Monday, April 22, 2013

Boston Bomber Answers "No" at Hearing When Asked If He Can Afford a Lawyer

Via NYT:

The suspect, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, was charged in a criminal complaint and appeared before a federal magistrate who came to his bedside at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, officials said. Mr. Tsarnaev is being treated for what the court papers described as possible gunshot wounds to the “head, neck, legs, and hand.” Magistrate Judge Marianne B. Bowler advised Mr. Tsarnaev of his rights and the charges against him, according to a summary of the proceeding provided by the court.

In a criminal complaint unsealed Monday in United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts, Mr. Tsarnaev was charged with one count of “using and conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction” against persons and property within the United States resulting in death, and one count of “malicious destruction of property by means of an explosive device resulting in death” in last week’s bombings.

If he is convicted of the charges, he could face the death penalty.

The brief bedside proceeding began when Judge Bowler asked a doctor whether Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was alert, according to a transcript of the proceeding.

“You can rouse him,” the judge told the doctor.

“How are you feeling?” asked the doctor, identified in the transcript as Dr. Odom. “Are you able to answer some questions?”

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev “nods affirmatively,” according to the transcript, the first of four times during the proceeding, which in addition to the judge and the doctor was attended by two federal prosecutors, three public defenders, the judge’s clerk and a court reporter.

The only word Dzhokhar Tsarnaev uttered apparently was “No,” after he was asked if he could afford a lawyer.

Judge Bowler said, “Let the record reflect that I believe the defendant has said, ‘No.’ ”

One of the federal defenders representing Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, William Fick, said that he would defer the question of bail, and agree to voluntary detention. One of the prosecutors, William Weinreb, said that the government was seeking to have the defendant detained pending trial.

At the end of the session, Judge Bowler said: “At this time, at the conclusion of the initial appearance, I find that the defendant is alert, mentally competent, and lucid. He is aware of the nature of the proceedings.

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