Denied Again: Tsarnaev Bid for Trial Delay Rebuffed by Appeals Court

A courtroom sketch of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.
Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is depicted in his first court appearance in more than a year on December 18, 2014. –REUTERS/Jane Flavell Collins

On Saturday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit denied the 11th-hour request by lawyers for the accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev to delay his trial and move it out of state, The Boston Globe reports.

The emergency petition was filed before the end of the day Wednesday, mere hours after U.S. District Court Judge George O’Toole Jr. rejected a similar request by the defense.

In Wednesday’s petition, defense lawyers asked the appeals court to order the trial to be moved out of Boston and to postpone jury selection, which is set to start Monday. If the court opted not to do that, the defense asked that the appeals court order the trial judge to hold a hearing on a disputed consultant’s study about the jury pool before selection began, according to The Globe.

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On Friday, O’Toole ruled that postponing jury selection would pose too great an inconvenience to the more than 1,200 people who have been summonsed for that purpose.

The appeals court’s decision not to intervene means that the trial will continue as planned once jury selection is completed. Saturday’s decision read, in part, “The judges in the majority are satisfied that full consideration has been given to the issues raised by the petition.’’

Tsarnaev’s lawyers have asked to postpone and relocate the trial on multiple occasions, arguing that they needed more time to sift through the enormous amount of evidence to be presented in the trial, and that empaneling an impartial jury in Eastern Massachusetts would be all but impossible.

The long-awaited, highly anticipated trial has already been pushed back from a November start.

Tsarnaev has pleaded not guilty to 30 counts related to the April 2013 attacks at the Marathon finish line that killed three and injured more than 260. He could be executed if convicted.

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