Faculty Notes

Prof. Eric M. Freedman Comments in Boston Globe Story on Defense’s Case in Marathon Bombing Trial

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

Tsarnaev’s defense team set to start making its case
By Milton J. Valencia
The Boston Globe
March 30, 2015


Months before the start of the death-penalty trial of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, one of his lawyers announced in federal court that he, too, was searching for an explanation for the April 15, 2013, Boston Marathon bombing.

“We, the defense, are part of the process of getting to the bottom of this, and perhaps of finding out why, which is the question everyone, everyone wants answered,” attorney David Bruck said in an impassioned declaration before a courtroom of spectators.

As early as Monday, the jury — and all of Boston — could start to hear the answer.

With federal prosecutors set to rest their case Monday, the trial will shift to the defense.

Their challenge, legal analysts say, will be to maintain the narrative that while Tsarnaev may be guilty of the crimes for which he has been charged, he was a lesser player and his life should be spared.

Legal analysts say the defense team has taken a unified approach, working with investigators, analysts, and other specialists to research the life history of the Tsarnaev brothers, to show that only one of them — the older brother — was the driving force behind the crimes.

“The death penalty is supposed to be reserved for the worst of the worst,” said Eric M. Freedman, a law professor at Hofstra University School of Law who studies capital punishment cases.

Read the full article.