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April 29, 2013

Bad news for hard-core death penalty fans: Judy Clarke joins defense team for Boston bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev

As reported in this new AP piece, "Judy Clarke is joining the team representing the suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings."  Here is more of the basics of federal public defender Clarke's appointment:

The appointment of Clarke, based in San Diego, Calif., was approved Monday by U.S. Magistrate Judge Marianne Bowler. Bowler denied a request from Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s public defender to appoint a second death penalty lawyer.  Bowler says Tsarnaev’s lawyers could renew their motion to appoint another death penalty expert if Tsarnaev is indicted....

Clarke’s clients have included Unabomber Ted Kaczynski; Susan Smith, who drowned her two children; and most recently Tucson, Ariz., shooter Jared Loughner.  All received life sentences instead of the death penalty.

Not quite coincidentally, this distinct AP piece from last week provided a little bit of a profile of Clarke and her work, and it highlighted her ability to working out plea deals with prosecutors that serve to spare her clients from facing the death penalty.  Not listed in this latest AP article is Clarke's representation of Olympic Park bomber Eric Rudolf, whose crimes and motivation are arguably most comparable to what it seems we so far know about Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s crimes and purported motives.  As with the federal mass murderers Kaczynski and Loughner, Clarke helped secure an LWOP plea deal with Rudolf to save his life.

I mused in this post a couple of weeks ago when Tsarnaev was first captured that "as in the case of the Unibomber and the Tucson shooter and other notorious federal mass murderers, I would not be surprised if eventually capital charges are taken off the table for a guaranteed LWOP sentence in exchange for a guilty plea."  The appointment of Clarke prompts me to now turn my musings into a prediction: I think the odds are now pretty good that, after a fair bit of (costly?) legal wranging over the next few months or years, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev will plead guilty and get sentenced to life without the possibility of parole. 

Some related recent posts:

UPDATE:  Just moments after click "Publish" on this post, I saw this interesting new commentary by Mark Osler at MSNBC headlined "Sentence the Boston bomber to meaninglessness." The piece contends that LWOP may be the best "punishment" in this case in these interesting terms:

[W]hat someone like Tsarnaev probably fears most is meaninglessness. He is typical of terrorists, in that he is a young man of little accomplishment who chose to make his mark on the world through a terrible act.  For someone like Tsarnaev, and many others like him, the real fear is a life of being unimportant.  The evidence of that is already clear, given that he chose a path of carnage and destruction, with the high risk of death that comes with all that, rather than to continue life as a nondescript college student.

Fortunately, the alternative to execution in the federal system is precisely what Tsarnaev seems to fear: utter meaninglessness.

Technically, the sentence is called life without parole (there is no parole in the federal system for any sentence).  However, more than anything, it is a sentence to an existence without notice or meaning, to live out one’s life without the deep interactions with the world that inspire people to great and terrible acts.  It begins with being assigned a number which largely replaces one’s name, and it ends with an unnoticed death, rather than the burst of attention that accompanies an execution.

April 29, 2013 at 06:36 PM | Permalink

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Comments

Mark Osler's comments are appreciated and "abolitionist" or not, seems correct.

Those who think the death penalty is warranted as a matter of "just desserts" btw remind me of that old story about a person who makes a bet that he could survive in prison for a such and such a time since lack of liberty is only so important. He couldn't make it, running out of his confinement w/o much time left.

Anyone know the title of that story?

Posted by: Joe | Apr 29, 2013 6:56:36 PM

I welcome Judy Clarke, thus to make even less plausible the certain-to-be-coming-anyway, run-the-clock claim of IAC.

What Doug overlooks is that Ted Kaczynski and Jared Loughner were provably out of their minds, and Susan Smith was an attractive (physically) young woman. None of this is true of Mr. Nicey from the Boston Marathon.

The other obvious distinguishing feature here is that this was a terrorist killing motivated by America's No. 1 enemy (at the moment), Jihadism. None of these other defendants wanted to make war on the United States. Mr. Nicey already has.

Mark Osler can be counted on to root against the death penalty because, to a certain way of thinking, supporters of capital punishment are worse than people who, for the sheer anti-American joy of it, kill eight year old's by blowing a bunch of nails though them.

Finally, if LWOP were more to be feared than the DP, we would hardly see defendants fighting tooth-and-nail to get LWOP rather than the DP, now would we?

Posted by: Bill Otis | Apr 29, 2013 7:36:41 PM

I'm not sure why the prosecution would let Tsarneav plead guilty. The Unabomber and Jared Loughner could have beaten any potential death sentence based on claims of insanity, so the government saw no reason to go to trial. What does the surviving bomber have to save himself barring an offer to testify against some unknown co-conspirator?

Posted by: MikeinCT | Apr 29, 2013 7:55:22 PM

Bill, do you really think that Mark Osler believes that supporters of capital punishment are worse than the Tsarneav brothers? That's not how I understand his argument...

Posted by: Anon | Apr 29, 2013 8:07:39 PM

If Mr. Tsarnaev were to go to trial with the prosecution seeking the death penalty, I doubt a jury would vote for the death penalty. So, if life without parole is the best that all parties can hope for, they are probably saving the government money by making a deal.

Posted by: Liz McD | Apr 29, 2013 9:20:53 PM

Judy Clarke has been my friend and colleague for more than twenty-five years. She is a brilliant advocate and strategist. Mr. Tsarneav is fortunate indeed to have such representation.

Posted by: Michael R. Levine | Apr 29, 2013 9:25:18 PM

And, I completely disagree with Mark Osler that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was somehow seeking fame and notoriety in bombing the Boston Marathon. That may have been his brother's motivation. But, from everything I have read, the younger brother was planning to dedicate his college career to smoking pot, getting laid and going to parties. Life without parole may be a terrible punishment for him, but not because he won't be anyone special. It will be because he won't be able to live a normal life.

Posted by: Liz McD | Apr 29, 2013 9:26:55 PM

Judy Clarke may be able to save Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's life, but what kind of life will it be? Death penalty opponents, and I consider myself in that category, may breathe a sigh of relief that Ms. Clarke is on the case. But doesn't this just signify that there are only two alternatives for this young man - prison forever or death? What happened to the goal of rehabilitating prisoners? That seems to have been thrown out the window, especially in this age of terrorism, where everyone and their brother will now be on the terrorist watch list.

http://www.thenation.com/article/170852/life-without-parole-different-death-penalty#

Posted by: Liz McD | Apr 29, 2013 9:53:26 PM

"But doesn't this just signify that there are only two alternatives for this young man - prison forever or death? What happened to the goal of rehabilitating prisoners?"

I love it, I just love it. As soon as death penalty opponents might be making a bit of headway, we get this gift.

They have zero intention of being satisfied with LWOP. That's a head fake. The plan is to CLAIM that he'll get LWOP -- ironclad, dontcha know -- and the next day start lobbying Congress to put parole back in the system and make it available to every federal prisoner.

If you want a preview, look at California, where for some time now there has been a movement underway to start ditching the previously promised LWOP in favor of a parole system. And if that won't work, there will be the demand -- already seen many, many times on this blog -- for vastly expanded executive clemency for the "truly rehabilitated," which we can be sure will include Mr. Nicey from Boston.

You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but this is really pushing it. Not that I mind. It's a good thing when the mask slips.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Apr 29, 2013 10:09:47 PM

Michael R. Levine --

I know her only very slightly, from some conference many years ago. From what I know, your assessment is on the money. She's a good advocate because she stays within herself, and uses her passion to inform, rather than bury, her judgment.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Apr 29, 2013 10:14:48 PM

Hey, I'm not afraid of letting my mask slip. I think the death penalty is barbaric in a civilized society. And life without parole offers nothing but hopelessness and an ever-expanding prison complex to house all of these "unredeemable" people.

Posted by: Liz McD | Apr 29, 2013 10:19:40 PM

Liz McD, "this age of terrorism" might pass. Who's to know what will happen in say in 25 years or whatever. Imprisonment provides possibility there that death does not. "Gift" or not, no, I don't think any sentence should be final for all time, no chance of change. Executive clemency is open, even when there is a death penalty. But, there is no one mindset here. There are those for LWOP who would stop there. As to Mark Osler being wrong, that might be true, though it might temper his guilt somewhat if his role was more submissive.

Posted by: Joe | Apr 29, 2013 10:25:34 PM

Liz McD --

"Hey, I'm not afraid of letting my mask slip."

Congratulations on being one of the honest ones.

Let me ask you this. If, three years after his conviction, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev convinces a panel of more-or-less reputable psychiatrists that he is rehabilitated, should he be released? If not, why not? Wouldn't holding him after that time be merely pointlessly punitive, revenge-driven and archaic (not to mention expensive)?

Posted by: Bill Otis | Apr 29, 2013 10:27:39 PM

Joe --

"I don't think any sentence should be final for all time, no chance of change."

As stated, what that means at least in theory is that, if the prisoner proves himself even more violent or dangerous than was thought at the time of sentencing, we should be able to lengthen his sentence. Is that what you believe?

Posted by: Bill Otis | Apr 29, 2013 10:35:50 PM

"Clarke’s clients have included Unabomber Ted Kaczynski; Susan Smith, who drowned her two children; and most recently Tucson, Ariz., shooter Jared Loughner.
All received life sentences instead of the death penalty.">>AP

Clearly this defendant does not qualify for the penalty of death—based on such a provoked,
unplanned act of minor violence.

Yet, where does such a moral midget as dark Clarke draw the line?
Need one kill thousands (9/11) to step beyond the pale for the would-be lover of Dzhokhar's soul?

Satan’s favourite minion would doubtless receive aid and assistance in escaping
capital punishment from this relativist.


Posted by: Adamakis | Apr 29, 2013 10:40:53 PM

Bill, the public would not tolerate someone who did what Tsarnaev is accused of doing getting out after only three years in prison. In some countries, including Russia I think, you are sentenced to 25 years and are evaluated at that point. It's a long time, but you at least would have something to work toward. You couldn't just sit there and rot, and you couldn't get into any trouble in prison. You would have to show that you had bettered yourself in some way.

Posted by: Liz McD | Apr 29, 2013 11:18:04 PM

“I doubt a jury would vote for the death penalty”
“for this young man - prison forever or death? What happened to the goal of rehabilitating prisoners?
That seems to have been thrown out the window, especially in this age of terrorism, where everyone
and their brother will now be on the terrorist watch list.”--Liz McSàtanachd

Oh, the travails of the watch list. This and hang nails possess ever-so-much more gravity, perhaps, to amputated legs and massacred innocents, in your advanced ethical calculus.

Moral equivalence is growing like gun sales with increasing rapidity, is it not? Perchance some are proud of their enlightenment, but the fetid stench is as dissolutely hellish as it is logically warped.

Shall we pour salt in the wounds of the victims and of truth, or wilt sand suffice?

It may be that Clarke or a kindred git could vicariously offer remorse or model madness for the accused. Just take care to do whatever it takes, using all means necessary,
to triumphantly prevent the authorities from effecting the Death Penalty, sure in your conviction that this progressive end justifies all means.

Then and only then, “especially in this age of terrorism”, will Liz’s goal of rehabilitating the prisoner return via the window and be realized, to the praise of the Goddess’s glorious name.
{ánthropos métron}

Posted by: Adamakis | Apr 29, 2013 11:20:28 PM

@Liz McD
What would your defense of the bomber be? He was young? 19 is old enough to know it's wrong to kill and maim hundreds. He used to smoke pot and chase girls? So do most college students. He was under his brother's influence? Ask Charles Ng how well that kind of defense works.

Better yet, if he does get a chance at parole through some miracle why should he ever be free again? An eight-year-old boy is dead and numerous others are dead or maimed for life. Why should he walk free if, among other things, some of his victims will never walk again? Better yet, how do you rehabilitate someone so evil they actively sought to kill innocent children?

Posted by: MikeinCT | Apr 29, 2013 11:23:19 PM

Anyone who believes in prayer should pray a client kills Judy Clarke. To deter.

Ironic. A vile feminist lawyer is now defending a radical Islamist, a member of the most extreme oppressors of females in the world.

She is just a lawyer. The morally reprehensible judges that indulge her imaginary arguments are fully responsible for all subsequent murders committed by her clients. These judges need to be lashed by the families of the victims. They are the real internal traitors, should be arrested, and executed, after an hour's fair trial. Judy Clarke may represent them.

Seriously, the lawyer profession is disgusting, and needs to be stopped.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Apr 29, 2013 11:57:12 PM

Liz McD --

"Bill, the public would not tolerate someone who did what Tsarnaev is accused of doing getting out after only three years in prison."

I completely agree, but I wasn't asking what the public would tolerate. I was asking what you think is right. Specifically, my question was: " If, three years after his conviction, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev convinces a panel of more-or-less reputable psychiatrists that he is rehabilitated, should he be released? If not, why not? Wouldn't holding him after that time be merely pointlessly punitive, revenge-driven and archaic (not to mention expensive)?"

I'd still be interested in hearing your views about what's the right (not necessarily the popular) thing to do.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Apr 30, 2013 12:14:37 AM

@MikeinCT

I don't see Dzhokhar Tsarnaev as evil. But, I don't see the older brother as evil either. I see the younger Tsarnaev as completely misguided, lost, making choices that he has not really thought through. I could be wrong about him, but I would definitely use his age as part of his defense - that he is a year or so older than the cutoff age for not executing murderers, and not giving them life without parole. The Supreme Court outlawed both practices for juveniles.

His thinking may have been cloudy based on his heavy marijuana use. This guy was not a casual pot smoker. He likely was an addict, or in danger of becoming one. He was highly susceptible to influence and kind of passive. I don't know about his feelings about his brother, but he was persuaded to join this plot. If his brother was able to persuade his very pretty, upper middle class, doctor's daughter, Catholic girl, wife to become a Muslim and start wearing that awful getup, I assume he was domineering and dominant.

Dzhokhar was not really a practicing Muslim. I'm not sure how much he was involved in the planning of this attack. It's been estimated that the older brother had been planning something like this for 18 months. The younger Tsarnaev got involved only recently, according to what he told the special agents who were questioning him. So, I don't see him as a full partner in the planning. He wasn't a full partner in the execution either - at least the getaway part of it. He had no gun. He did not shoot the police officer.

As for him going back to his dorm and trying to act like nothing happened, I seriously think he was trying to pretend it never happened, and didn't think he would get caught. People who knew him who saw him at the gym said he looked "down" or "tired." So, he may have been feeling bad about what he did already. Don't know for sure.

Then, I would use the testimonials of his friends and former teachers and coaches, who all have said that he was the greatest guy and wouldn't hurt a fly. The wrestling coach's statements were very strong and very persuasive - at least to me. They were a big factor in influencing my feelings about Dzhokhar. Add in all of the other people, and you have a case of a guy who was good and then went bad very suddenly. I think he could become good again. I believe in redemption. If he spent 20 to 30 years in prison, had shown true remorse, and had shown that he was a changed person, I think his victims would be okay with him being released and monitored. I could be wrong.

Posted by: Liz McD | Apr 30, 2013 12:28:19 AM

Liz McD: Does your living depend on government to any extent?

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Apr 30, 2013 1:19:46 AM

How is my income source relevant to this discussion?

How many government workers are there in our prison system? Are they unionized? Do they have pensions?

Posted by: Liz McD | Apr 30, 2013 2:05:28 AM

"If, three years after his conviction, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev convinces a panel of more-or-less reputable psychiatrists that he is rehabilitated,"

No psychdoc who wants to retain his reputation would ever do such a thing so it is never going to happen. Hell, look at the continued civil commitment of "sexually dangerous persons". The psychology profession is doing everything it can to keep people locked up more, not less.

Posted by: Daniel | Apr 30, 2013 2:26:15 AM

Liz: The government dependent worker has a vested interest in protecting and coddling even the worst criminal. The criminal is a source of government make work job creation. Thus arguments against the death penalty by any government dependent worker must carry the disclaimer that it is in bad faith, and in the economic interest of the utterer.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Apr 30, 2013 6:46:17 AM

I disagree with the below statement , regardless of its source.


Seriously, the lawyer profession is disgusting, and needs to be stopped.

Posted by: Anon. #2.71828³ | Apr 30, 2013 7:24:19 AM

I do not know of Liz McD , let alone know her .

To me , her rehab argument makes sense .

The Redemption of Nathan Leopold – Maybe
http://www.firstthings.com/blogs/helen-rittelmeyer/2013/01/29/the-redemption-of-nathan-leopold-maybe/

Posted by: Anon. #2.71828³ | Apr 30, 2013 7:37:37 AM

Liz McD --

Your post is almost entirely speculation. He "might" have thought this or he "could" be thinking that.

"His thinking may have been cloudy based on his heavy marijuana use."

You must have missed the thousand or so posts attesting to marijuana's wonderful effects. Didn't you know it's really medicine?

But assuming it's unhealthy, how do you know he was smoking it that day, much less smoking it in amounts that would so impair a person's judgment as to make him think it's OK to detonate a mutilation bomb next to little boys?

"I don't know about his feelings about his brother, but he was persuaded to join this plot."


The first part of your sentence effectively contradicts the second part. If you don't know how he felt about his brother, how do you know that his brother persuaded him to join in the bombing? And do you think the jury might believe that a person of sound mind, when inveigled to join a plot to kill people he doesn't even know, has an unambiguous legal and moral obligation to say, "You want me to do WHAT??? Get lost."

"The younger Tsarnaev got involved only recently, according to what he told the special agents who were questioning him."

So what? It's not WHEN you decide to do it; it's THAT you decide to.

"So, I don't see him as a full partner in the planning. He wasn't a full partner in the execution either - at least the getaway part of it."

But he's not charged with planning, and he's not charged with getting away. He's charged with planting and detonating a bomb intending to produce mass killing, which is exactly what he did.

"As for him going back to his dorm and trying to act like nothing happened, I seriously think he was trying to pretend it never happened, and didn't think he would get caught. People who knew him who saw him at the gym said he looked "down" or "tired."

You think his treating his murders like they never happened, and his being arrogant enough to think he'd get away with it, are MITIGATING factors???

Far out. I sure hope Judy Clarke tries that one.

"So, he may have been feeling bad about what he did already."

Or he may have been feeling bad that he failed to kill even more. I mean, killing just three after lugging that heavy bomb around all day seems like a skimpy return for such an investment. Hey, look, all those nails cost money!

"Then, I would use the testimonials of his friends and former teachers and coaches, who all have said that he was the greatest guy and wouldn't hurt a fly."

If I'm the prosecutor, I would get down on my hands and knees and pray that the defense would call some nimwit willing to publicly prove his impenetrable stupidity by testifying the a guy who hand builds a mutilation bomb, sets it down next to a little boy (and a whole bunch of other unsuspecting people), walks away and, when out of range, detonates it, "wouldn't hurt a fly."

Really, as a prosecutor, I would pay good money to hear a defense witness prove beyond cavil that the knows absolutely zero about the guy in whose behalf he is testifying.

This guy is not sympathetic in the least. He had been welcomed into the US as a refugee. His family got the rest of us to pay for his needs through welfare. The city gave him a scholarship to the local college. He rewarded this kindness by skipping class, getting stoned and doing party time. Then he decides that Allah is Great, Amerika Stinks, and American eight year-old's (pick one at random) deserve death by mutilation (in front of his parents).

Wanna tell us what remorse he has expressed (not that it would, or should, make a difference)?

If you want to make excuses for Mr. Nicey, you go right ahead. The more interesting question is WHY that's what you want to do. So I'll ask: Why do you?

Posted by: Bill Otis | Apr 30, 2013 9:15:05 AM

Supremacy Clause. YOu say that people should pray that Judy Clarke is killed, that she is a "vile feminist lawyer" and that "the lawyer profession is disgusting, and needs to be stopped.".

Please recall that one of the bullwark's and glories of American democracy is “the right of an accused to fearless, vigorous and effective advocacy, no matter how unpopular the cause in which it is employed.” Offutt v. United States, 348 U.S. 11, 13 (U.S. 1954). Thus, Judy Clark "is charged with zealously advocating for [her] client within the bounds of the law and is deemed to best serve[] the public . . . by advancing the undivided interests of [her] client.” Polk County v. Dodson, 454 U.S. 312, 318-19 (1984). The defense attorney’s “overarching duty [is] to advocate the defendant's cause.” Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S. 668, 688 (1984).

Clearly you have gone off your meds.

Posted by: onlooker13 | Apr 30, 2013 9:59:26 AM

Daniel: I asked many psychologist friends if they wanted to take over the criminal justice system from the lawyer in utter failure. The answer was unanimous, and quite loud, no. Psychologists, despite greater technical knowledge about reward and punishment, would be far more liberal and worse at keeping us safe.

One fact psychologists do know is, it is very hard to change a pleasurable habit, such as committing crimes and profiting. With 20 million Index felonies and 2 million prosecutions, major crime has been immunized by the lawyer in this country.It is down to, just do not taunt the police by committing crimes in front of them. They will leave you alone otherwise.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Apr 30, 2013 10:09:03 AM

"As stated, what that means at least in theory is that, if the prisoner proves himself even more violent or dangerous than was thought at the time of sentencing, we should be able to lengthen his sentence. Is that what you believe?"

If the person does something in prison that warrants it, lengthening the sentence can make sense in a given case. If the person was ready to be released and it is determined s/he is mentally ill and a danger to others, confinement after the sentence might be warranted. The USSC upheld such a thing.

Posted by: Joe | Apr 30, 2013 10:10:56 AM

We need the Judy clarks in the world we live in today...But for this guy, its a shame that a grenade
didn't fall out of the helicopter and blow that guys boat to smizzerines....We would gladly buy him a new boat, rather than mess with this nonsense....

Bill, I'm not really a DP advocate...But this guy needs to be gone by next weekend....

Guys like this I'm guessing don't have fun in prison..There are a lot of big dudes in there that like to pound on people...Let the games begin..When they find out he blew up women and innocent kids..
Oh boy...

Posted by: MidWestGuy | Apr 30, 2013 10:21:01 AM

Onlooker: Judy Clarke has a political agenda. Her free representation of the defendant is a pretext to further the agenda. If the defendant is innocent, I support releasing him, an apology, and monetary compensation for negligent prosecution. I have provided many innovative and compelling defense arguments in these comments. I have advocated personally attacking over-reaching prosecutors, and provided several innovative tactics, such as e-discoveries of their computers, and referral of all child porn to the FBI. To deter.

So, I consider myself an advocate for accuracy and utility, not for one side or the other.

The use of procedure to further a hidden political agenda is pretextual, and an attempt to fool the court, i.e. unethical (3.3). I intend to file multiple ethics charges against Judy Clarke, as is the duty of every licensed lawyer who has read the news of her being hired. I want her to feel a small fraction of the uncertainty the victims of her client are feeling.

Feminists are racists. She represented the most heinous of murderers, but all are white. One notes a glaring omission, the DC Sniper and his boy wonder assistant. They were black.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Apr 30, 2013 10:27:29 AM

Supremacy Claus - Isn't the expansion of the prison industrial complex worrying to you if you're so concerned about people on the government payroll or getting government money? There are now more prisoners than farmers, and the prisons used to hold them might be taking the place of farmers in employing rural people. http://www.prisonpolicy.org/scans/building.html. And what is Judy Clarke's "agenda?"

Bill - Yes, it's all conjecture based on what I've read. I can't see into Dzhokhar's heart, but the wrestling coach's statements were meaningful to me.

Dzhokhar has a lot of sympathy among women, and might with other people as well, if they didn't feel like they were betraying the victims in feeling that sympathy - something I have struggled with too. Check out this article about maternal sympathy for Dzhokhar: http://www.slate.com/blogs/xx_factor/2013/04/29/maternal_sympathy_for_dzhokhar_tsarnaev_what_s_it_about.html. It only takes one member of a sentencing jury to vote down the death penalty, right?

I think my rehabilitation idea makes sense. I think the countries that have maximum sentences for young offenders are on the right track too. With some countries, 21 is another cutoff age for reductions in sentences, not just 18.

There is a lot of horrific stuff going on in the world, including actions by our own government in executing the war on terror. Drones don't just kill the bad guys.

Posted by: Liz McD | Apr 30, 2013 12:34:01 PM

LizMcD stated: "I believe in redemption. If he spent 20 to 30 years in prison, had shown true remorse, and had shown that he was a changed person, I think his victims would be okay with him being released and monitored. I could be wrong."

Why does your statement imply that "redemption" and "life in prison" are mutually exclusive?

Posted by: TarlsQtr1 | Apr 30, 2013 2:04:58 PM

Liz: Do you personally benefit from tax funds?

I oppose prisons. I oppose crime. One remedy would end 99% of crime within weeks or months, by executing all violent repeat offenders. The lawyer profession is in utter failure at protecting the public. It allows 20 million Index felonies a yer, 5 million being violent. Because there are 2 million prosecutions, major crime has been immunized by the lawyer traitor. It never cares about victims because they generate no fees.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Apr 30, 2013 3:17:45 PM

TarlsQtr1 - life in prison and redemption are not mutually exclusive. But if someone has redeemed themselves, by serving their time, while focusing on rehabilitation, and showing remorse, why wouldn't they be permitted to re-enter society?

Posted by: Liz McD | Apr 30, 2013 3:54:00 PM

'He is typical of terrorists, in that he is a young man of little accomplishment who chose to make his mark on the world through a terrible act. For someone like Tsarnaev, and many others like him, the real fear is a life of being unimportant.'

typical...afraid of being unimportant...a seriously doubtable assumption obviously made to increase the word count of the article with completely no basis in fact

Posted by: ernie | Apr 30, 2013 7:18:19 PM

Liz McD,

Because it is impossible, in this world, to tell if someone has truly redeemed themselves. You are asking others to take a chance (as neighbors, work acquaintances, etc.) that you are probably unwilling to.

A just punishment does not become less just because a person reversed the course of his life. Redemption is an internal process that seeks not reward. The price of redemption is paid, in part, by remitting as much of the debt to society as you can. This debt includes the DP or LWOP, depending on the sentence.

Letting people like this out early cheats society of justice and the criminal of true redemption.

Posted by: TarlsQtr1 | Apr 30, 2013 9:43:36 PM

TarlsQtr1,

I don't understand how other countries are willing to take this chance with potentially redeemed criminals while we're afraid to. Many European countries have maximum sentences for people Tsarnaev's age.

Posted by: Liz McD | May 1, 2013 12:44:37 AM

"I don't understand how other countries are willing to take this chance with potentially redeemed criminals while we're afraid to. Many European countries have maximum sentences for people Tsarnaev's age."

The reason for this is that Europe's ruling elite (who don't really believe in or trust democracy) like to think of themselves as being morally superior (e.g. Claudio), most especially in comparison to the much more punitive and (they would like to think) backward United States. The importance this ruling class attaches to regarding themselves as morally superior beings is, in their view, well worth the innocent lives that are inevitably destroyed by murderers and rapists freed too soon who shockingly don't happen to share the elite's highmindedness.

Posted by: alpino | May 1, 2013 8:31:06 AM

I hope some of you are thinking Dzhokhar Tsareuv can be sentenced between LWOP and DP. Liz, you talk of rehabilitation. Does that go for all the guys down in GITMO too. Come, you set a prescient of allowing Terrorist to go free, even after so many murders and wounded, and believe me we would have so many more attacks if they knew the punishment was not severe enough.
I am not sure the DP is the way to go and the LWOP would really be a slow simmer to the end for him - but I do not believe that we allow people their freedom that commits terrorist acts. Absolutely not. Taking someone's life is horrible thing, then you add 3 other lives lost and over 260 wounded and the amount of money that this thing cost/lost, hurt, which has no value, he can rehabilitate in prison, and if he wants to remorse or forgiveness then good, but that does not warrant a free pass because this is his first offense and he is now sorry.

Posted by: leslie | Jun 28, 2013 10:47:26 PM

For those thinking that rehab is available for a Terrorist, that has killed four people and injured over 260, and say that he could proved to be no harm to himself or others, are you really thinking he should be let out early? Let us be clear, this was the same guy that everyone though was so nice in the first place, a guy everyone though was so great. Yet, we assume he and his brother are responsible for this horrid crime. No these two faces of Tsaraevs, could he ever really be trusted again? People trusted him before and right under their nose, he goes and does something so awful, that leave everyone stunned.
I don't believe this type of mass murder is the type we rehab, in fact he is more dangerous than others, calculating. I am sorry so don't like the lock me up forever, but some crimes need this.
What precedent this type of sentencing would create. What if you had a guy like Hassan judging the case of these mass murders, they all would be walking around free, ready to strike again in the name of religion. Two guys in the UK were put in prison for 4 years for distributing materials that plot the killing of government officials, etc. After their release, do you think they have be reformed, not in the least: "if someone kills someone in our country then that person's entire country is responsible for the even, under a democratic government. Not one remorse or change of mind. So little jail time does nothing. In my opinion these guys are dangerous and in a matter of time, they will be doing something worse. All you have to do is show and prove you wouldn't do it again. And we know on record how that works for people, many people do just that, commit a murder or rape. Let's get the low level criminals out of the system, but not people that commit mass murders, that is too risky and there are not enough safe guards or anyway knowing that it would not happen again. Terrorist are the worst acts, as they happen randomly and each of these people know what the outcome will be, and to think it would be okay after a few years to let them go, nuts. In another country they might already be dead. So consider themselves lucky if they LWOP.

Posted by: leslie | Aug 29, 2013 9:56:52 AM

Liz

Today we know so much more about this guy, and to think he was heavily involved would now be the truth. forget him being high or addicted to pot, lots of people comitt crimes high, that does not mean it didn't happen. No, we learn much more like the fact that he had all types of Jihad and bombing making on his personal computer, he practiced at a firing range, with the same type of weapon used to Kill Officer collier, and at the shoot out, he was throwing explosive and set off his own bomb, as he used his phone to detonate it, the pre-pain phone he put in service just the day before. I use to think it was all his brother, but that is not the case. He helped make and execute these bombs, plus highjacking and robbery. He is no gold boy with no clue to what was going and did happen. Just read the Inspire magazine, it tells you what you can expect with these pressure cooker bombs. He had a chance to walk away, and not set the bomb off, but he did not do it. He set it down near a family and as result two people are dead and many other hurt, and without limbs. But he is indicted for the all the murders and the bomb Tamerlan placed too, because he went along with it - aiding and abetting. In capital crimes this is allowed. he did nothing to stop this killing spree. So he should get the max, without parole. If he were in Iran or other places, he would be dead by now. He was not like some of the other guys at Gitmo that helped with the plan, etc. No he fully participated and all evidence from texts, computers, forensic showed this, including eyewitnesses. This is not a person to rehab. May peace, pray for forgiveness, but he should not be allowed to leave prison in 2 or 40 years. He is 20. I am not sure what he expected to happen, I get the impression he thought the would not be caught, not sure what gave him that impression. But when writes, I am stress free type of guy on the day of the bombing, afterwards, I think he was pretty happy with himself. But not for long. You want to commit a Terrorist act, then you need to be prepared for a long sentence or the Dp.

Posted by: leslie | Aug 29, 2013 10:39:55 AM

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