On April 15, two bombings at the Boston Marathon killed three people and injured more than 180. Now people all over the country are watching closely to see what will happen next, particularly as the bombing suspect's criminal case unfolds. Are you wondering how this case will likely be handled through the criminal justice system? West Palm Beach Criminal Defense Attorney Richard Tendler is providing insight into the case and the legal steps that he expects to be carried out in the coming months. Attorney Tendler has more than 15 years of experience providing aggressive criminal defense to clients in the states of Florida and Massachusetts.
On April 20, Attorney Tendler made his expectations of the case's future steps known. A few of those expectations have already come to pass. The lawyer publicly noted on that date that he expected the arrested suspect, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, to spend a few days in the hospital before being released to authorities. Attorney Tendler noted that the Federal Government would then attempt to take over the case from the Massachusetts Police Department so the suspect could be tried in the U.S. District Court instead of the State Court. (This would allow the death penalty to become a sentencing possibility.) He said the Federal Government would probably obtain jurisdiction of the case by classifying the offense as an act of terrorism.
The lawyer estimated that the Tsarnaev would make his initial appearance in federal court early this week and would be indicted in the next one or two weeks after that. He expects the defendant's trial to begin within 18 months.
According to an April 22 CBS News on the case, a few of these steps have already occurred. A magistrate judge (of the federal court) went to the defendant's hospital room to conduct the first appearance and to charge the 19-year-old man with using a weapon of mass destruction to kill. The defendant can now potentially face the death penalty.
Attorney Tendler listed four main reasons why the U.S. Government would try to obtain jurisdiction over the Boston Marathon bombing case. They include the following:
- The death penalty would only be able to be applied through federal charges since the State of Massachusetts does not have the death penalty.
- The death penalty could serve as leverage in getting additional information out of the defendant, such as information about whether Tsarnaev and his brother were working alone or with others.
- In federal court, there would be fewer opportunities for the defendant to appeal a conviction.
- State court allows the defense team to obtain more discovery (such as evidence, information and materials) than what would be obtained in federal court, where discovery is more limited.
All of these points make federal court a more appealing choice for the U.S. Government. Attorney Tendler has also addressed another issue that has led to a great amount of concern regarding this case. The Washington Post reported that U.S. Officials said a special interrogation team that deals with high-value suspects would not read Tsarnaev his Miranda Rights (the right to remain silent and the right to an attorney) before questioning him. The purpose behind this tactic was to invoke a public safety exception, which is prompted by a need to question the defendant about matters concerning immediate threats to public safety. This decision by the Federal Government has been challenged by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which has argued that the exception to the Miranda rule can only be used when there is an actual continued threat to public safety and that does not serve as an open-ended exception.
Attorney Tendler has the same belief. According to the lawyer: "It is important to remember that in our criminal justice system, this individual is still a suspect and therefore innocent until proven guilty. And he must be treated as such. You may not agree with the horrendous acts that took place this week, but it is critical that the law and each of our rights as citizens are obeyed and followed. It is what makes America fair and just."
The Law Offices of Richard Tendler handles a broad spectrum of criminal cases. Call our office to learn more about the top-quality legal representation we provide for our clients.