Attorneys for Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev are expected to ask a judge to move their client's November trial.
Judge George A. O'Toole Jr. last week denied a motion that would have given attorneys Miriam Conrad and Judith Clarke until August to make their case for changing venues. At issue is whether Tsarnaev can receive a fair trial in the city where two bombs went off near the Marathon finish line on April 15, 2013, leaving three dead and more than 260 wounded.
At SL&P, my old pal Doug Berman wonders whether the prosecution would be well advised to go along with a change of venue. As sometimes happens, I agree with him.
First, I have my doubts about the federal district bench in Boston, one of the most flagrantly liberal in the country. Second, Boston itself, and Massachusetts in general, are way off to the left on the national political spectrum, and the state has no death penalty.
I would suggest moving the trial to the Eastern District of Virginia. It's not a hotbed of the Left, but it's not off to the Right, either. Virginia has a Democratic governor, two Democratic senators, and it just booted out Republican House Majority Leader Eric Cantor. In addition, it voted for President Obama twice, with margins both times that mirrored national voting. And a jury in the EDVA considered, but ultimately rejected, the death penalty for Zacarias Moussaoui.
The big advantage of bringing the case to EDVA, from my point of view, is easy to summarize. It would allow me to offer my services to my country, gratis. I truly relish writing Eric Holder volunteering to resume my former post as Senior Litigation Counsel for the USAO in order to do battle with well-respected arch rival, Judy Clarke. And to help give Mr. Tsarnaev the punishment he has earned.