Tag: Death Penalty

First Opinion And Two Arguments

On Tuesday Justice Ginsburg announced the first opinion of the Court in a double-jeopardy case, Bravo-Fernandez v. U.S., argued on the first day of the term. Ginsburg spoke at length despite a severe hoarseness that made it hard to understand, and naturally that led to some speculation about her health. Once the argument got under way, though, she participated as vigorously as usual.

The Court heard three arguments this week, only two of which I sketched. Tuesday’s case, Moore v. Texaswas about the standard used to determine if a Texas death row inmate is too intellectually disabled to be executed.

Wednesday’s immigrant detention argument in Jennings v. Rodriguez pitted the plenary powers doctrine (I had to look that up) versus judicial review.

. . . and outside the it was a very soggy couple of days . . .

 

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First Arguments In October

Here are sketches from three of the five cases argued in the Supreme Court during this first week of the October 2016 term (wish I hadn’t skipped Tuesday’s bank fraud argument, Shaw v. U.S., and missed Justice Breyer’s Kardashian hypothetical ).

Tuesday’s collateral estoppel double-jeopardy case, Bravo-Fernandez v. U.S. :

Wednesday’s insider trading case, Salman v. U.S. :

. . . and the Texas racial bias in death penalty arguments in Buck v. Davis :

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A Couple Of Sentencing Arguments

Last week seems like a long time ago. I’ve been busy with some personal business – all good – and never got around to posting the sketches from last weeks arguments in Montgomery v. Louisiana and Hurst v. Florida.

The first argument concerned inmates who as juveniles were automatically sentenced to life without the possibility of parole. The Court three years ago, in Miller v. Alabamaruled that although juveniles could receive a life sentence it couldn’t be automatic. The issue here is whether that applies retroactively.

The second argument looked at the role of juries in determining sentence in Florida death penalty cases.

 

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Tsarnaev Sentencing Sketches

Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was formally sentenced to death on Wednesday. After two dozen victims and family made statements about suffering, strength, courage, and love, Tsarnaev was given the opportunity to address the court. It was the first time, except for a few words uttered at his arraignment in 2013, that we’ve heard him speak. He spoke in a soft, accented voice pausing between sentences. Whether he actually apologized is debatable. His entire statement is at the end of this post, so you can decide for yourself.

“What will be remembered,” Judge O’Toole told Tsarnaev at the conclusion of sentencing, “is the evil you have done.”

Anyway, here are the sketches.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s statement to the court:

Thank you, your Honor, for giving me an opportunity to speak. I would like to begin in the name of Allah, the exalted and glorious, the most gracious, the most merciful, “Allah” among the most beautiful names. Any act that does not begin in the name of God is separate from goodness.

 

This is the blessed month of Ramadan, and it is the month of mercy from Allah to his creation, a month to ask forgiveness of Allah and of his creation, a month to express gratitude to Allah and to his creation. It’s the month of reconciliation, a month of patience, a month during which hearts change. Indeed, a month of many blessings.

 

The Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, said if you have not thanked the people, you have not thanked God. So I would like to first thank my attorneys, those who sit at this table, the table behind me, and many more behind the scenes. They have done much good for me, for my family. They made my life the last two years very easy. I cherish their company. They’re lovely companions. I thank you.

 

I would like to thank those who took time out of their daily lives to come and testify on my behalf despite the pressure. I’d like to thank the jury for their service, and the Court. The Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, said that if you do not — if you are not merciful to Allah’s creation, Allah will not be merciful to you, so I’d like to now apologize to the victims, to the survivors.

 

Immediately after the bombing, which I am guilty of — if there’s any lingering doubt about that, let there be no more. I did do it along with my brother — I learned of some of the victims. I learned their names, their faces, their age. And throughout this trial more of those victims were given names, more of those victims had faces, and they had burdened souls.

 

Now, all those who got up on that witness stand and that podium related to us — to me — I was listening — the suffering that was and the hardship that still is, with strength and with patience and with dignity. Now, Allah says in the Qur’an that no soul is burdened with more than it can bear, and you told us just how unbearable it was, how horrendous it was, this thing I put you through. And I know that you kept that much. I know that there isn’t enough time in the day for you to have related to us everything. I also wish that far more people had a chance to get up there, but I took them from you.

 

Now, I am sorry for the lives that I’ve taken, for the suffering that I’ve caused you, for the damage that I’ve done. Irreparable damage.

 

Now, I am a Muslim. My religion is Islam. The God I worship, besides whom there is no other God, is Allah. And I prayed for Allah to bestow his mercy upon the deceased, those affected in the bombing and their families. Allah says in the Qur’an that with every hardship there is relief. I pray for your relief, for your healing, for your well-being, for your strength.

 

I ask Allah to have mercy upon me and my brother and my family. I ask Allah to bestow his mercy upon those present here today. And Allah knows best those deserving of his mercy. And I ask Allah to have mercy upon the ummah of Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him. Amin. Praise be to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds.

 

Thank you.

 

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The Verdict Is Death For Tsarnaev

Tsarnaev150515Nothing to say except I’m glad it’s over, which, of course, it isn’t. Tsarnaev150515

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A Question From The Jury, A Laugh From Tsarnaev

Tsarnaev150514On the first full day of deliberations the jury had a question that so perplexed the judge and lawyers that clarification was sought before it could be answered.Tsarnaev150514

A first for this trial, we heard Tsarnaev laugh. While waiting for jurors to enter the courtroom to be dismissed for the day Tsarnaev, chatting with his lawyers as he usually does, let out a guffaw, then quickly checked himself.Tsarnaev150514

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Closing Arguments On Tsarnaev Death Penalty

Tsarnaev150513The jury in the Boston Marathon bombing trial heard closing arguments yesterday on sentencing Dzhokhar Tsarnaev to life or death. Here are the sketches.Tsarnaev150513

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Dead Man Walking ?

Tsarnaev150511Yesterday was a strange day, eighty degrees in the morning, fifty-five by afternoon. It was also the last day of testimony in the death penalty case against Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.Tsarnaev150511The defense called as their final witness Sister Helen Prejean of “Dead Man Walking” fame. She testified about several meetings with Tsarnaev during which he once said, “No one deserves to suffer like they did.” Whether that was an expression of remorse, or merely regret is not clear.

Tsarnaev150511The government called two rebuttal witnesses and we were done. Closing arguments tomorrow and then it’s in the hands of the jury, Dzhokhar’s life that is.Tsarnaev150511

Moakley Federal Courthouse

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The Last Of Last Week’s Sketches

Thursday was a short day at the Tsarnaev trial last week as both sides met with the judge in chambers to discuss whether and to what extent Sister Helen Prejean will be allowed to testify. For much of the time nothing happened in the courtroom, though many tweets were read and sent. The previous day’s witness was brought back to the stand to complete his testimony, but that’s all.

I profited of the free time to ride a Hubway bike to the North End where I had an espresso and Italian ice and did the little sketch below.

 

 

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Today’s Tsarnaev Trial Sketches

Tsarnaev150506There was a short delay this morning as the court set up a video conference call so that a Tsarnaev relative could testify from Kazakhstan. The government wanted the judge to tell the jury that the oath taken by the witness was meaningless since there would be no way to pursue perjury charges in Kazakhstan. Judge O’Toole declined for now.Tsarnaev150506

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