Updates from Frank!
During a prison visit with his sister, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the accused Boston Marathon bomber, made a damaging statement that was overheard by an FBI agent, federal prosecutors said today in a court filing.
The filing said that Tsarnaev, despite the presence of an FBI agent who was legally allowed in the room, along with an employee of the federal public defender’s office, “was unable to temper his remarks and made a statement to his detriment which was overheard by the agent.”
The filing did not say what the statement was.
The filing was made as part of an ongoing battle between the prosecution and defense over special administrative measures, special prison restrictions, that have been imposed on Tsarnaev.
The defense alleged in a court filing last week that the FBI has been monitoring their preparation for the case and the US Bureau of Prisons has attempted to screen digital documents that the defense team has brought to prison to review with Tsarnaev, in violation of his constitutional rights to mount his case without government interference.
Tsarnaev, 20, faces federal charges that could bring him the death penalty in the April 15 bombings that killed three people and wounded more than 260 others. He also faces state charges in the death of an MIT police officer several days later. He is currently being held without bail at a federal prison facility in Devens.
In the filing today, the prosecutors said the FBI agent was legally permitted to be in the room under the special restrictions.
“As such, his observations … were permissible. The defense provides no support for the contention that the agent was required to close himself off from the conversation. There was no expectation of privacy on the party [sic] of Tsarnaev, his visitors, or the investigator.”
Prosecutors disclosed in the filing that Tsarnaev’s attorneys had requested in December that Tsarnaev be able to meet with each of his sisters. Since then, Tsarnaev has received two social visits. Such non-legal visits are restricted to one immediate family member under the special restrictions, prosecutors said.
The defense also asked that an investigator from the federal public defender’s office be able to attend the visits. During the second visit, the investigator started to explain the rationale behind the special restrictions to Tsarnaev’s sister, prosecutors said.
Tsarnaev made the damaging statement that was overheard by the FBI agent “in response to Garvey’s comment regarding the prohibition against providing information to third parties outside of the prison,” prosecutors said.
Prosecutors also said that the Bureau of Prisons, under the special restrictions, reviews all materials that are brought into a BOP facility. Prosecutors said the review is a “cursory one and does not involve a detailed review of the material.”
“With respect to digital media, the review is to determine whether or not the item contains any viruses. The review has never been substantive,” prosecutors said.
Prosecutors said that on Jan. 24, the defense brought a disk to the prison that had not been reviewed. A BOP official asked to review the disk. When the defense refused to allow it to be reviewed, it was not given to Tsarnaev.
“If the defense chooses not to comply with [the special restrictions], the material will not be provided to the defendant. That is the choice of the defense,” prosecutors said.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev defense seeks trial in September 2015
how did the justice department come to the decision that the death penalty was appropriate in this case?
“We were waiting for you on the 18th at home, not in our worst nightmares did we imagine this.” - Anzor Tsarnaev
So the Justice Department says it will seek to execute Dzhokhar Tsarnaev if he is convicted of participating in the bombings that killed two young women and a little boy while maiming scores of others.
If I had to bet, I’d say this was a tactical decision made in Washington, hoping to persuade Tsarnaev’s lawyers to cop a plea in exchange for life in prison.
No trial, no mess.
But what if the government really wants to kill him?Putting the moral issues aside for a moment, from a practical point of view, the idea of the government showing its revulsion at Tsarnaev’s taking of human life by taking his doesn’t make sense.
Many of Tsarnaev’s victims oppose the idea of killing him. There are others who would arm wrestle for the chance to start the lethal drip in the death chamber.
But, for argument’s sake, step away from the concept of revenge or even the notion that the punishment should fit the crime, and ask: what is accomplished by executing Dzhokhar Tsarnaev?
Surely, one of the reasons that he and especially his venal, older brother embarked on their nihilistic rampage was to draw attention to what they saw as some kind of US-led war against Muslims. Never mind that their hatred of the very country that gave them sanctuary and opportunity was wrapped in bitter selfishness, ignorance, and insecurity. Consider instead that one of the primary motivations for their action was to publicize their misguided beliefs and to associate themselves with some extreme form of Islam in which the killing of infidels, even innocents, is seen as somehow justifiable.
What better way to reward Dzhokhar Tsarnaev than to make a martyr out of him. If he is convicted and thrown in a prison cell for the rest of his life, he will be forgotten by other jihadists even before they realized he existed. But throw him into the protracted appellate process that accompanies every death penalty case, send him to his execution amid an unrelenting, worldwide media glare, and he will become a cause célèbre among those who would like to see Boston Marathon bombings every day.
A dead Dzhokhar Tsarnaev will become a piece of propaganda, an imagined grievance, for the very people who cheered the carnage on Boylston Street. It’s playing into their hands.
Given his circumstances, I can’t imagine a convicted Dzhokhar Tsarnaev would ever be placed in a prison’s general population. But if he were, it would only be a matter of time before some other inmate sidled up to him to ask the ageless question, “What are you in for?”
Tsarnaev could go on with some nonsense, like the infantile tripe he scrawled on the boat he hid in after he ran over his own brother in his haste to escape the cops.
Or he could tell the truth and say: “I placed a bomb hidden in a backpack right in back of an 8-year-old boy. It killed the boy, and it ripped the leg off the boy’s 7-year-old sister. Some of the shrapnel went into the eye of their mother. The bomb blew some people’s legs off, too. Then we killed a cop, and tried to take his gun, but we couldn’t figure out how to open the holster. That’s what I’m in for.”
Putting Dzhokhar Tsarnaev to death is, in the end, putting him to sleep. That’s not much of a punishment.
Let him live. Let him scratch the days into the wall of his cell. Let him count the weeks, the months, the years. Let him grow old alone and miserable. Maybe then, maybe only then, will he realize what he has forfeited and what he has robbed from the people who loved Martin Richard, Krystle Campbell, Lu Lingzi, MIT cop Sean Collier and everybody else who lost a limb and a little piece of their soul that sunny, horrible Patriots Day.