Today's sketch of #tsarnaev just released pic.twitter.com/Ih8WOYuakP
— Jesse Grossi (@producerjesse) January 5, 2015
Barring a most unexpected plot twist, Dzokhar Tsarnaev will remain in federal custody for the rest of his life. There are many mysteries about the journey that led from four dead and 260 wounded victims at the Boston Marathon to Tsarnaev cowering in that drydocked boat in a Watertown back yard, but the only suspense is whether the government will be granted permission to end his life before he succumbs to old age or accident.
From WCVB, local news station Ch.5 [warning – autoplay video]:
… Monday’s proceedings began what could be weeks of jury selection in the nation’s most closely watched terror trial since the Oklahoma City bombing two decades ago.
Security was tight, with dozens of police officers stationed inside and outside the federal courthouse, along with bomb-sniffing dogs.
The potential jurors seemed riveted by Tsarnaev and by U.S. District Judge George O’Toole Jr.’s explanation of the gravity of what they will be asked to do if they are picked: They must decide not only whether the former college student is guilty or innocent, but also what his punishment will be if he is convicted — life in prison or execution…
O’Toole briefly outlined the 30 charges against Tsarnaev, which include using a weapon of mass destruction. He is also accused of killing an MIT police officer as he and his brother, now dead, made their getaway…
Over three days, a pool of about 1,200 prospective jurors will be summoned to court. Twelve jurors and six alternates will be selected. The judge said testimony in the trial will begin on Jan. 26 and is expected to last three to four months…
The unusually large pool was seen as necessary because of the need to weed out people who might be unduly influenced by heavy news coverage of the tragedy, along with the many runners, spectators and others affected by the bombings. Also, those who are opposed to the death penalty will not be allowed on the jury…
Since approximately 60% of Massachusetts voters have rejected the death penalty, repeatedly, over the last 30 years, the jury will not accurately represent our Commonwealth, but of course that’s not why this spectacle is being conducted. Per CNN [warning – autoplay video]:
… Federal prosecutors and defense attorneys for Tsarnaev have held talks on a possible plea agreement but failed to reach one, U.S. officials familiar with the talks say.
The discussions in recent months have centered on the possibility of Tsarnaev pleading guilty and receiving a life sentence without parole, according to the officials.
But the talks have reached an impasse because the Justice Department has resisted removing the death penalty as a possibility, these officials say…
Attorney General Eric Holder is a critic of the death penalty, but he authorized seeking capital punishment in this case saying Tsarnaev acted in “an especially heinous, cruel and depraved manner.” He also cited a seeming lack of remorse…
So Holder is against state-sponsored murder, except in a case where his opinion would actually affect the outcome. Since federal prosecutor Carmen Ortiz is notoriously in favor of the death penalty for all criminals more depraved than parking-ticket scofflaws and those who fail to return library books in a timely fashion, this allows Holder the comfort of his principles without the risk that he might inconvenience the various national security agencies that want Tsarnaev silenced permanently. Truly, this case will stand as an exemplar of our modern era for future historians… or anthropologists.
It is sad to say … but Eric Holder has been a particularly poor AG. I can think of few reasons to consider his term as a big success.
If you don’t oppose capital punishment for the most heinous cases, then you don’t oppose capital punishment.
Just Some Fuckhead
Holder must plan on running for something.
Either I’m missing something or that CNN report doesn’t make any sense: if a plea goes through, why would the death penalty still be on the table? Avoiding the death penalty is the entire reason to plea in the first place.
Can you elaborate on this?
What does the death penalty do in this case? He’s never getting out any earlier than say 110 plus and a week before dying. Killing him just makes for more paperwork for nothing. Let him rot in a cell.
He’s so young, and was in thrall to his older brother. I hope sentencing is merciful, and that he gets a chance to live outside prison after he’s paid his debt.
He deserves a pretty longish sentence, but not life. I’d hope we’re better than that.
I’m guessing since they haven’t agreed to a plea deal, Tsarnaev’s lawyers are pretty confident that they can portray him as the confused, brainwashed lackey of his older brother.
Tree With Water
“So Holder is against state-sponsored murder, except in a case where his opinion would actually affect the outcome”.
I oppose the death penalty. But I feel no pity for those Nazi war criminals executed at that war’s end (even/especially at the hands of Stalin’s Soviet Union). I feel no pity Timothy McVeigh either, although as an American his blood is on my hands. I suppose pity should have nothing to with it, or should it have everything to do with it? Beats me. Which is to say, I oppose the death penalty for my own good reasons, but also comprehend the feelings of those who support it. And if anyone has it coming, it’s the marathon bomber. Holder is in an very tough spot, and I don’t envy him.
Jack the Second
I wonder if that’s less cruel. Sentence him to 50 years, let him look forward to freedom on his 70th birthday, alone, no friends or family or job or retirement or life left on the outside?
I agree with SatanicPanic. What, if anything, do you think Johar Tsarnaev might spill the beans on? As far as I know, he’s just a kid from Boston.
@Jack the Second:
I was thinking more 20-25 years, and serving them. But not life without parole, and certainly not death.
Who’s that white kid in the picture, and where is the dark-skinned perpetrator of that heinous act of terrorism?
I have never understood why being opposed to the death penalty makes one unable to serve on a jury in a case like this?
I don’t think Scott Petersen (the Lacy Petersen case, out of Modesto CA) deserves execution either. A long sentence, absolutely.
That was the Nancy Grace Death Penalty.
“Gone Girl” did a good job satirizing cable news true crime jackals.
Fuck this guy. He killed 4 people and wounded hundreds in a pointless, premeditated act. He was “in thrall” to his brother? So what? Next life, don’t do that to the point of murdering people.
Whether he gets life or death, I really do not care. But either way, there’s no way he should ever get out of prison except feet first.
OT: Because I know you haven’t cussed enough today: How gay Mormons get a show on TLC (no, that’s not the actual title, but it should be).
They haven’t agreed to a plea deal because Holder will not remove the DP as a possibility.
What are they supposed to do, consent to their client’s execution? They’re just trying to keep him alive.
Because the jury’s duty involves considering all possible outcomes for a case, and if you feel the death penalty is never applicable then you fail to meet the standard.
The logic may be perverse, but it’s there.
It lets people get their blood lust on. As far as I can tell, that’s the primary advantage of capital punishment over life without parole.
That said, I’m starting to question life without parole as a sentence, too. It seems to me that it shows a fundamental distrust of the parole system, as if the parole boards are a bunch of idiots who will let mass murderers loose the first time they’re up for parole. It seems like it’s more about throwing the book at people for the sake of showing how much you hate crime than it is a serious attempt at coming up with an appropriate sentence. Unfortunately, that seems to describe a lot of our sentencing rules.
@Amir Khalid: Whether his brother was hired as an informant; whether this was an fbi-planned “terrorism sting” that the fbi lost control if, among other things
If you are opposed to the death penalty, you are stating in advance that you are unwilling to apply one of the possible sentences for the offense. The courts interpret that as being biased and incapable of ruling based only on the evidence and law, and thus not a reasonable juror for the case.
Transvaginal Bob got 24 months prison.
Hmmmm. A state legislator got 9 1/2 years not so long ago.
ETA: I think he should have gotten more. Like 3 or 4 years. Sentencing range was 6.5 to 8 years.
His maimed victims, let alone the dead, have already received life sentences. I’m generally for mercy in these matters, but certain crimes are particularly heinous intrinsically or consequentially. For example, I’d incline to parole the surviving members of the Manson Family, and would post bond against the likelihood that any of these geriatrics would ever murder again. Sirhan Sirhan killed RFK, and by doing so may have sealed the fates of a few hundred Vietnamese. Let him rot and die. Tsarnaev, I think, should be confined for half a century. Let him never know the tender touch of a woman until, as a geriatric parolee, he purchases this upon his release in 2065.
@TR: If Mass voters don’t like that outcome they could just get rid of the death penalty
It should be noted that the purpose of this “trial” is not to determine guilt or innocence, but to determine punishment. He’s already been tried and found guilty in the court of public opinion. The rest is just kabuki.
He can oppose the policy and advocate for change, even attempt to change the policy. But he also has an obligation to faithfully execute the law. For better or worse (and count me in the second group), capital punishment is the law of the land
@SatanicPanic: The death penalty has already been struck down in MA. That doesn’t matter here. It’s a federal case, and federal law applies
From WaPost liveblog from Robt McDonnell’s sentencing hearing: Prosecutor:
That’s why I don’t see how McDonnell gets 24 months, and who cares if 600 people wrote nice letters about him.
Transvaginal Bob reports for his sentence on February 9.
Holder basically rebuilt the civil rights division of the DOJ, and has vigorously defended the voting rights of traditionally disenfranchised groups.
Your comment suggests you belong to a societal group who can take such things for granted.
Yes, and fuck the trial too! Just drag him out by the hair of his head and hang him from the nearest tree and be done with it. Right?
@dedc79: oh ok
@Elizabelle: The 4 year old they killed was pretty young too, fucker needs to go to supermax and die there.
@C.V. Danes: Because wanting murderers to receive the punishment ordered by a judge is EXACTLY the same thing as lynch mob justice!
@raven: Damn right. No sympathy for this piece of shit.
Perhaps we should let due process run it course before determining punishment…
@raven: I realize there was a beguiling little kid killed; can remember his face now.
I would feel differently were it the older brother on trial. He seemed way more culpable.
Dzokhar seemed younger, and less formed.
The death penalty is revenge killing done by the state. A society that accepts it accepts being no better than the killer whom it kills in revenge. That’s one reason why it’s wrong. I am not proud that my own country still has the death penalty.
So when we consider how else Johar Tsarnaev should be punished, let’s leave out the notion of vengeance. I took a look at the kind of sentence Anders Breivik is serving. It seems that in Norway, the concern is a practical one: how long the person remains dangerous to others. Per Wikipedia:
Short answer, because the death penalty is the law of the land. Part of being a juror means that you must be willing to consider any and all requirements of the law in the case being tried. If you can’t personally sanction a type of punishment that is both lawful and constitutional, you can’t be found to be an impartial juror.
Like I said above, the kid’s already been found guilty in the court of public opinion, so the rest is just kabuki. Let’s save all the money and drama and just hang him from the nearest tree. Nothing lynch mob about that, correct?
Yep. Right next to
tortureenhanced interrogation. Matter of fact, let’s stop calling it the death penalty and start calling it shortened punishment.
Even if you only sentenced him to 1 month for every person injured by the blast, that would be a 21 year sentence.
Lenient prison sentencing does not seem particularly warranted in this case if the jury returns a conviction.
@Cacti: Well, without the snide remarks, yes, that’s the kind of feedback I was looking for.
But there are a great many other places I wish he’d been representing the “People’s Interest”.
Starting with his positions antithetical to internet privacy.
Paul in KY
If guilty of these crimes, then I think execution is the most just sentence. Would be OK with a plea bargain to LWOP, if victims & families agree.
I see we’re getting into LBJ territory here.
That seems to me to be the operative phrase. Let’s worry about the punishment until after the conviction. You know, the whole cart and horse thing.
Paul in KY
@different-church-lady: I take it as the government not being that open to any plea agreement.
Also, his antithetical position on pursuing banksters…
@Amir Khalid: I’m anti-capital punishment (mostly for the reason you lay out up front), but Norway would not be my alternative model – particularly given that it could permit that monster to leave prison alive. It’s certainly not a model the American public will ever be sold on.
There are types of crimes where the focus should certainly be on rehabilitation more than punishment. There are crimes so horrific that there can be no rehabilitation, nor should there be. I don’t want the perpetrator executed – that just brings us down to the level of the killer. But I do want them punished.
Paul in KY
@Elizabelle: I guess the ‘crazy wife’ thing worked.
The death penalty is implicit in the text of 5th Amendment, when it states that no person shall be deprived of “life, liberty, or property without due process of law”. However, it could be abolished by statute or constitutional amendment.
I guess I should clarify that I do understand the supposed logic behind blocking death penalty opponents from serving on these types of juries. I just have a huge problem with it. The end result is that the jury is selected with a bias towards “law and order” types who favor the death penalty. This seems neither fair, nor impartial to me.
Paul in KY
@Amir Khalid: IMO, when applied properly, it is not ‘revenge’. Some crimes are so heinous that death is the only just punishment, not allowing someone to get 3 hots & a cot & TV & correspondence with lovelorn idiots for the next 50 years.
@dedc79: I agree with everything you said, but in order for punishment to be effective it needs to have a purpose. If the purpose is deterrence, then by all means make a spectacle out of him. But if the purpose is revenge, then I would submit you may be closer to the killer than you think.
Paul in KY
@Amir Khalid: IMO, that Norwegian scumbag who shot all those poor kids should have been hung, as well.
@dedc79: We tried indeterminate sentencing in CA in the 60s, and I wish I could remember what they were, but a few high-profile cases of guys let out after short sentences that committed terrible crimes were all it took to end that.
Tsarnaev hasn’t been formally convicted, but let’s not kid ourselves: he did it. He’s guilty. I’m all for the due process of law, and I absolutely want them followed to the spirit and letter in this case. But when we’re discussing him on an internet blog, I’m just going to call him the murderer of four people. Because that’s what he is. And let’s not pretend there’s any chance he won’t get convicted. He will. At some point, throwing around the word “allegedly” does nothing but add extra syllables to your sentence.
@SatanicPanic: I think you have to differentiate those who can be rehabilitated and deserve to be released back to society after time served from those who should never be released back to society no matter whether they’ve been rehabilitated or not. Those high profile cases you mentioned seem more like the latter.
I am not a supporter of the death penalty, but if the law allows for the prosecution to seek it in this case, why should Holder tell the prosecutor to not pursue it?
How does Holder’s personal beliefs trump the full and faithful execution of the law?
Unless you consider his record on gay rights and voting rights to be very unimportant.
If there isn’t a revenge component to the state’s punishment of the worst crimes (e.g. murder, rape), then the state risks losing the confidence of the people and the people will seek their own revenge and we’ll have chaos.
So for me it comes down to where we can draw the line such that the state is a trusted enforcer of the law. My preference is that this line be drawn such that the state does not itself commit murder. I certainly understand why others feel differently, and I recognize that in many ways there’s only a very thin line between the punishment of life in prison and execution.
I never know what to make of the deterrence argument – I haven’t seen anything that’s convinced me it works or doesn’t work.
… by way of the ongoing civil wars in the Caucasus (excellent Boston Globe story on the Tsarnaev family here). At the time of the bombings, Tamerlan & Dzokhar seemed like two wannabe jihadists, but their uncle Ruslan in Virginia — who wouldn’t shut up about what “losers” his nephews were — turned out to have many CIA connections. Then the FBI — not the most trusted institution in Boston — either had or hadn’t received advance notice of Tamerlan’s jihadi intentions, because they were or weren’t working with their Russian counterparts, depending on whether or not the NSA was officially listening. And then Tamerlan’s friend/FBI informant Ibragim Todashev was ‘shot while resisting arrest‘ and questions were raised about a triple murder in a town outside Boston where the FBI did or didn’t interfere because Todashev and/or Tamerlan Tsarnaev were involved. (Scroll down for a long list of stories & timelines here.)
It’s not that Dhzohar might have anything to “spill”, so much as a pervading suspicion that various people in the national security-industrial complex would prefer that he be… not around to keep reviving journalistic interest. Once he’s safely dead — and, given the automatic appeals process, that’s going to take at least a decade & millions of state dollars even if the prosecution wins — only the conspiracy theorists will keep asking inconvenient questions, and nobody pays attention to those people.
@Xantar: And that, my friend, is the essence of a show trial. If he’s already known to be guilty without a shred of doubt, then why bother with the kabuki? It’s just theater to let people air their grievances, minus the rocks and stones. Just go straight to the punishment and be done with it.
Given what he’s been up to in jail, it’s not very likely that the authorities will consider Breivik fit for release before he has to do it in a hearse. Johar Tsarnaev is very young, and was possibly influenced by Tamerlan; that’s a reason to believe that someday he might no longer be a danger to others, after a long spell in jail without his brother around. If he were then released, people might still hate him enough to want to kill him. That would be a very understandable reaction, even though it’s plainly wrong. But in that case, Johar would not be the danger.
@Paul in KY:
The problem is that we’re incapable as a society of applying it properly. We have a well documented history of condemning innocent people to die. I would much rather err on the side of mercy by refusing to execute some people who deserve to die than to err on the side of injustice by executing people who are actually innocent.
@dedc79: I think the credible threat of jail time is a deterrence to most people. Indeed, one only has to look to our esteemed bankers to see what life would look like without the credible threat of jail time :-)
Paul in KY
@dedc79: I’m a supporter of the Death Penalty (when properly administered, in only the most heinous cases, blah blah blah) & I don’t think there is any ‘deterrence value’ to it. That’s because the kinds of losers who commit these crimes never think they’re going to be caught, or just don’t care.
I am only for it as the ultimate punishment, that in a few cases ‘fits the crime’.
Paul in KY
@C.V. Danes: Because that’s not the laws we have on the books. The process must be followed (you know that).
@C.V. Danes: I agree with you there, I meant specifically with respect to capital punishment and whether it deters the crimes for which it is applied as a penalty.
Paul in KY
@Roger Moore: Sometimes it is applied ‘properly’ and too many times it has not been (innocent person executed/murdered).
Under The Hegemony of Paul ™, the most stringent safeguards would be in place to ensure that does not happen.
@Paul in KY: I think there is a quite large percentage of the prison population who might think your definition of life behind bars to be more than a little on the sunny side. You know, the ones who’ve been raped, beaten, or spent much of their lives in solitary…
@Paul in KY: Then let the process flow. My feeling is this: If (and when) the kid is found guilty, then we provide the punishment commensurate with the crime, as judged. We can all talk about the death penalty or life without parole and what not, but until the process has unfolded, all it is going to do is put people in a lynching mentality. Let the kid have his day in court, and if the state chooses to snuff him later, then so be it.
Paul in KY
@C.V. Danes: If you are relying on that to ‘enhance’ a non-death penalty punishment, then you should just bring back the rack, etc.
At least it wouldn’t be so arbitrary (whims of the attackers, physical size of the convicted, diffidence of the guards, etc.).
Paul in KY
@C.V. Danes: He will receive his day in court & maybe there are some crazy, extenuating circumstances that would call for a measure of mercy.
I tell you that Holder is a piece of work, isn’t he?
Obama tells the DOJ to lay off the legal/medical cannabis places and the DOJ still goes after them. Obama, last month, spells out continuing leaving the cannabis outlets obeying state law in a memo to the DOJ, and guess what? The DOJ here in N. Cal is still going after legal cannabis places and any physicians who work for them. WTF? I just don’t get it. I will be so happy when Obama leaves office and N. Cal US Attorney Melinda Haag turns in her resignation. She is an unbelievable terrible person.
It is overwhelmingly likely he is guilty in participating in the killings, but the exact nature of that guilt is still to be determined. How willing was he? Did he have a hand in creating the plot or was he a principle accessory? Etc. These factors matter when attempting to determine (or even merely opining on) what the appropriate punishments should be.
Tsarnaev voluntarily confessed, though since he was not Mirandized first, it may not be admissible in court. Do you have a particular reason for thinking he lied in that confession and is not actually guilty? I mean, other than bullshit CIA did it! conspiracy theories.
ETA: To be clear, I think he should get life without parole at maximum and not the death penalty, but I’m not sure what the purpose is of maintaining his legal innocence when he has confessed.
Well jeez, what the heck are we going to blow hard on the internet about until then?
Oh, FFS. There’s a difference between being a critic of the death penalty and being categorically opposed to it. It’s not a distinction a Fox bobblehead would be able to grasp, but I hold most of the people here to a higher standard.
I’m a critic of the death penalty as it exists. It is too often meted out based on eyewitness testimony alone–inherently unreliable evidence that juries treat as being of enormous value and trustworthiness. Racism–whether institutional or individual–is a powerful determinative factor in whether it is imposed. The search for some maximally humane method of doing it is a search for a balm to bamboozle those who don’t want to unflinchingly face up to the enormity of the act of killing someone. The cruelty of leaving someone on death row for year after year while the appellate process grinds to its conclusion is improperly overlooked in considering the propriety of meting it out to ordinary murderers. And, at a platonic ideal level, the notion that the state has the right to kill anyone–whether foreign or domestic–is one the world would be better off without. That’s criticism.
But I also think people like Ratko Mladic and Joseph Kony deserve hanging and that there was no reason to go burn candles for the likes of Tim McVeigh, John Wayne Gacy or Ted Bundy, so, no, I can’t honestly say I’m utterly opposed.
Yes, it’s a show trial. That doesn’t mean it’s without value. Tsarnaev has pleaded not guilty and therefore he has a right to his day in court, even if any reasonable observer knows that the conclusion is foregone. Like I said, I want him to have every legal recourse and process that’s due to him. But I’m not going to lament the fact that there’s no doubt about the outcome or about his actual guilt.
This. To me it is the single overriding component of the picture. No matter what one’s opinions are regarding the other ethical and social considerations, the fact remains that there is no recourse for getting it wrong.
So I might come to the conclusion that the death penalty is “just” in all other considerations, yet still believe we should not do it, for that singular reason.
In my case, at least, I haven’t opined about the appropriate punishment for him. All I’m saying is that caterwauling about how this is a kabuki trial is pointless. He will be found guilty because he is guilty. That’s not injustice.
The determination of whether to give him the death penalty is a separate part of the trial that happens after the jury has rendered their guilty or not guilty verdict. I agree we should wait until then to have an opinion on what should happen. But I’m not going to waste my time pretending that the first phase of the trial is anything other than a done deal. If that means it’s all a kabuki show, then so be it.
@Xantar: Another way of looking at it is that a trial is part of a process, not an event.
I bet most of us could not name the exact charges he will be tried on without looking them up. I bet most of us could not even come up with the correct number of charges without looking it up. We here can assert without any doubt that he is “guilty”, yet it’s very likely that none of us could name the things he is actually guilty of with any legal accuracy whatsoever.
That’s why it’s a good thing we’re a bunch of internet blowhards instead of actual judges.
I can state my opinion that he is undoubtedly culpable in the deaths of four people and the maiming of dozens of others. But (a) my opinion is, and ought to be, worthless unless I’m sitting on that jury, and (b) untangling the exact details of that culpability is part of the reason we have trials.
Carmen Ortiz is either bloodthirsty (likely) or doing this to set up a run for higher office (very likely).
The law of the land is that Ortiz can ask for the death penalty, but there’s no law that Holder had to let her do so.
I for one categorically oppose the death penalty.
Well, because I don’t think “we” — the state — should oppose murder by killing people, I am “utterly opposed”. And if Holder is opposed to the death penalty, except when he’s decided a particular crime or criminal is “heinous”, than he’s not opposed, he’s just playing Hamlet for the cameras.
Holder’s been an excellent Attorney General in regards to voting rights, and for marriage equality. But his record in resisting the security-industrial complex has been very, very weak. I can approve of his strengths (as though my opinion weighs as much as a fart in a windstorm) without pretending he’s never made a bad move during his tenure. It would’ve been nice if he hadn’t chosen to let Prosecutor Ortiz unleash her worst instincts, but pulling this “I would never, except for reallyreallyreally BAD crime” kabuki adds insult to injury. (Apart from the morality of state-sanctioned murder, if Tsarnaev is condemned to death, it’s going to cost the state of Massachusetts millions of dollars to pay for both sides of the mandated appeals, even though it’s Holder’s feds who insisted on the penalty that Mass voters have repeatedly rejected.)
This. He should be off the streets forever.
We have this Constitution thing which includes a Fifth, Sixth and Eighth Amendment. Defendants are entitled to due process of law, a trial by jury and protection from cruel and unusual punishment. At the most basic level that means a right to put the government to its proof. It’s not “kabuki,” it’s the foundation of our judicial system. And it certainly isn’t something to be tossed aside because the evidence heavily favors the state.
What you say is correct, but I also think you’re splitting hairs. Sure, in a court of law I would use the word “culpable” instead of “guilty” (and I’ve worked as a clerk, so I do know the difference).
But we’re not in court. We can use the word “guilty” in a colloquial sense here. I don’t see the point in trying to make a distinction that’s largely meaningless.
Just because I’m not an attorney involved in the case doesn’t mean I can’t opine that he will be found guilty of nearly everything he’s charged with. Because he will. And that’s because he did it. There are details about exactly which grade of felony he will be found guilty of, but for the purposes of this conversation, those details are meaningless.
@Paul in KY:
Can I get my pony first?
@Xantar: I agree with you to the extent that some people will use a person’s expression of assumption of guilt to derail the discussion. You’re right, “alleged” is a journalistic necessity that bears no requirement on an internet discussion. In this case just about any statement of “you don’t know if he’s guilty” ought to be met with, “Oh, come on.”
But that’s quite different from asserting (even in sarcasm) that there’s no need for a trial. Of course there’s a need for a trial, and asserting a belief in his guilt is no way the same as asserting there’s is no need for a trial.
I suspect that only (at a guess) about 30% of the commenters here are interested in a genuine investigations of the angles, and the rest are just interested in providing the gas that is the namesake of this blog. It’s those 7-in-10 who are going to mistake Occam’s Razor for a cudgel and attempt to beat the conversation into senselessness.
Wait a second. Are you talking to me now because I certainly never suggested there’s no need for a trial, even in jest. The only person saying anything about that is C.V. Danes, the commenter I was originally replying to.
mai naem mobile
I would like to have him get a super long sentence with possibility of parole but more importantly I’d like to see the guy studied. Hes there and as long as he’s willing study the hell out of him and figure out if anything can be done to change people like him in the path they take.
@mai naem mobile:
That would certainly be more productive than killing him. But sample of one, etc …
@Xantar: No no, sorry, I was talking in a general sense.
It’s worse than that. As far as I can tell, we’ve actually been going backward, finding forms of execution that are slower and less humane than what they’re replacing. They’re more up-to-date and superficially scientific, but they’re also needlessly and deliberately cruel. If we really wanted to execute people as painlessly as possible, we could do it, but it wouldn’t make good theater for the ghouls who thing a painless death is too good for the people we execute.
AFAICT, the only person here who’s said we should go ahead and waive the trial is CV Danes, who seems to think that if we can’t all believe that Tsarnaev is factually innocent before his trial, there’s no point in even having one.
Everyone else seems to think we still need to have a trial to determine Tsarnaev’s culpability and subsequent punishment even though all of the available facts point towards his being guilty of several felonies, or at least let him plea bargain to something less than the death penalty.
You can think that someone is guilty but still believe that a court of law needs to determine their punishment. That’s what CV doesn’t seem to get.
@mai naem mobile:
My understanding is that he’s a 17 year old boy who was acting under the influence of his older brother. That doesn’t legitimize what he did, or helped his brother do. But in our society, he’s not considered old enough to drink, go into the military with a guardian’s approval, and barely old enough to drive. He was/is young and impressionable. Not much to learn other than that.
The person to study would have been his older brother, who has already been executed.
Wikipedia says Johar Tsarnaev was born in July 1993. On April 15, 2013, the day of the Boston Marathon, he was 19 going on 20.
@Mnemosyne (iPhone): @Mnemosyne (iPhone):
Actually, what I said is that he’s already been tried in the court of public opinion, and that what you’re seeing right now is merely kabuki for people who need justification to snuff the life of a 17 year old boy with a clear conscience. What I also said is that we should wait until due process has run its course before sentencing this kid to anything. I did not say he should not have a trial. What I did say is that if you’ve already made up your mind, then why not just lynch the kid and be done with it.
Sometimes if you say shocking shit, it causes people to pause for a second to think about what they’re saying…
@Amir Khalid: Sorry. He was a 19 year old boy acting under the influence of his brother. Does that make a difference?
@dedc79: If you don’t oppose capital punishment for the most heinous cases, then you don’t oppose capital punishment.
And that’s essentially why I don’t oppose it. Because of the most heinous cases.
However, it seems to me that there is another issue more essential in this case, namely, whether, or to what extent, this man is guilty, and what exactly he is guilty of. They are pressuring him to plead guilty because they would prefer not to have a real trial. Even if they do, I expect a kangaroo court.
I’m nor suggesting he’s NOT guilty. But I need to be convinced of that. I still adhere to the quaint principle that a defendant is innocent until PROVEN guilty, and in order to do that, the government would almost certainly have to get into areas they’d rather not get into.
Or people who would like to see a 19-year-old young adult face the legal consequences of his actions, possibly up to life without parole. The only thing Tsarnaev is legally barred from doing at his age is drinking alcohol. If you think that he’s unusually immature for his age or has a developmental disability that means he has diminished capacity, that’s what the trial you want to call off is for.
I’m really kind of disturbed that you’ve decided that anyone who wants Tsarnaev to be penalized for what he did automatically supports executing him when there are very few people here saying that. A trial determines punishment as well as guilt — why do you want to short-circuit that process and send him straight to the execution chamber when the rest of us are more than willing to let him sit in prison for a few decades if a judge decides that’s more appropriate?
Perhaps you should look at your “shocking shit” and wonder why people think you’re an asshole for wanting to waive the trial and send Tsarnaev straight to the execution chamber.
We have his confession. We have his images on video at the crime scene. We have his shootout with police and surrender to them. What, exactly, do you need to be convinced that he did, in fact, participate in this crime?
Note that I’m leaving out whether or not there were extenuating circumstances surrounding his participation. That’s a completely different question than the one about guilt or innocence. Like other people here, I’m convinced that he’s guilty but don’t think he should be executed. I’m not sure why that’s a completely illogical position given the evidence.
Let’s single out Holder and give a free pass to every one else going against their personal morality and political convictions by flip flopping and calling for the death penalty, including the Messiah, Elizabeth Warren. After all, calling everyone out and holding them accountable would be an inconvenient truth.
Warren, Markey (my Senator, formerly my Rep), Walsh, and Coakley aren’t any of them the boss of Carmen Ortiz. Holder is. None of those other Democrats have any more authority over the federal choice to seek the death penalty than I do, so “how they feel” isn’t at issue. Holder could’ve told Ortiz to get her jollies on some other case, but… he didn’t.
Paul in KY
@Roger Moore: Yes sir, a pony will be delivered to you at the appropriate time.
Paul in KY
@Roger Moore: The death should not necessarily be ‘painless’. It should be very quick, though.