Boston Bombing News: Third Status Conference: 2/12/14
Today I was fortunate in being able to attend DT’s third status conference, at 10.00 am, at the John Joseph Moakley Courthouse in Boston. Judge O’ Toole began by addressing the issue of scheduling. For this reason, I will begin this post by listing all of the deadlines and court dates set. (I do understand, however, that some, if not all of these dates may be subject to change.) Much of this information is, by now, available at multiple locations. My aim here is to list all of the information in this one location.
Judge O’ Toole stated that he was inclined to agree with the prosecution as to scheduling of a trial date. The trial date has been set for 11/3/14 . ( Please be aware that this is the date upon which the jury will be empaneled and not the date upon which the court will begin hearing evidence.)
The deadline for discovery was set for 3/12/14. (It was noted, however, that future disputes regarding this would need to be addressed as they arose.)
The deadline for motions to suppress was set for 4/9/14
The deadline forchange of venue was set for6/18/14
The deadline for “all other matters” was set for 5/7/14
The next status conference was originally set for 6/11/14 but this was later put back to 6/18/14 at Judy Clarke’s request. Motion hearings are expected between now and then.
A pre-trial hearing has been set for 10/20/14. (Two weeks prior to jury selection.) Judge O’ Toole went on to say that he expected a “lengthy trial” and that not all evidence, from either side, needed to be presented. (?)
Much of the discussion at today’s conference was in relation to discovery. The FBI have some 2,000 pieces of physical evidence at Quantico and two other locations. DT’s defense have been unable to access this, despite three letters having been sent to the government requesting access. To date, DT’s defense have only received a reply to their first letter. Judy Clarke addressed the discovery issue first, but was quickly followed up by Miriam Conrad who, imo, gave every impression of being absolutely furious with the prosecution! She stated that a letter requesting access to discovery was sent to the prosecution on 12/9/13 and that the prosecution replied via e-mail, stating that this request would be processed “after the holidays.” Ms. Conrad then went on to say that she had been unaware that “the holidays” extended nearly up until President’s Day! (Defense received a reply to their communication on 2/7/14) It was said that no one in DT’s defense team had experienced anything like this at any time previous.
Aloke S. Chakravarty, in place of William Weinreb, was in court today, for the prosecution, along with Carmen Ortiz. Ortiz did not address the court today. Chakravarty’s excuse for the delay in providing access to discovery to the defense was that the defense had not been “specific” in regards to what items of evidence they wished to have access to. He claimed that a list of evidence had been sent to DT’s counsel, but Judy Clarke refuted this. Judge O’ Toole appeared to have become visibly irritated by the prosecution at this point, and, shaking his head, asked, “surely someone has a list?” The upshot of this exchange was that the Judge gave the prosecution until the end of this week to provide a list of the physical to the defense. The prosecution was warned that if they failed to comply, that their “preferred trial date” would be in jeopardy. (You have, no doubt, all seen David Frank’s tweet, where he quotes Judy Clarke as having said to Judge O’ Toole, “You have a black robe and it took you that long to get an answer from government on discovery!”
Another item of discord between DT’s defense and the prosecution appears to be discovery related to expert witnesses. The defense is expected to call several, but do not wish to disclose their strategy to the prosecution. The Judge decided that this discovery would be produced alternately rather than simultaneously.
A motion was filed yesterday, by DT’s defense, concerning the SAMs still in place. ( This, imo again, sounds hopeful.) The motion has not been made public record yet and will be in redacted form when this happens.
DT’s defense attorneys William Fick and Timothy Watkins did not address the court today.
I left the courthouse today feeling a lot more positive than I have done in a long time. Obviously, I do not know if there will be a plea deal, but at this point, consider it highly unlikely. Do believe that this is going to trial! It is also my belief that DT’s defense will fight, and fight hard, for the best outcome for their client. Thought Miriam Conrad was awesome today. A feisty lady! (And I mean that as a complement.) Judy Clarke is softly spoken and somehow gives the impression of being a kind person. (This is not in anyway meant to suggest that she is not indeed a formidable attorney – I am certain that she is!) I was not able to form an opinion on William Fick and Timothy Watkins as they only spoke quietly, between themselves, at today’s conference.
Hope that at least some of this is informative and of interest. It is the best and fullest account I am able to provide.