Criminal Justice

Accused Boston bomber's lawyers seek to suppress statements, overturn federal death penalty


Corrected: Lawyers for accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev are seeking to suppress statements he made to the FBI while in the hospital.

According to a court filing, Tsarnaev was interrogated despite 10 requests for a lawyer and despite entreaties to be left alone, report the Chicago Tribune and the Boston Globe. He answered questions in writing because his jaw was wired shut.

The defense documents say FBI agents lied, telling Tsarnaev his brother was still alive. During questioning, Tsarnaev’s medications included Fentanyl, Propofol and Dilaudid, his lawyers say. At one point he asked, “Is it me or do you hear some noise?”

Questioning began on the evening of April 20, 2013, and continued off and on until the morning of April 22, when a lawyer was appointed for Tsarnaev.

Federal prosecutors have said agents were allowed to question Tsarnaev under a public safety exception.

Defense attorneys are also seeking to overturn the federal death penalty, though federal courts have upheld its use, the Boston Globe says. The defense says states are increasingly banning the death penalty, and Massachusetts is one of them.

“The Supreme Court has placed renewed emphasis on respecting the limitations of federal authority in areas that have traditionally been consigned to the states,” the defense argues.

Updated at 9:26 a.m. to state that it is the defense which is seeking to overturn the federal death penalty.

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