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U.S. v Tsarnaev: 8th Status Conference

Note for Regular Readers of the “Boston Bombing News”:

Today’s hearing was very brief. (All of fifteen minutes.) For this reason, my report on today’s proceedings  is equally brief and not worthy of the “BBN” prefix! pbszebra is ready to follow woodybox with something far more substantial but I have decided to post my, (short), report on today’s proceedings for anyone who would like a little more information than has been provided by the media tweets.

Status Conference:

The  8th. Status Conference in the case of US v Dzhokhar Tsarnaev took place at 10.00 am today, in Courtroom 9, at Moakley Federal Courthouse in Boston with Judge George A. O’Toole Jr. presiding. Nadine Pelligrini, William Weinreb, Aloke Chakraverty and Donald Cabell were present today for the prosecution and Judy Clarke, David Bruck and William Fick for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s defense.

Judge O’Toole opened today’s proceedings by saying that he expected them to be brief which proved to be absolutely correct. He  went on to say that he considered a mid-month status conference in November to be a better idea than the date suggested  in the Joint Status Conference Report. (Doc 605.)
(Thanks TBMB.)

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s next status conference is now scheduled for Wednesday, 12th. November at 10.00 am. The Final Pretrial Conference remains scheduled for Thursday, 18th. December at 10.oo am.

The next item for discussion was the most recent Status Report, (again, Doc.605), and, most particularly, both witness and exhibit lists. The government is expected to provide “short-lists” on both witnesses and exhibits on 12/15/14 and final lists on 12/29/14. As tweeted by Milton Valencia: “Lawyers tell judge they’re going over discovery: He responds, “to the extent you’re engaged in negotiations, I’m happy to let you do that.” Judge O’Toole remarked that should “an impasse be reached”, such would then be resolved at the 11/12 status conference.

The topic of jury selection was next on the agenda and we learned from the judge that approximately one thousand potential jurors will be summoned, with, as the judge put it, “an expected yield of ten percent.” The process of jury selection may not actually begin until 6th. January, 2015, a day after the official start of the trial.

The final matter Judge O’Toole chose to mention today was what he referred to as a “housekeeping error.” This “error” apparently concerns the defense Motion to Suppress in regards to statements Dzhokhar Tsarnaev allegedly made to the FBI, whilst at Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital, a very short time after his capture/arrest. The court records show that this motion is “pending”, when in actual fact, the judge denied this motion, “without prejudice”, sometime previously. (The prosecution has indicated that they do not intend to use these alleged statements at trial, but should this change, the defense would then be permitted to readdress their motion.)

At the very end of today’s proceedings, William Fick addressed the judge to inform him of a certain article published in “Newsweek” magazine. (This article was, of course, Michele McPhee’s ” Family Matters: Dzhokhar Tsarnaev & the Women in His Life/Twisted Sisters”, although neither the title nor the writer were mentioned in court today.) For me the most telling statement of the morning was when William Fick said that this article suggested input from a “high level law enforcement source.” Judge O’Toole said that he was not aware of this article but asked the prosecution what they knew. William Weinreb acknowledged that the prosecution were aware. Barely fifteen minutes after this status conference began, it was concluded.

Additional Notes:

The first thing which became apparent upon my arrival at the courthouse today was  the particularly numerous and prominent presence of law enforcement, both outside and inside the courthouse.

Also apparent was a small group of protesters/supporters, organized, I understand, by Elena Teyer, the former mother-in-law of Ibragim Todashev, who was shot to death by the FBI during an interrogation, at his home, in May of 2013. This lady certainly seems to have lent the protest/show of support some credibility and if some of the comments I overheard were anything to go by, these people achieved at least some measure of that which they sought.

As far as I am aware, no victims/survivors of the bombing were in attendance today.

Although, as I have mentioned in the last paragraph of my main article, no mention was made of the title or writer of the “Newsweek” article referenced in court today, that writer was present in the courtroom today.

Lastly, it was very pleasant to sit amongst, and in a couple of cases, meet, albeit briefly, others whose thoughts on these cases may be similar to mine. Thank you.

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