Faculty Notes

Prof. Eric Freedman Comments in New York Times Story on Defense’s Strategy in Marathon Bombing Trial

Eric M. Freedman, Siggi B. Wilzig Distinguished Professor of Constitutional Rights

Strategy for Defending Tsarnaev in Marathon Bombings Is Vintage Darrow
By Katharine Q. Seelye
The New York Times
March 13, 2015


Legal experts say it is easier for jurors to show mercy — what Darrow called “the highest attribute of man” — if they first see the defense accept responsibility.

“Admitting guilt is not being invented for the first time in this trial,” Eric M. Freedman, a death penalty specialist and law professor at Hofstra University, said of the Tsarnaev case. “In a capital case, a competent lawyer keeps his or her eye on the big picture, even if that means engaging in some well-planned strategic retreats.”

Ms. Clarke is trying to use this phase of the trial to her advantage, planting seeds now that she hopes will bloom in the second phase, when she can explain her narrative more fully as the jury contemplates the sentence.

“What you want to be doing in the first phase is be consistent with the second phase so that by the time you get to the second phase, the jury is nodding in agreement and recognition,” Mr. Freedman of Hofstra said.

Read the full article.