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21 April 2013


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Those shouting for a 'Guantanamo' approach are expressing their own (or pandering to popular)craving for revenge. What they really want is pain and torture.

Every time that we commit to ad hoc judicial actions (e.g. killing of Americans abroad or imprisoning them arbitrarily at home), we strike a blow at our entire legal system and its underlying principles - while setting woeful precedents. Our leaders used to know that instinctively; they no longer do. Let's see how long we will have to wait for a declaration on this from Holder & Obama.

As for Senator Graham and his ilk: they are winners of the trifecta in the stupidity sweepstakes: dimwits, ignorant and crass. Why Graham is treated by the media as some kind of Senatorial statseman is beyond me.

John Minnerath

You answered your last question in your first sentence.
As far as Holder and Obama, more of the same I'm sure with some CYA comments mixed in to be sure someone else is blamed when things go south.

William R. Cumming

Massachuestts has NO death penalty! The federal government still does have a death penalty for various offenses.

Babak Makkinejad

Yes, I agree with you, you are quite right.


I hope they try him in Fed court...and unless they find something 'big' and surprising, i.e. some direct connection to the groups named, explicitly, or implicitly, in the 2001 AUMF, I believe it is a slam dunk they will try him in Fed Court. (although the US Attorney in Boston is a grandstanding, ambitious, buffoon, as far as I'm concerned)

What I do think the Feds want to do is push the 'public safety exception' out as far as they can. Days certainly. Perhaps weeks, if they can. That sets a new 'norm' for the next time.


Try the suspect in federal court. He is an American citizen.

The reality of human nature is that scarce resources, overpopulation, and imposition of foreign rule will radicalize most young men. The movie “Red Dawn” is an Americanized version of this tale.

With the youth unemployment in Spain reaching 60%, the Caucuses will not be the only region on earth exporting radicalized young men.

Lindsey Graham is a lapdog to the wealthy. With their greed for power and wealth by privatization and off shoring jobs, they all fail to realize that men who are paid to guard their gated communities will flee at the slightest danger. The only men who will risk their lives guarding their communities must have their families living inside the gates.


On the surface it makes sense to try this dirtbag in Federal Court, for PL's reasons and no capital punishment in Mass.
(who could have guessed THAT?).
I think that the push for "enemy combatant" is based on a mistrust of the Obama/Holder Justice Dept.



From watching them I would say that the Obama/holder justice department is little different from the Justice Department of the preceding administration. pl


I fail to see Lindsey Graham's point on enemy combatants and the fear of using the civilian court system. I also don't see the point of not extending to him his rights as an American. The people of Massachusetts will welcome a competent and fair trial for his guy in either federal or state court.


I'm operating from a distant perception.
The Black Panther case in Phila., various suits against Arizona.
It seems to be a place of selective (political?) prosecutions.


Jonst, you sound as though you have experience in Boston Fed. Court. Care to detail? I'm procrastinating and would like to hear a story.



that's fair. pl


I am probably swimming against the tide here, but I want the punk to be tried in Mass. To give the the people of Mass. their day in court and then try, (and presumably) convict, and then sentence to 4 counts of murder and 175+ counts of attempted murder, to be served consecutively. He is a murderer, plan and simple. Let him serve the rest of his days in a small, maximum security cell.

Mark Logan

Seems to me Obama is afraid to be called weak on "terror". Too much of that triangulation stuff.

All: Minor humor alert. Chertoff. Meet the Press. Today. Eye makeup practical joke?

The Twisted Genius

Unless the investigation and the FBI interrogation reveals a wider conspiracy, I believe Tsarnaev should be tried for murder and attempted murder in a Massachusetts court. The lack of a death penalty doesn't bother me. That's something the people of Massachusetts decided and will have to live with. I don't think it should be a federal case unless the state court decides to relinquish jurisdiction.

Graham's talk about enemy combatants is asinine. He's a pompous blowhard obsessed with all things GWOT.


Graham is a soft spoken fraud, especially on this issue, and so are many of the conservatives who sing the same tune.

The mere idea that in federal court criminals could get away lightly, 'abuse the legal system' by having gotten read let alone exercised their rights is patently absurd if one looks at the sentences prosecutors were reliably able to secure in federal court.

The only reason why Miranda is seen as a problem is that it is to be applied directly after arrest, in often chaotic circumstances, with cops being stressed, subjects being dazed or intoxicated. Under such circumstances, errors happen. For lack of a better rule in place a court enacted Miranda to ward off abuse. I.e. the only reason that ruling is there, was the lack of a proper legislation in place that took into account rights. So Graham, and all the conservatives who wine about Miranda, should think a second hard about good governance, or the demerits of legislative omission.

In Germany we read the rights on police interrogation, more practical, and hardly tyrannical. So if Miranda on arrest is stupid or doesn't work, so what? Find a better rule.

And as for the alleged lack of severity in federal court? How was that, 'aiding the enemy' is when an old lady in Switzerland, even erroneously, sends money to an organisation 'linked to terrorists', qualifying her for those absurd terms American law sees for for crimes, like, say, 300 years, adding the 30 year sentences for all ten offences?

Considering all the coercive power in the hands of a prosecutor and the Justice Department, the length of America's absurd terms, the formidable power of plea bargains and other procedural rules, Graham's charges that the criminal justice system is too soft are ludicrous. Probably you don't have a fair trial in any US court any more as soon as your charges contain the label 'terrorism'.

But clearly, military tribunals are needed, because federal law just isn't harsh enough. That's because indefinite detention is so much harsher than a 300 year sentence. Graham wants his electorate to believe that one guy Abu Whatnot will just sit out these 300 years, to return to his terrorist ways afterwards.

This bastard ... he will just abuse the criminal justice system ... and do whatever, after he has served his time. Unacceptable. And anyway, my head is spinning over so much complexity, can't we just drone-strike that problem away?

P. Lee

Remember, remember, Aaron Swartz.


The Boston USAG has miscalculated before...Only time will tell if she has learned from the error of her ways.

robt willmann

The Boston Marathon bombing case can certainly be tried in either State or Federal Court if the facts match an offense. As William Cumming said, there is no death penalty in Massachusetts and some federal offenses carry the death penalty. With the loose federal conspiracy law, loose rules of evidence, some vaguely worded offenses, and the death penalty, federal court is where it is headed, and surely the case will be moved to a different city. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev should be brought before a judge Monday since he has obviously been in custody at the hospital.

The case is becoming more and more intriguing. The Watertown Police Chief, Edward Deveau, tells Wolf Blitzer of CNN a version of what happened when the older brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, is confronted. The interview is split between two videos, and his description starts at 6 minutes into the first video on top and continues into the second one, both of which are here--


The same two videos are individually here--



His version is that the two Tsarnaev brothers are in different cars, they stop, get out, and start shooting. There was a gunfight with at least six officers for 5 to 10 minutes, and a pressure cooker bomb was also thrown at them. Tamerlan then emerges from under cover and starts walking down the street shooting at the police officers trying to get closer, between five and 10 feet away, exchanging gunfire. He runs out of ammunition. An officer tackles him in the street, and two or three officers are handcuffing him in the street. At that time the black SUV carjacked vehicle comes directly at them, they dive out of the way, and the driver [Dzhokhar] runs over his brother and drags him a short distance down the street, effectively killing his brother. Dzhokhar drives down two or three streets away, dumps the vehicle and runs and gets away.

However, on a Boston morning radio show on Friday, 19 April, a lady is on who says she is an eyewitness to the incident with Tamerlan and she gives a significantly and dramatically different version of what happened--


She is staying at her boyfriend's place and her story includes--

"We rushed to the front of the house-- it's a two family house -- and into his roommate's room where we saw the first suspect get hit by a Police SUV, and then after he was hit shot multiple times. Minutes later an ambulance had arrived. Put the suspect into the ambulance and then off. Within moments we were surrounded by Swat, Boston Police, Watertown Police, Cambridge Police. It's been tough, watching the neighbors pulled out of their house at gunpoint by the Swat. It's been a really long night [breaks up with emotion]".
One of the radio hosts asks, "And did you say that the suspect was hit by a police SUV, in other words, a vehicle hit him first? The lady answers, "Correct".

"I can also say from what we saw early this morning, I'd be hard pressed to think that he was actually pronounced dead at the hospital. I mean, from the injuries that he incurred in the street I would say he was probably dead when he was put in the ambulance."
"... but towards the end you could hear multiple rounds which sounds like it's coming from two different weapons. So, you know, did I see it? I did not see him fire, I just remember him get shot multiple times. So I mean just from what I can remember and from what I can hear I believe towards the end that there was some retaliation on his end, but I didn't personally see it."

The Watertown Police Chief and the eyewitness agree that a vehicle hit Tamerlan. But the police version has Dzhokhar in the carjacked vehicle running over his brother, while the eyewitness says a police SUV hit Tamerlan and then the police in essence executed him on the street.

Later, a resident, no longer under a de facto house arrest, or "sheltering in place" as it was called, goes out to his boat and finds Dzhokhar. He calls the police who converge on his place like a swarm of locusts, probably making so much noise that Vladimir Putin could hear it all the way to Russia. CBS News takes the following curious photograph there of Dzhokhar with the accompanying text saying that he "sits on the boat"--


Where was the CBS cameraman when that photo or video frame was taken? When was it taken? More shooting must have happend after that picture was taken, and Dzhokhar ends up allegedly with a neck wound and tracheotomy.

How much more valuable it would have been for law enforcement to go quietly to the residence where the boat was, quietly get neighbors to keeps things hush hush, remain concealed with a tranquilizer gun, and when Dzhokhar showed himself, pop him with the tranquilizer dart; after all, biologists do it all the time. A single "primitive" jungle tribesman, used to doing such things, could have easily done it with a blowgun before Dzhokhar realized what was happening.

Neither the illegal "lockdown" on 19 April nor the high tech devices such as forward looking infrared sensors found Dzhokhar. As usual, it was a tip from the public; humint, one might say. All the "lockdown" accomplished was to psychologically desensitize the U.S. public to cordon and search operations with forceful demands and no warrants, and demands to see identification of people on the street.

And the nature of any contact or relationship the brothers might have had with the FBI? That is another interesting issue.


Given the perp's age, and the international dimension, high profile aspect of the case....anyone interested in (relatively speaking)a swift and less complex case here should thank their lucky stars there is no death penalty in Mass. Although what fed charges make come in the mix could make that speculation of mine tricky. The feds may go for the kill. But if they do..it will really complicate things...


No direct working knowledge...though I have worked with many lawyers who do have contact with Ortiz often. And then I have my own observations, as a lawyer, watching her...she wants to be Gov. Or the Senate perhaps.

Anyone who says, literally, 5 minutes after the perp's arrest, "now MY long journey begins"...although I give her credit...as an afterthought she threw in "and MY office's journey"


Alba Etie

Maybe he made enough off being the huckster for the full body xray scan that the TSA bought then stopped using - he can go on teevee for free all made up ..


My conspiracy theorist hackles are going up with respect to this case. I always run a cui bono test, and in this case the Russians must be deliriously happy that the American people will be identifying Chechnya with the War on Islamic militancy. It just makes things worse that the older brother had just done a tour of Russia. He may well have thought he was being trained by Chechen resistance. However up till now Chechen resistance has been very careful not to alienate the US.

Of course it could always be primarily about screw ups. But I cant help but think the FBI dropped the ball onb this guy. Surely someone knew that he was on the kind of websites which attract security attention?

As for the trial, the more transparency the better. But I would assume the kid knows nothing of value. It was his brother who might have told us interesting things.

Hank Foresman

A couple of points:

a. Other than finding the location of other bombs or future bombing location by accomplices; the public safety exception should be very limited or otherwise the government has the potential to undermine their case when it is tried. The federal courts will give some leeway but not much; if this was to make it to the Supremes there would be five votes to throw the whole case and conviction out! (Scalia concurrence with the DWI and the need to obtain a warrant before getting a blood sample should be ample warning to the FEDS that on top of anything the Supremes are a contrarian lot when they choose to be.
b. This case should not be tried in Boston or anyplace in the 2nd Circuit. Move the case to St. Louis or Kansas City (they did so for the McVeigh trial).
c. As far as calling him an enemy combatant pure lunacy by those who advocate such Star Chamber responses.

William R. Cumming

Between 1970 and 2010 over 100 definitions of terrorism and listing as some type of crime or civil violation took place as Congress and the WH largely federalized "terrorism" in the USA. Remember that during the so-called Palmer Raids after WWI largely involving professed anarchists and led by AG Palmer and his minion J.Edgar Hoover the deportation of anarchists largely occurred under federal immigration law. Convictions were largely under STATE laws.

The real problem of course is there is almost NO agreement on what exactly is "terrorism"!



no. it was just a screw up, but the screw up was in not having kept the elder under surveillance. I presume this was a decision based on resource allocation in the
fbi. there are over 300 million people in the US and this man had not done anything. Peter King, the character who apparently represents a district inhabited by trolls who hunger for preventive arrest of people whose ideas and speech they don't like, wishes that the US had arrested this Chechen BEFORE he broke any laws. Is that what you think should have happened? pl

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