Lawyers for the accused Boston Marathon bomber are asking a federal judge for a 10-month delay to the start of his trial, now scheduled to begin this November.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s attorneys called the current trial schedule “unusually fast compared to the normal practice in federal courts’’ in their motion Friday.
“We recognize that the government and many members of the public, especially in the Boston area, may want the trial to begin quickly,’’ it continues. “But it is critically important that any trial be fair, which means giving both sides, not just the government, enough time to uncover and present all relevant evidence.’’
The filing adds that the government produced about 6.7 terabytes worth of digital evidence, including more than 100,000 pages of witness statements and other reports.
Tsarnaev, now 21, could face the death penalty for his alleged role in the attack that killed three people and injured more than 260
“In a non-capital case, where the only question to be resolved is the defendant’s factual guilt or innocence of the crimes charged in the indictment, defense counsel might safely ignore much of this tsunami of evidence and information, and limit their attention to the relatively narrow (albeit still massive) categories of evidence bearing directly on whether the defendant helped perpetrate the offenses alleged,’’ the attorneys wrote. “But in a capital case, the issues bearing on the issue of sentence are much broader. In this case, for example, they include the apportionment of responsibility between the defendant and his plainly dominant older brother.’’
The defense also requested a venue change for the trial earlier this month, arguing the local jury pool would be too biased to offer Tsarnaev a fair trial in a Boston courtroom.
It is not clear when the judge will rule on either motion.