Mercy for Dzhokhar? [POLL]
So now comes word that there's a possibility young Dzhokhar Tsarnaev could very well receive life imprisonment if convicted of the crimes he's alleged to have committed.
In the opinion of some lawyers who’ve defended clients not too unlike him, he could cop a plea, and seeing is how it’s unlikely he has a criminal record; the possibility of serving life in prison is not completely out of the question.
There’s also the influence of his older brother Tamerlan is said to have had on him.
Lawyers seem to feel that if Dzhokhar could lay the blame entirely at his brother’s feet and give the government whatever information he can, same outcome.
Fact is, how do you feel about a verdict of life in prison for the young suspect?
Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is likely to avoid the death penalty, could entirely avoid a trial and in the hands of the right lawyer might win a modicum of mercy, argued top-ranked defense attorneys who have represented some of the nation’s most notorious terrorists and killers.
“We know he’s 19 years old, we don’t think he has a criminal record or been in trouble before. There are a lot of people out there that seem to have warm, positive things about him,” said Tamar Birckhead, whose client, Richard Reid, tried to blow an airliner out of the sky but got life by copping a plea. “To predict he’ll get a life sentence is not unreasonable.”
Stephen Jones’ Oklahoma City bomber client Timothy McVeigh got death, but he said he believes the baby-faced Tsarnaev can pin the Boston Marathon and last week’s deadly final rampage on his slain big brother and seek mercy as a kid who was easily swayed.
“If the younger brother can shed any light on the circumstances of the older brother’s alleged involvement,” said Jones, “that’s valuable information that the government would want.”
Geoffrey Fieger, whose clients have included assisted-suicide advocate Dr. Jack Kevorkian, said, “Nothing about the outcome is assured.”
Fieger and the other top defense lawyers say the government’s case is fraught with weak spots that a sharp defense attorney could exploit, starting with the possibility the feds failed to immediately Mirandize Tsarnaev, which could leave a gaping hole a good lawyer could drive his case through.
“This case is ripe for somebody who’s got the courage to stand up and talk about the system and the railroading of criminal defendants,” Fieger said. “He’s been denied the right to a fair trial. And America’s ...cheering like it was some kind of sporting event. That wasn’t a very flattering image to the rest of the world. Cheering like they won the World Series.”
Birckhead picked through the government’s indictment yesterday and deemed it “circumstantial.”
“You have to ask, is that proof beyond a reasonable doubt that he knowingly carried explosives in that knapsack and with the intent to bring about mass destruction?” Birckhead asked. “And that’s how a defense attorney could analyze it and ask a jury to think about it. The burden of the U.S. government is to prove each element of each of these charges beyond a shadow of a doubt.”
Feiger made Kevorkian’s trial a public discussion of doctor-assisted suicide. His client served eight years of a 10- to 25-year second-degree murder conviction. “You use the bully pulpit if you can to make a comment on America and our rights,” Fieger said. “It’s the big picture, not the little picture.”
Jones, who said the defense will want a change of venue away from Boston, cautioned that prosecutors will have compelling evidence: “It would appear the strongest evidence would be the devices and the flight to avoid capture, and the running gun battle.”
Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz, a member of OJ Simpson’s “dream team,” said, “The case will go down one of two ways. Either plea bargain ... or he’ll want to become a martyr and he’ll admit everything, boast about the crime, seek to justify it and demand the death penalty.”
Last night I asked the question as to if you were a lawyer, could you possibly take this case? The challenge would be tempting enough for some, I would think.
And in most people’s eyes, Dzhokhar is already tried, convicted, and sentenced to die.
I’d like to believe that justice will prevail for the 4 victims lost in the horrific attack and subsequent escape attempt, which can only mean, in my eyes, a death penalty sentence.
Given all the above, do you feel justice would be served if Dzhokhar Tsarnaev were to be given life imprisonment?