A lawyer for Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev pressed a federal appeals court Thursday to move his trial out of Massachusetts, citing “saturation publicity” about the case and the large number of people in the state who were personally affected by the deadly attack.
In arguments before the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, federal public defender Judith Mizner said the local jury pool is “connected to the case in many ways” and cannot be counted on to be fair and impartial.
If the trial is moved out of state, “people won’t come to it with the same set of emotions and feelings,” she said.
But Assistant U.S. Attorney William Weinreb said the judge has been conducting thorough questioning of prospective jurors to weed out people who have formed opinions on Tsarnaev’s guilt. During that process, known as voir dire, the judge has provisionally qualified 61 people he believes are capable of being fair and impartial jurors. They will move on to the next stage of jury selection.
“The voir dire process is working,” Weinreb said.
Chief Judge Sandra Lynch noted that prosecutors have argued that asking the appeals court to intervene now and order the trial relocated would be an “extraordinary” move and that typically the trial location issue is raised on appeal after a trial.