In her opening statement, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's attorney, Judy Clarke, admitted his responsibility:
“It was him.”
“So you might say, why a trial?” famed capital case defender Judy Clarke told the jury of 18 in her opening statement, before the government’s first evidence was submitted — hours of horrific photos and video depicting burned flesh, shattered bones, mouths agape in silent screams, rivers of blood and the sound of sneakers slipping on smoldering BB shrapnel.
“We do not and will not at any point in this case sidestep, attempt to sidestep, Jahar’s responsibility for his actions, but the indictment alleges, and the prosecutor talked with you about why, and we think the question of why is important,” Clarke said.
So. Is this likely to shut up the CTs? Somehow, I think it will just be added to the narrative, ie, the lawyer is in on it.
Of course not, his Lawyer is a member of the Bar Association, which isn't a strictly government organization but does have some weight of law and has been the subject of conspiracy theories in the past. That only puts Clark one degree of separation away from "them."
Seriously, though, I think it'll just shift people from some versions of the theory to others. Not every truther claims the whole thing was fake, some claim Tsarnaev was recruited by the CIA's fake terrorist groups and armed with a fake bomb, with the whole event being faked around what the attacker believed was a real attack, and others claim it was a real attack, but that Tsarnaev was similarly a government patsy. Then there's the versions where Tsarnaev is actually a government agent carrying out the (either real or faked) attack...
Those versions are all compatible with the defense - for the patsy versions he actually believes he's responsible but is a fall guy, and for the agent versions he's confessing to sell the lie, and when he goes to jail they'll just quietly stage his death at the hands of other inmates and spring him.
And, like I said, the one version (fake/innocent) that is incompatible with the defense's statements, there's the argument that his lawyer is too close to "them" to be trusted and is just ensuring her client can't defend himself properly. That's a pretty far fetched line, but with less believing truthers shifting to theories more compatible with real world events, the ones left still clinging to this version will be the more extreme ones who are less pursuaded by reality. Similar effect to purging the moderates from a religion or political party, the ones left behind are the most obstinate hardliners.
If CT's are going to claim that the lawyer is trying to ruin Dzokhar Tsarnaev's defense, they would be ignoring efforts to strike his hospital statements from the court record. In addition, and we'll have to wait and see on this, if Tsarnaev is spared the death penalty it will probably be because the defense made a strong case on his behalf that he was a follower, under the zealous spell of his brother Tamerlan, and not an architect of the attack.
The case that the lawyer is somehow complicit in a conspiracy, would be plainly illogical. But that's never stopped a CT.
While the myriad of wacky theories and allegations range from easy to impossible to disprove (not impossible because they're true, but in the same way that disproving alleged "unicorns" is impossible)
since even Dzhokhar's own lawyer was unwilling to dispute that he placed a bomb in a backpack at the scene,
only the most unhinged would continue to maintain the discredited "wrong backpack" claim...
but yes, other conspiracy theories (like about The One Fund) will not fall as quickly and obviously...
It would also be ignoring a lot of things, like how courts even work. This particular defense leaves a defense incompetence appeal wide open - "My lawyer sold me down the river!" is basically why we allow that as grounds for appeal.
That's not a bad door to leave open for a client, assuming you're actually trying to get him a reduced charge or commuted sentence. But that's kind of a gaping hole to leave open in a vast multinational conspiracy.
But, like you said, when has that stopped anyone? And, like I said, if less believing CTs drift to versions of the theory compatible with an admission of guilt, the ones still clinging to the innocence theory will probably be the least reasonable lost causes among them.
I think Pigeonkak had that: Their case seems to be that he was involved, but did not share in his brother's extremism - that his brother did the planning and preparation, and coerced or possibly misled him into helping with the legwork. In short, that there was premeditation, but it wasn't the defendant's premeditation.
Edit: Simpler way to put it, they're admitting to the act, but not to the charges. A similar case would be a person who admits he killed another in an accident, but was charged with first degree murder. He can plead not guilty to that charge without recanting his admission, because his actions don't meet all the criteria for first degree murder.
It won't get a not guilty verdict (maybe in a less high profile case involving an individual attack and not a bombing, particularly if the brother were still alive to be charged, but not here), but it could get a lower charge or at least avoid the death penalty, and if they don't have him say it in his own words, it could leave open a later desperation appeal for incompetent defense, so when all else probably fails they can roll the dice and maybe get a do-over for a plea deal.
Essentially, he pleaded 'not guilty' to all 30 charges against him. This is not incompatible with the defenses statement that they do not dispute the events of the Boston Bombing. They are arguing that he was not the orchestrator of the events, a pawn in the thrall (or fear) of his brother Tamerlan. Basically, because they have little chance of proving he simply didn't commit the crimes, they are copping to it and claiming mitigating circumstances for a lesser verdict and sentence. It's a last ditch defense to avoid the death penalty which could still be on the table.
It is very possible that the jury could return a mixture of guilty/not guilty verdicts. I doubt that, but each of the 30 charges will be reviewed individually even though the plea was 'not guilty' to all of them.
His attorney's job is not necessarily to get him off, or prove he didn't do it, the attorney's job is to ensure he receive a fair trial. At least that's what I heard Ron Kuby say when asked the same question.
If you want to be entirely cynical about it, their job is to get the lowest possible penalty for their client. The lowest possible penalty is not always "none at all," there are a lot of cases where going for that will probably get your client the highest penalty, not the lowest. Sometimes getting the lowest penalty means a plea deal for a lower charge, sometimes it means a guilty plea and claiming mitigating circumstances, and sometimes it means fighting the degree of a charge rather than its facts.
Isn't the trial supposed to discover the truth? Umm... people...nothing is "debunked" here...not yet. This "admission of guilt" tact by his lawyer does nothing to quell those looney CT's nor does it bring us any closer to knowing what exactly happened and why. On a core level this doesn't add up. If the kid did write a confession in the boat and it in fact said he can't wait to join his happy bro and collect his afterlife bliss- than why is he pleading not guilty? It would suit the middle eastern extremist profile to claim responsibility and die for their "cause". For them there's no honor or point to trying to weasel out of the death penalty. There are no beautiful virgins to be had while rotting away for the next 60 years in a prison cell!
The thread isn't trying to debunk anything in particular.
Saying pleading not guilty doesn't add up because extremists are supposed to want to die for their cause isn't really evidence for anything being fishy, you're just projecting your idea of how he should behave onto him.
Isn't the trial supposed to discover the truth? [Not really...much will still be unknown]
Umm... people...nothing is "debunked" here...not yet. [I'm guessing that this has much to do with why this thread is not marked: "Debunked"]
This "admission of guilt" tact by his lawyer does nothing to quell those looney CT's
nor does it bring us any closer to knowing what exactly happened and why. [I think both points are in error: A) While certainly nothing will "quell" all CTs, many have obviously been
"quelled": We have less dopey YouTube videos, less protestors, etc. B) As to not being "any closer" to
knowing exactly what happened, that would only be true if we were ignorant of the truckloads of previously
unreleased evidence presented during the prosecution's detailed case.]
On a core level this doesn't add up. If the kid did write a confession in the boat and it in fact said he can't
wait to join his happy bro and collect his afterlife bliss- than why is he pleading not guilty? [It adds up fine: We don't know if the plea was entirely Dzhokhar's decision, and even if it was, would any rational person be genuinely shocked to find that someone later made a choice that could literally save their own life? Most people don't do their best decision-making while bleeding, hiding, being fired upon in a 24-foot Seabird.]
It would suit the middle eastern extremist profile to claim responsibility and die for their "cause". [Perhaps...but if you've followed the trial at all, that's the entire point of the low-key defense:
That little brother absolutely does NOT fit what you call "the middle eastern extremist profile"...
that he was just a kid following his big brother, because he trusted or feared him.]
For them there's no honor or point to trying to weasel out of the death penalty.
There are no beautiful virgins to be had while rotting away for the next 60 years in a prison cell! [Again, since the defense's whole argument is that Dzhokhar does NOT fit this
"the middle eastern extremist profile," of yours, this stuff is entirely irrelevant.
On a core level this doesn't add up. If the kid did write a confession in the boat and it in fact said he can't wait to join his happy bro and collect his afterlife bliss- than why is he pleading not guilty?
There's two elements to a prosecutor's claim in a trial, both of which have separate criteria that need to be separately met to obtain a conviction:
1. The act itself
2. The degree of the charge
Tsarnev's confession applies to the first part, but his plea applies to the second.
Say you killed a man in a traffic accident in which you were ruled at fault. You do not deny any of that. However, the prosecutor then charges you with first degree murder instead of a lower manslaughter charge. You can plead not guilty to those charges while still not denying fault in the accident or the man's death, because even though the act itself took place, it does not meet the criteria for the charges filed for it.
His lawyer's job (if you want to take the cynical viewpoint on lawyering) is to get him the lowest possible punishment. In criminal courts, "lowest possible" almost never means "none at all."
The first is the presumption of innocence. No man may be convicted of a crime unless and until the prosecution prove him guilty beyond reasonable doubt by admissible evidence, or (which amounts to the same thing) he confesses his guilt by entering a guilty plea before the court. As it is sometimes said: “An English court is a court of law, not a court of morals”. Thus he may in fact be guilty, but that is far from being an end of it.
Next, a defending advocate is not there to stand in judgment upon his own client. On the contrary, he is there to act as a mouthpiece, to make every proper point and to raise every possible argument as eloquently as the client would do himself, if only he had the skill. The whole world may be against the client (and I have had notorious cases where the hostility from the press, the wider public, and even the judge, is palpable), but the defending lawyer must ever be his champion.
When I teach young advocates, I tell them that the greatest possible betrayal is where the defending counsel forgets himself and makes it appear to his tribunal that he does not believe in the truth of his own client’s case, even for a moment and even by some accidental body language, such as an inappropriate sigh or gesture.
Thus I frequently give my client a very hard time in private in seeking to confront him with the flaws in his own case, and sometimes in seeking to persuade him to accept the inevitable and to plead guilty. But if my advice is rejected, and provided he has not confessed to me privately, as few do, it is my duty thereafter to suppress whatever private misgivings I may have, and to “go out on stage” and give it my all.
Nor may I pick and choose my cases according to whether I like or dislike my client, or have a personal view on the crime with which he is charged. We operate according to a “cab rank” rule, which means that (just like a black taxi) I must take him to his destination provided the fee is appropriate, whether or not it is convenient to me personally. I do know of a famous female barrister who would never accept to defend an alleged rapist, but that was in my view a shameful betrayal of our professional ethic.
The good sense behind these professional principles is obvious. Courts are completely unpredictable places, and innocent people sometimes appear to be guilty, and vice versa. This does not just happen in drama and crime novels, it happens regularly in real life, I assure you Jerome.
Likewise, any experienced lawyer will tell you that he often wins the cases he expects to lose, and loses the cases he expects to win. If the advocate were once allowed to sit in judgment upon his own client, it would mean that the innocent man against whom all the cards are stacked could never have his day in court, and that by extension, the liberty of the citizen would soon be lost.
Finally, it may surprise you to know that I am usually the very person worst placed “to know” if my client is guilty. Most guilty people deny it to the heavens. They try hard above all to persuade their own advocate to believe in them. I sometimes joke that there are no guilty people left in Britain’s jails.
Of the 30 charges, 17 carried the possibility of the death penalty. Tsarnaev was found guilty of all 30, including conspiracy, use of a weapon of mass destruction, possession and use of a firearm, and carjacking.
I know this is late but this is my view of a defence lawyer. This is based on experience but they are there to represent your view/plea in the best possible light. A lawyer will not knowingle lie and when told the truth will advise you on the best possible plea. Even if you said you did it confidentiality allows them to withold that information as normally they can't be cross examined.
“HOW CAN A MOTHER FEEL WHOSE SON IS IN THE CLAWS OF A PREDATOR PREPARING TO TEAR HIM TO PIECES LIKE MEAT??? THEY WILL PAY FOR MY SONS AND THE SONS OF ISLAM, PERMANENTLY!!! THE TEARS OF THEIR MOTHERS WILL BE FUEL FOR THEM IN HELL, AND ALSO THEIR BLOOD, I AM DOUBTLESS AND ETERNALLY GLAD THAT I KNOW THIS FROM THE WORDS OF THE CREATOR, NOT JUST ANYONE’S WORDS!!!!!!”
Tsarnaeva — who lived with her sons in Cambridge, Mass., before returning to Dagestan in 2012 after being arrested for shoplifting — had been virtually silent during the trial,notes Examiner. But in the days following Dzhokhar’s 2013 arrest, Tsarnaeva called the charges against the brothers “all lies and hypocrisy.
On the evening of April 14, three members of the Tsarnaev family met at a café in the city of Grozny, close to their ancestral home in southern Russia, and told a TIME reporter how the trial had torn their family apart, how helpless they felt against what they see as an American conspiracy against them and, above all, how they still hope to convince Tsarnaev to fire his legal team and seek to overturn the verdict on appeal.
“It would be so much easier if he had actually committed these crimes,” says his aunt Maret Tsarnaeva. “Then we could swallow this pain and accept it.”