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Dershowitz: Boston Bomber Will Become Martyr with Death Penalty.


Image: Dershowitz: Boston Bomber Will Become Martyr with Death Penalty

By Todd Beamon

The Justice Department is giving Dzhokhar Tsarnaev “what he wants” by seeking the death penalty for last year’s Boston Marathon bombings, Alan Dershowitz told Newsmax on Thursday.

“It will make him more famous,” the former Harvard law professor said in an exclusive interview. “It’ll attract more attention.

“It’ll give him an opportunity to make his jihad statements. It will focus a lot of attention on whether he lives or dies. This is going to give him what he wants.

“After all, why did he commit this crime?” Derschowitz asked. “He had nothing against the people he killed. What he wanted to do was make a statement — and now, he’s being given an opportunity to make that statement in an extreme context.”

The Justice Department said on Thursday that it would seek the death penalty against Tsarnaev who is accused of setting the bombs that killed three and injured more than 260 at the finish line of the Boston Marathon. He is also charged with killing police officer Sean Collier.

Tsarnaev, 20, is charged with planting two pressure-cooker bombs at the site with his older brother, Tamerlan, who was later killed in a shootout with police. They are ethnic Chechens from Russia who had lived in the Boston area for about a decade.

Seventeen of 30 charges against Tsarnaev carry the possibility of the death penalty, including using a weapon of mass destruction to kill. He has pleaded not guilty. No trial date has been set.

Attorney General Eric Holder made the final decision. The bombings were one of the most prominent terrorist attacks in the U.S. since 9/11.

Dershowitz told Newsmax that he was not surprised at Justice’s decision.

“If there is ever a case, if there ever was a crime that calls for the death penalty, this is it: Premeditated. Massive numbers of intended victims. Three deaths — many, many injuries. No remorse. Open-and-shut factual case on the evidence.

“On the other hand,” Dershowitz reasoned, “he is young and may have been influenced by his brother — but those mitigating factors don’t even compare to the aggravating factors.

“I would still think the better course would’ve been to let him rot in jail and die 50 years from now an obscure prisoner rather give him the attention he’s going to get as somebody facing the death penalty,” he said.

Tsarnaev’s case now will attract the attention of the American Civil Liberties Union and organizations that oppose the death penalty, Dershowitz predicted.

“He’s going to be a martyr to some people who agree with him. I think we’re giving him what he wants here.

“I think he wants the death penalty,” he continued. “He was prepared to die in a shootout. He was prepared to probably die when he planted the bomb — and he’s probably willing to die now as a martyr.

“I don’t think we, as a society, gain much by putting him on trial for his life.”

But Dershowitz commended Justice for not rushing to judgment in its decision.

“I suspect that there was quite a bit of debate within the Justice Department. There are probably a lot of people in this Justice Department who don’t support the death penalty — and there are probably some who do.

“It’s a credit to the Justice Department that they gave it the kind of thoughtful consideration, even though I think they came to the wrong decision.”

There have only been three federal executions in the past 50 years. Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh and triple murderer Juan Raul Garza were put to death within eight days of each other in June 2001, while Louis Jones who raped and murdered a soldier was executed in March 2003.

And getting a jury to sentence Tsarnaev to death is not assured — particularly in Massachusetts, which abolished the death penalty in 1984. The sentence can still be applied in federal cases tried in the state.

A Boston Globe survey found last year that 57 percent of the city’s residents favored life in prison for Tsarnaev, if he is convicted, with 33 percent supporting execution.

“We don’t know what the public really wants,” Dershowitz told Newsmax. “We know the public, generally in Massachusetts, is against the death penalty — but many of the people who are against the death penalty would probably favor it in this case. Once they hear all the evidence, they may favor it.

“But remember,” the law professor cautioned, “all you need is one juror saying ‘no’ and holding out — you can’t impose the death penalty unless there’s unanimity. It’s certainly possible that they won’t get the death penalty.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

US to Seek Death Penalty Against Boston Marathon Bomber.


Accused bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev should be put to death if he is found guilty of planting bombs that killed three people and wounded 264 at the Boston Marathon last year, the U.S. government’s chief prosecutor said on Thursday.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said in a statement that he was authorizing trial prosecutors to seek the death penalty against Tsarnaev, who is charged with committing one of the largest attacks on U.S. soil since Sept. 11, 2001.

“The nature of the conduct at issue and the resultant harm compel this decision,” Holder said. Holder had faced a Friday deadline for deciding whether to seek the death penalty as part of Tsarnaev’s upcoming trial in Boston.

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The decision drew fire from the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts, which pointed out the case would be prosecuted in a state that had scrapped the death penalty decades ago.

“I wish Federal officials would have respected the clear wishes of the people of Massachusetts, who were on the front lines in this tragic event,” Carol Rose, the executive director of the ACLU of Massachusetts said.

A Boston Globe survey found last year that 57 percent of Boston residents favored life in prison for Tsarnaev, if he is convicted, with 33 percent in favor of execution.

Prosecutors say that Tsarnaev, 20, and his 26-year-old brother Tamerlan planted a pair of homemade pressure-cooker bombs at the race’s crowded finish line on April 15, 2013, killing three people – including an 8-year-old boy. The blast also wounded 264 others, many of whom lost limbs.

Three nights later, the pair killed a university police officer and later engaged in a shootout with police that left Tamerlan dead, prosecutors say.

Austin Sarat, Professor of Jurisprudence and Political Science at Amherst College in Massachusetts, said the nature of the case probably left the Justice Department little choice but to seek capital prosecution.

“If the harm is unusual, if the harm is dramatic, gruesome, and devastating, it is often very hard for any other factor to outweigh it,” he said. “I’m not surprised by this decision.”

The younger Tsarnaev pleaded not guilty to the criminal charges. Justice Department officials said the nearly seven months since the attack was necessary to evaluate fully the circumstances of the case and to gather recommendations from prosecutors advising Holder.

Holder has said he is not a proponent of the death penalty because he believes its value as a deterrent is questionable, but since becoming attorney general in 2009, he has authorized prosecutors to seek the death penalty in 36 cases, according to the Justice Department.

Attorneys for Tsarnaev have argued against a possible death sentence, in part because they claim Dzhokhar was following the lead of his older brother. They have also accused the government of throwing up unfair obstacles to hinder preparation of their client’s defense, including seeking to rush the start of trial and not sharing important evidence.

Tsarnaev’s defense attorney Miriam Conrad declined to comment on Holder’s decision on Thursday.

The blasts killed 8-year-old Martin Richard as well as Krystle Campbell, 29, and Chinese national Lu Lingzi, 23. Tsarnaev is also accused in the shooting death of Sean Collier, 27, the university police officer.

A spokesman for Richard’s family said the family did not want to comment. Efforts to reach the families of the other victims were not immediately successful.

A trial date for Tsarnaev has not yet been set.

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© 2014 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.
Source: Newsmax.com

Death Penalty Decision Imminent in Boston Bombing.


As attorney general, Eric Holder has approved pursuing the death penalty in at least 34 criminal cases, upholding a long-ago pledge to Congress that he would vigorously enforce federal law even though he’s not a proponent of capital punishment.

 

In the next day or two, Holder will make the most high-profile death penalty decision of his career in law enforcement: whether to seek capital punishment in the case of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the defendant in the Boston Marathon bombings last April that killed three people and injured 260.

As the U.S. attorney in Washington, D.C. in 1993, Holder recommended to Attorney General Janet Reno that she not seek the death penalty in the case of a slain police officer because of legal obstacles that made conviction unlikely. Reno overruled him but in the end, the government cut a deal that put the killer away for life imprisonment, a frequent outcome in capital punishment prosecutions.

“The case had problems … and when we had the ability to get a plea from the defendant that put him in jail without any chance of parole for the rest of his life, we decided to accept the plea,” Holder explained later to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

At the same hearing, Holder assured the Senate panel that “I will enforce the law that has been passed, and any statute that contains a death penalty provision will be looked at as any other statute. I will enforce the law as this Congress gives it to us.”

In recent death penalty cases brought by Holder’s Justice Department, one defendant was sentenced to death and six received life sentences, either through a plea or a trial.

Even when there’s a conviction, the odds against death sentences being imposed are such that “from the Justice Department’s point of view the question about the death penalty often comes down to ‘If we seek it, how likely are we to get it?’” said David Schertler, who was chief of the homicide section when Holder ran the U.S. Attorney’s office in Washington, D.C.

Holder has had “a lot of experience with the death penalty and he has always been extremely thoughtful, deliberate and concerned about being consistent on the subject,” Schertler said.

As recently as last week, Holder emphasized that his opposition to the death penalty is due in part to practical concerns — what he sees as failures in the legal system.

“The problem is that in too many places, lawyers who are defending poor people don’t have adequate resources to do a good job,” Holder said in an appearance at the University of Virginia last Thursday. “You end up with these miscarriages of justice.”

“It’s really one of the reasons why I am personally opposed to the death penalty,” Holder added. “As good as our system is, it’s ultimately a system that is filled with men and women who are well intentioned but who make mistakes. And as horrible as it is for somebody to be put in jail for crimes that they did not commit, it is obviously not as bad as a situation where somebody is executed for a crime that he or she did not commit.”

But Holder’s description of a flawed legal system with inadequate resources doesn’t apply to the Boston case.

One of the finest death penalty attorneys in the country, Judy Clarke, is leading the legal team defending Tsarnaev. That legal team may be able to mount a strong defense by arguing that the defendant, just 19 at the time of the bombings, was under the influence of his older brother, Tamerlan, who was killed in a shootout with police four days after the blasts.

Another factor could complicate the government’s case if it seeks the death penalty. Massachusetts hasn’t had a state death penalty law since 1984. History suggests that it can be extremely difficult for federal prosecutors to win capital punishment cases in states that don’t have a capital punishment law of their own.

On the other hand, a jury of Massachusetts residents handed up a death sentence in the only federal capital case now pending in the state. A judge tossed out the jury’s death sentence against Gary Lee Sampson, a drifter who pleaded guilty in the July 2001 slayings of two men who had picked Sampson up hitchhiking. The U.S. Attorney in Boston, Carmen Ortiz, says prosecutors will again seek the death penalty instead of allowing Sampson to serve a life sentence.

The numbers seem to suggest an uphill battle for a death penalty prosecution.

From 1993 to 2012, the Justice Department brought 88 capital punishment cases in states that didn’t have a death penalty. Just seven of the defendants wound up on death row, according to data compiled by the Federal Death Penalty Resource Counsel Project.

Larry Mackey, a former Justice Department prosecutor, said that if Tsarnaev goes to trial, jury selection will delve into whether the jurors really hold the same view as Massachusetts law. In the end, he said, any risk that the prosecution can seat 12 jurors prepared to vote for death — even in Massachusetts — will propel negotiations for a guilty plea with life imprisonment. In this case, both parties have a reason to be at the negotiating table, he said.

There have been just three federal executions since the death penalty was reinstituted in 1976, and Mackey prosecuted one of them — Timothy McVeigh, in the Oklahoma City bombing case. The other defendant in the Oklahoma City bombing case, Terry Nichols, is serving a term of life imprisonment without possibility of parole.

© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Source: Newsmax.com

Bolton: Americans Should Be on Guard After Terrorism in Russia.


Terrorists could target sporting events in the United States before the Sochi Olympics in Russia in February, former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton warned Tuesday.

“I suspect that law enforcement and intelligence in this country are focused on the risk that Chechen terrorists might try to one-up the Boston Marathon bombing in this country, as a prelude to the Sochi Olympics,” Bolton said on Fox News’America’s Newsroom.”

Story continues below video.

Terrorists struck twice in Russia over the weekend, hitting targets in the southern city of Volgograd, formerly known as Stalingrad.

More than 30 people died in separate attacks at a train station and on a trolley bus. Officials suspect Islamic militants from Chechnya were responsible.

Bolton said Americans should bring “situational awareness” of the potential for terrorist attacks to any sporting events that draw large numbers of people, either in the United States or abroad.

He said the Winter Olympics next month are especially vulnerable because events are spread out over a wide area.

“There still will be tens of thousands of spectators all over the area. If you secure one area, if you make the skiing venue safer, it simply means that other targets may end up being softer, more attractive to the terrorists — bus depots, hotels, that kind of thing,” he said.

Bolton explained that the animosity between the factions fighting in Russia “goes back centuries.” Russian extremists would view the Olympics as a “real opportunity to get their message out worldwide,” he said.

“When the entire world’s attention is focused on Sochi, it’s a perfect opportunity for Chechens and other terrorists to use it to attack.”

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© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

By Wanda Carruthers

Bill Rodgers: Terrorists Won’t Stop Olympic Games.


The Winter Olympics will not be stopped by the cowardly terrorists who staged two deadly bombings in Russia this week, former Olympic runner and four-time New York City and Boston Marathon winner Bill Rodgers says.

“I’m confident the American athletes and athletes from around the world are going to go to Sochi, it’s going to be a great Olympic games,” Rodgers told “The Steve Malzberg Show” on Newsmax TV.

Story continues below video.

 

“You’re not going to stop the Olympic Games — not anywhere. I don’t believe so.”

On Monday, a suicide bomb killed at least 14 people in the southern Russian city of Volgograd, just a day after an explosion at Volgograd’s main train station killed 17 people and wounded at least 35.

Russian authorities have declared both bombings to be terrorist attacks.

”[It's] another attempt to get attention for a cause . . . We’re taking a look at a small, isolated group of religious extremists,” Rodgers said.

“You can’t defeat the world, you know? In this sense, it kind of gives the rest of the world an understanding of what we have to do, which is to unite and don’t let people stand in your way and stop you.”

Rodgers, 66, who competed in the 1976 Olympics in Montreal, believes Russia has expert security forces to prevent terrorism at the Olympics, which will take place in February.

“The Russians stopped the Nazi invasion in World War II and the Russian people are very tough. I raced against the top Russians back in the ’70s and ’80s,” he said.

“The political leaders will take a look at this and they’ll come to a solution in the end.”

Rodgers, author of “Marathon Man: My 26.2-Mile Journey from Unknown Grad Student to the Top of the Running World,” said athletes live by a saying: have no fear.

“It’s the way we live and . . . athletes always do their best and try to rise above.”

Rodgers says he vehemently disagrees with Brian Stelter of “CNN Newsroom,” who suggested on Friday that news outlets may have had an “overreaction” to the Boston Marathon bombings last April that killed three and injured 264.

“I disagree completely. It is political terrorism. It’s a worldwide issue because there is this small group of extremists and they travel here and there and they’re around the world, to an extent,” he said.

“But, overall, the majority of all people are against these extremists so that’s why they cannot win.”

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© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

By Bill Hoffmann

Tsarnaev Heard Voices that May Have Motivated Boston Attack.


Tamerlan Tsarnaev, the eldest brother of the two Boston Bombers, heard a voice in his head that told him what to do and could have been a motivating factor in the Boston Marathon terrorist attack.

According to an extensive investigation by The Boston Globe into the Tsarnaev family, it may have been this voice that led to the terror attack at the finish line of the Boston Marathon on April 15, not jihadist revolutionaries.

“He was torn between those two people,” Donald Larking, a 67 year-old man who attended mosque with Tamerlan, told the Globe. “He said that several times. And he did not like it.”

The voice offers an alternative theory to “the claim by Russian security officials that Tamerlan made contact with or was recruited by Islamist radicals during his visit to his family homeland,” the Globe reported.

Tamerlan told his mother that it made him feel like there were “two people inside of me.”

The voice, which started when he was a young man, grew increasingly more authoritative over the years, according to the newspaper’s investigation. He told a friend that it gave him orders, bidding him to do specific acts, but he did not disclose what they were.

Tamerlan was 26 at the time of the marathon bombing and allegedly organized the attack with his brother, Dzhokhar. Tamerlan was killed on April 19 during a gunfight with police.

Dzhokhar was wounded but survived the police fight and has been indicted on 30 counts for killing three people and wounding at least 260 others with the pressure cooker bombs that he and his brother allegedly made and detonated at the marathon finish line.

The eldest brother traveled to the Russian state of Dagestan, where he stayed for six months in 2012. It was reported that he may have tried to join a rebel Muslim group while he was there. However, investigators have said that they have not found evidence showing that the group was giving the two brothers instructions on the attack.

Dzhokhar claimed while he was in the hospital recovering from gunshot wounds that they were motivated by the U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

 

By Courtney Coren

Fears Grow over English-fluent Jihadists Infiltrating America.


The State Department on Wednesday stepped up efforts to counter moves by al-Qaida and other Muslim extremists to recruit more Americans and other English speakers via the Internet.

“We need to be ready to blunt their appeal,” Alberto Fernandez, coordinator of the department’s Center for Strategic Counterterrorism Communications, told The New York Times.

The pilot program focuses on deterring men ages 18 to 30, mostly in the Middle East, from becoming involved with such groups, The Times reported.

As examples of such groups’ influence, authorities cite the case of the accused Boston Marathon bombers, Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

They built pressure-cooker bombs they set off at the finish line of the marathon in April from information they obtained from al-Qaida’s online magazine, Inspire, The Times reports.

Since 2011, many Americans have gone or tried to go to Syria to fight with the rebels against President Bashar al-Assad‘s military, the Times reports.

In addition, the propaganda on al-Qaida’s Yemen affiliate now has English subtitles — and al-Shabaab, the Islamist extremist group in Somalia, now has an English-language magazine on the web.

“They were setting the narrative and had a free shot at the audience for radicalizing people,” Fernandez, a former U.S. ambassador to Equatorial Guinea, told The Times.

He was referring to the unchallenged efforts for several years by these groups in getting their online messages across to English speakers. “Nobody was calling them” on it.

According to The Times, the State Department’s program includes posting messages on English-language sites that jihadists scour for promoting their causes, recruiting loyalists, and raising money.

For now, though, only images and messages will be posted — not efforts to engage extremists in online conversations, The Times reports.

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© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

By Todd Beamon

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