1 Year Later, an Update on the Dzhokhar Tsarnaev Trial

By Gabriella Khorasanee, JD on April 14, 2014 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Tomorrow marks the passing of one-year after the disturbing attack on runners and attendees of the Boston Marathon, allegedly carried out by the Tsarnaev brothers. One year later, and we are closer to trial, yet there may still be delays.

Attempts at finding out exactly what is happening in the case against the only surviving Tsarnaev brother, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, are difficult at best to confirm because of the secrecy surrounding the trial. One look at the Public Access to Court Electronic Records database shows listing upon listing of sealed motions, with some of the court's orders inaccessible as well.

Previous Motions

Here is what we know for sure: Tsarnaev will be tried in the District Court for the District of Massachusetts, rather than a military commission, as some lawmakers originally argued. And, on the 30 charges he is facing, he is pleading not guilty, reports the Boston Herald. Finally, we know that earlier this year, the United States filed a Notice of Intent to Seek the Death Penalty against Tsarnaev.

Motion for Extension of Time to File

Last Tuesday, Tsarnaev's attorneys asked for more time to file motions to suppress evidence. They asked for until April 23, 2014 to file motions to suppress statements, and requested until May 7, 2014 to file motions to suppress evidence seized during searches. They asked for more time with no objection from the prosecutors, and stated that the "motions to suppress evidence raise complex issues, which the parties are discussing in an attempt to narrow the issues to be addressed by the Court." A note on PACER shows the motion terminated the following day, and access to the order is not permitted.

Motion for Fed.R.Crim.P. 12.2(b) Notice

Last Friday, prosecutors filed a Motion for Notice Pursuant to Fed.R.Crim.P.12.2(b), asking Tsarnaev's attorneys to let them know if they have any intention "to introduce expert evidence relating to a mental disease or defect or any other mental condition of the defendant which bears on either the issue of guilt or the issue of punishment." According to the notice, prosecutors would like to know by May 7, 2014. Whether Tsarnaev will plead insanity may have an effect on whether the death penalty will be an option.

The trial is still set for November 3, 2014 and is "expected to last three months" according to the Boston Herald. As we get closer to trial and learn more, we will keep you posted.

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