During the 7th status conference coming up on September 18th in the Tsarnaev case, several issues will hopefully be discussed.  I say hopefully because not only does Judge O’Toole delay many of his rulings but he has also been known to not even hear discussions on motions.

During the 6th status conference on August 14th, O’Toole was able to decide to deny Defendant’s Renewed Motion for Hearing to Address Leaks (Doc 438).  The defense was looking for some sort of reprimand or silencing of law enforcement and government officials.  O’Toole did, however, ask the government to make sure relevant department heads have informed their staff about the contents of the government’s July 22 letter regarding leaks.

O’Toole also decided to deny Defendant’s Motion to Set Firewall Procedures (Doc 427).  The defense again was hoping to have procedures put in place to help maintain their client/attorney privacy.   So O’Toole decided the “firewalled AUSA is to maintain a log of communications made to the BOP, the firewalled FBI agent, or the prosecutors.”  Now that really helps . . .

Defendant’s request for further materials concerning Ibragim Todashev was also denied.  There are certainly a variety of opinions regarding the connections between Todashev and the Tsarnaevs.  Many people firmly believe the cases are not related and there is no need for Dzhokhar’s defense to have the Todashev files.  But I ask just one question:  How in the world are they not related when he was killed during an interrogation in which he was allegedly Tamerlan Tsarnaev was involved in the Waltham murders?  How is that not connected?

Court reserves on defendants Motion for Clarification (Doc 442) and Motion to Compel (Doc 440).  This means O’Toole needs to think about these a little more.  In addition, the prosecution has a couple of motions up in the air, Second MOTION for Order Directing Disclosure of Mitigating Factors (Doc 529) and Second MOTION to Compel Reciprocal Discovery (Doc 530).  They really want this information, but O’Toole can’t give them everything, can he?  Might look like he was biased.

The defense has requested, in the past, motioned to have surplus counts dismissed (Doc 208).  This was denied during the April 16th status conference.  On May 1, 2014, defense filed MOTION to Strike Betrayal of the United States as a Nonstatutory Aggravating Factor (Doc 279) and this was granted during the June 18th status conference.  Recently the defense has motioned to have the indictment (Doc 506).  We’ll see if O’Toole even speaks of this, let alone rules.

The defense’s request for change of venue is one of the most important and well known motions Judge O’Toole has yet to rule on.  The motions have gone back and forth since the initial motion on June 18, 2014.  Replies, responses, sur-replies and added expert declarations, including one by Professor Neil Vidmar that was thrown out.  Granted, change of venue is typically a pretrial issue and Judge O’Toole is apparently determined to start this trial on November 3rd, having ordered both sides to confer regarding jury selection procedures.  But is it possible to change the venue after the trial starts?  Is Judge O’Toole really ready to preside over this case?
Regarding the start of the trial, we have yet to hear a ruling on continuance as well.  “I’ll make you a believer” said O’Toole to Conrad during the August status conference.  So come hell or high water, he is determined to start this trial November 3rd.
Lastly, I wonder if the defense’s visit to Russia will be brought up during the status conference?  By the way, was that a leak?

So let’s read a few tea leaves, shall we?  What will he rule on next week and how will he rule?