Tsarnaev jury selection to continue

25 Jan 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

‘Death-qualified’ juror search slows marathon, theater cases.

FILE – In this June 4, 2013 file photo, Aurora theater shooting suspect James Holmes sits in court in Centennial, Colo. AS jury selection continues in the trial of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the defendant in the Boston Marathon bombings, so does debate about what would constitute a fair and impartial jury.The defense insisted the team did nothing wrong by including excerpts from juror questionnaires in their third request to move the trial outside Massachusetts.The attorneys defending accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzokhar Tsarnaev have requested for the fourth time that his trial be moved out of the city, citing a survey of prospective jurors that indicated a high level of potential bias.BOSTON – A federal judge has pushed back a plea-change hearing for the Quincy man accused of lying to investigators about his friendship with the suspected Boston Marathon bombers.

Holmes is accused of killing 12 people and injuring 70 others in the suburban Denver movie theater in 2012, and faces a possible death penalty sentence if convicted. Questions have been raised about the race, gender, age and religiosity of prospective jurors; about the effect of holding the trial in Boston; and about the legal requirement that the jurors be open to the possibility of sentencing the defendant to death.

In a court filing Thursday, the defense argued that Tsarnaev cannot receive a fair trial in Massachusetts because many have personal connections to the bombing. From the New York Times: Of the 1,373 prospective jurors who filled out screening questionnaires this month, the defense said, 68 percent said they already believed that Mr.

While the answer to that question may seem like it doesn’t concern Black people, when you dig a little deeper and consider the work done by researchers from Northwestern and Harvard, you see how the question has a profound impact on what happens to Black people when they stand in a courtroom facing a long row of white jurors—a scenario faced by Black defendants on a daily basis across the U.S. Khairullozhon Matanov, a taxi driver arrested last May, was expected to change his plea at a Tuesday hearing but Judge William Young on Thursday moved the hearing to Feb. 25.

But recent research of ours suggests that another, largely overlooked factor may also play an important role in the trial: whether the jurors perceive Mr. The team included comments some prospective jurors wrote on questionnaires — including, “We all know he’s guilty so quit wasting everybody’s time with a jury and string him up.” Judge George A. Judge George O’Toole Jr. later ordered the document sealed and called the defense use of juror comments from confidential questionnaires “improper.” On Friday, Tsarnaev’s lawyers said the excerpts they included did not identify jurors in any way. Dzhokhar and his brother, Tamerlan, who is now dead, both hail from the Caucasus region, the area that includes the countries of Armenia and Georgia and that separates Europe and Asia.

And many jurors seemed to struggle to give definitive answers when questioned. “I’m not a huge fan of the death penalty, but I also know I don’t really know. . . . Jury selection is already underway, and taking longer than expected; opening statements were planned Jan. 26 but will be pushed back to an as-yet-undetermined date. It is the region where the word “Caucasian” comes from, though historically it was part of the Iranian world until it was conquered by the Russian Empire at the beginning of the 1800′s. The evidence of Tsarnaev’s guilt appears substantial, but if he’s convicted his jury will also have to weigh a variety of “mitigating and aggravating factors” to decide whether he should be executed or sentenced to life in prison.

In the aftermath of the bombings, we sought to answer two questions: If white people perceived Dzhokhar Tsarnaev as less white, did that influence their support for treating him harshly? (Tamerlan was dead by this point.) And if people varied in how white they considered Mr. What they found was that when white people were asked whether Dzhokhar was white or not, the less white they perceived him to be, the more harshly they were willing to punish him. Federal prosecutors filed documents earlier this month changing one of the charges against Matanov from destroying evidence in a federal investigation, which could carry a sentence of up to 20 years, to concealing facts in a federal investigation. It took O’Toole six days to question the 81 potential jurors, and the process of culling jurors from the initial pool of 1,373 people will continue next week. It is a phenomenon that legal experts have been aware of for many years concerning Black defendants, which is why attorneys fight so hard to find Black jurors when their clients are Black—and why prosecutors fight so hard to exclude them.

Within hours of the F.B.I.’s release of the suspects’ photographs, we collected responses from 426 white Americans to a broad questionnaire assessing a range of their demographic information as well as aspects of their ideological orientations. The judge has not said how many of the jurors he has questioned so far have been entered into the final pool of qualified panelists, and he has let lawyers and prosecutors argue over their qualifications in closed hearings. After they were clear about where their research subjects fell on the ideological spectrum, eight days later they showed them FBI photos of Dzhokhar and Tamerlan and asked the subjects how “white” they looked. They also asked in a third request Thursday to relocate the trial to a district outside Boston, saying it will be impossible to pick a jury in the same city where the bombs went off.

What the study was testing was whether the white people would see the brothers as more like “us” or more like “them,” the researchers wrote in the Times. The researchers found that the participants who scored high in social dominance orientation (believing that some groups are superior to others) and high in right-wing authoritarianism (believing in the importance of following traditions and respecting authorities) were less likely to perceive the Tsarnaev brothers as looking white, steering them into “outsider” territory. “In a case like Mr.

He has written or co-written 13 books and won over a dozen major journalism awards during a journalism career that brought him to the Dallas Morning News, the Star-Ledger of New Jersey and New York Newsday, in addition to serving as Editor-in-Chief of Odyssey Couleur travel magazine. Tsarnaev’s, where guilt is widely presumed and where the outcome will most likely fall on one side of the line between life imprisonment and death, this finding seems especially relevant. Just as we ask potential jurors questions like “Do you go to church?” we need to ask questions like “Is having a decent respectable appearance still the mark of a lady?” (one of many questions used to gauge right-wing authoritarianism) and “If certain groups of people ‘stayed in their place,’ would we have fewer problems?” (social dominance orientation).

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