There are new profiles of attorney Judy Clarke, recently appointed as an attorney for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.
"Newsmaker: Death penalty lawyer Clarke 'humanizes' client and jury," is by Joseph Ax for ReutersLegal.
When death penalty expert Judy Clarke joined the defense team for the Unabomber, Ted Kaczynski, she spent months trying to establish a rapport so she could convince him to accept a plea deal that would spare him capital punishment.
Though she and his other lawyers angered Kaczynski when they sought to introduce evidence of his mental illness, he eventually pleaded guilty in 1998 and received a life sentence.
"I think she has a real gift," David Kaczynski, his brother said on Tuesday, a day after Clarke was assigned to the defense team for Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. "Even if it's the smallest sliver of common ground, Judy's going to be able to find that. There's no doubt in my mind that Judy saw my brother's humanity despite the terrible things he'd done."
Tsarnaev, 19, is accused of setting off explosives April 15 near the finish line with his older brother, Tamerlan, killing 3 and injuring 264. He was arrested April 19 after a massive manhunt that left his brother dead following a police shootout.
Colleagues said Clarke is known for her meticulous research into the lives of her clients to find possible mitigating factors, and that she possesses a sharp sense of humor and a folksy style that belies her intense, no-nonsense preparation.
"She humanizes the client. But more importantly, she humanizes the jury, the lawyers, the judges," said Gerald Goldstein, a defense lawyer who has known Clarke for 30 years. "Judy's brilliant at making people reconsider their values ... to reconsider our place in making life or death decisions."
The Daily Beast posts, "Judy Clarke, the Defense Lawyer Appointed to Defend Dzhokhar Tsarnaev," by Michael Daly.
The 60-year-old woman, who has been called the most low-profile high-profile lawyer of all time, will pair that insight with her formidable legal knowledge and courtroom mastery in an effort to save him from the executioner, just as she did some of the most reviled killers in recent history.
“In addition to being a brilliant lawyer in terms of knowing the law and persuading a jury, perhaps her most impressive quality is her ability to connect and understand individuals that the rest of the world despises,” says her friend and fellow defense attorney Laurie Shanks. “She is really able not only to gain their trust but to make their actions understandable to others.”
Shanks notes: “It’s easy to look at someone who’s done something really horrible and see a monster. It is very difficult to look at monsters like that and see a human, and Judy is able to do that. You look at Jared Loughner and say, ‘Oh my God, that guy’s crazy,’ look at Susan Smith, ‘How despicable!’ You look at the guy in Boston, ‘How could you kill an 8-year-old?’ To be able to look at them and see their humanity is really a very unusual ability and unique ... not that she condones or expects others to condone their actions.”
In young Tsarnaev’s case, that promises to be in some ways harder and in some easier than in other cases. His actions cannot be as easily ascribed to mental illness as with Loughner, but he was apparently following the lead of his older brother and not acting on his own initiative, as were Rudolph and Kaczynski. Clarke no doubt will note that the victim in the carjacking recalls that when Tamerlan Tsarnaev spoke of the marathon bombing, he spoke in the first person, saying, “I did that.”
Clarke will most likely seek to avoid a trial and negotiate a plea. She has quoted a fellow defense attorney as once advising her, “The first step to losing a capital case is picking a jury.”
"Most want death penalty for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev if he is convicted of Boston bombing," is by Jon Cohen for the Washington Post. He's the director of polling for Capital Insight, the independent polling group of Washington Post Media. There is an infographic available, also.
A large majority of Americans support the death penalty for the suspect in the Boston Marathon bombing should he be convicted in federal court, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.
Overall, 70 percent of those surveyed say they support the death penalty for 19-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. While most Democrats and Republicans alike say they would support the death penalty for Tsarnaev, there are deep racial divisions on the matter, reflecting a common gap in public views of the death penalty itself.
Majority support for the federal approach crosses party lines, with 80 percent of Democrats, 73 percent of independents and 72 percent of Republicans saying they back a civilian trial. However, Democrats are by far the most apt to support it “strongly.” Democrats are also the least likely to strongly support the use of the death penalty, although most of them do support it, at least somewhat.
The bigger divide on the death penalty is between whites and African Americans. While 75 percent of whites say they would back the use of the death penalty were Tsarnaev convicted, the support among African Americans barely goes past the midpoint: 52 percent of African Americans would support the death penalty, and 43 percent would oppose it.
Hispanics also are less likely than whites to support the death penalty in this instance: 62 percent would support it; 35 percent would oppose it.
The large gap between whites and blacks has probably more to do with the death penalty itself than this particular case. In a recent Washington Post Maryland poll, 63 percent of whites and only 37 percent of African Americans said they favor the death penalty for people convicted of murder.
"The Atlantic Wire posts, "Americans Support the Death Penalty for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev — If It Gets That Far," on the polling. It's by Philip Bump and features infographics.
Americans seem very willing to have Tsarnaev treated as a criminal, not as some exceptional circumstance warranting extreme measures. The Post/ABC poll also suggests that America is satisfied with how the prosecution of Tsarnaev has proceeded. An even larger percentage supports trying the terror suspect in federal court, as opposed to using a military tribunal. Since Tsarnaev is a citizen, a tribunal wasn't a legal option, despite calls from Sen. Lindsey Graham that he be tried in that way. Even conservatives strongly disagreed with that idea.
"Feds May Rule Out Death Penalty to Make Tsarnaev Talk," is the New York Magazine post by Margaret Hartmann.
Federal agents were reportedly able to question Dzhokhar Tsarnaev for two days before he was read his Miranda rights and stopped talking, but they still want more information from him, and might be willing to make a deal to get it. Two government sources tell CNN that talks have been underway for the past few days to have Tsarnaev continue speaking with investigators in return for prosecutors agreeing not to seek the death penalty.
The sources stressed that talks between prosecutors and Tsarnaev's lawyers are still in the very early stages, and any deal would be a long way off. It's normal for the two sides to begin communicating at this point, and a Justice Department official denied that they're working out a deal.
There are also new developments in the case, noted in two AP filings: "Police: 3 more in custody in Boston bombings," by Rodrique Ngowi; and, "Lawyer: 2 arrested anew are suspect's friends," by Michelle R. Smith and Denise Lavoie.
Earlier coverage of the Boston Marathon bombing case begins at the link.