  10. bettykath says:

    I am so delighted that they are having trouble finding a jury willing to impose the death penalty.

  11. bettykath says:

    The death penalty is a conspiracy to commit murder under the flag of law.

  12. girlp says:

    I agree with them the death penalty is wrong, the state should not have the right to determine if someone should die.

  13. Malisha says:

    Wow. I actually am very encouraged that these jurors are saying all this and being honest about it. It is also excellent that many of them are admitting that they already believe him to be guilty! Perhaps “stealth juries” are not universal to our country; perhaps there are people with both intelligence and conscience! WOW. Maybe I better move to Boston!

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