Federal appeals court rejects motion to move Boston Marathon bombing trial News
Federal appeals court rejects motion to move Boston Marathon bombing trial

[JURIST] The US Court of Appeals for the First Circuit [official website] on Friday rejected [opinion, PDF] a motion by Dzhokhar Tsarnaev to move the Boston Marathon bombing trial out of Boston. The judges, divided in their decision 2-1, decided whether a jury selected from more than 5 million eastern Massachusetts residents could be fair and impartial. The majority concluded [NYT report] that mere knowledge of a case is not the same thing as prejudice. Tsarnaev’s attorneys have tried four previous times to move the trial and were rejected three times by the federal district court and once before by the federal appeals court. In a 45-page dissent, Judge Juan Torruella stated:

The press coverage of this case—beginning with the bombing itself and the subsequent manhunt culminating with the shelter-in-place order, continuing thereafter with stories of the victims, Boston’s coming together and healing as one united city, and the coverage of the pretrial events—is unparalleled in American legal history. Given the impact of the bombing and subsequent press coverage on the entire city, it is absurd to suggest that Tsarnaev will receive a fair and impartial trial in the Eastern Division of the District of Massachusetts.

The Boston Marathon bombing trial is set to begin Wednesday after lengthy delays. In January a judge for the US District Court for the District of Massachusetts rejected the latest plea by lawyers [JURIST report] for Tsarnaev to pause jury selection for his trial due to the attacks in Paris. The judge, in a short ruling, noted that he had given potential jurors a questionnaire to asses whether an impartial jury could be chosen in this case. Also in January the jury selection began [JURIST report] with more than 1,200 potential jurors being called to the federal courthouse for consideration. Tsarnaev had been charged [JURIST report] with one count of using and conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction against persons and property within the US resulting in death, and one count of malicious destruction of property by means of an explosive device resulting in death.