Scheduled for tomorrow is a status conference concerning Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and his current stint behind bars. Some, including the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), feel that Tsarnaev’s jail-time treatment is harsh and unwarranted, and that the presiding justice ought to ease any restrictions as he waits to be tried.
Earlier in October, Tsarnaev’s taxpayer-funded public defenders filed a motion that the accused was subjected to torturous isolation and that he be allowed time outside though under close surveillance.
This time it’s the ACLU that filed a motion, one that states Tsarnaev’s lack of access with his attorneys due to his confinement and applicable information is against his constitutional rights to a fair trial.
According to the Boston Herald today, U.S. District Court Judge George A. O’Toole Jr. had the ACLU’s memorandum stricken from the record on the grounds that “While there may be no positive rule forbidding it, in my judgment a trial court presiding over a criminal prosecution should not receive or consider volunteered submissions by non-parties except as may be specifically authorized by statute … or other authority.”
A native to Cambridge by way of Chechnya, Tsarnaev faces a 30-count indictment for his alleged participation in the dual explosions at the finish line of the 2013 Boston Marathon along with his deceased brother, as well as the shooting of MIT police office Sean Collier and the engagement with local authorities in a gunfight on the unsuspecting streets of suburban Watertown that killed the older Tsarnaev and sparked a massive manhunt that locked-down a chunk of Greater Boston.
17 of the charges carry the weight of the federal death penalty, of which he could be sentenced with despite Massachusetts not allowing the capital punishment on the state level.
The Herald continues to note that along with Tsarnaev’s confinement, the suspect is also “denied TV and radio, family photos, prayer with other inmates and visitation from anyone other than his lawyers and immediate family.”