According to legal sources, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s lawyer have started very early talks about a possible deal in which the Boston Marathon bomber would cooperate in exchange for avoiding the death penalty.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s defense team got a major boost on Monday with the addition of prominent anti-death penalty lawyer Judy Clarke, who has managed to get life sentences for several high-profile clients.
A judge approved the appointment of death penalty expert Judy Clarke to defend 19-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has been charged with using a weapon of mass destruction during the April 15 marathon.
Three people were killed and more than 260 injured when two bombs exploded near the finish line of the Boston Marathon.
But judge Marianne Bowler denied, at least for now, a request from Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s public defender, Miriam Conrad, to appoint a second death penalty lawyer – David Bruck, a professor at Washington and Lee University School of Law.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s lawyers could renew their motion to appoint another death penalty expert if he is indicted, the judge said.
The news that he could escape the death penalty for divulging information was reported on NBC News.
Judy Clarke’s clients have included the Unabomber, Ted Kaczynski; Susan Smith, a woman who famously drowned her two children; Atlanta Olympics bomber Eric Rudolph; and most recently Jared Loughner, who shot former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in the head.
All received life sentences instead of the death penalty.
Judy Clarke has rarely spoken publicly about her work, however, at a speech Friday at a legal conference in Los Angeles, she talked about how she had been “sucked into the black hole, the vortex” of death penalty cases 18 years ago when she represented Susan Smith.
“I got a dose of understanding human behavior, and I learned what the death penalty does to us,” Judy Clarke said.
“I don’t think it’s a secret that I oppose the death penalty.”
David Bruck has directed Washington and Lee’s death penalty defense clinic, the Virginia Capital Case Clearinghouse, since 2004.