Jury selection for Boston marathon suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev begins Monday in what will be one of the biggest terror trials in U.S. history. CCTV America’s Nick Harper reported this story from Boston.
The 21-year-old suspect is accused of creating two homemade bombs used to kill three people and injure more than 260 others near the finish line of the April 2013 Boston Marathon. Tsarnaev pleaded not guilty to 30 charges stemming from the attack, including the use of a “Weapon of Mass Destruction.”
Jury selection for Boston bombing suspect to begin MondayJury selection for Boston marathon suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev begins Monday in what will be one of the biggest terror trials in U.S. history. CCTV America's Nick Harper reported this story from Boston.
Stories on Tsarnaev saturated the local media and that will make jury selection tough. Some question whether he can get a fair trial in the very city that he is accused of bombing.
“I think it’s not going to be easy to find totally impartial jurors. The judge is very aware of that. The original jury pool will have approximately 1200 people from eastern Massachusetts. The judge will ask extensive questions of that pool and determine if anyone has made up their mind before they actually sit,” Bob Bloom, a law professor at Boston College said.
On Monday, potential jurors at the Moakley Court House will endure days of intense questioning as lawyers attempt to select 12 unbiased jurors.
Tsarnaev’s defense team has filed motions to move the trial twice due to impartiality concerns. Both were denied by U.S District Judge, George O’Toole.
Boston’s home town newspaper said that decision was a mistake. In a Jan. 2 Boston Globe editorial, the newspaper said: “There is no step O’Toole can take “Short of transferring the trial outside Massachusetts, that will alleviate the threat to the Constitution’s promise of a fair trial.”
In the past, similar cases have had venue changes. In 1997, the U.S. government tried Oklahoma City Bomber Timothy McVeigh in Denver, Colorado.
Judge O’Toole has said the McVeigh case is “not pertinent.”
Such extensive media coverage of the bombing will make it almost impossible to find jurors with no prior knowledge of the case, countered New York University communications professor Salvatore Fallica.
“No one can possibly be unaware of what’s been going on. With the immense publicity that can be generated in this culture a juror pool will definitely be polluted,” Fallica said.
If found guilty, Tsarnaev could face the death penalty on 17 of the charges.