Trials & Litigation

Unabomber lawyer Judy Clarke is appointed to represent Boston Marathon bombing suspect


Judy Clarke. Photo from
Washington and Lee
University School of Law.

At the request of Boston’s federal public defender, a judge has appointed Judy Clarke, a top death-penalty defense lawyer, to represent accused Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, Bloomberg reports.

Prosecutors haven’t said whether they will seek the death penalty in Tsarnaev’s case, but “in light of the circumstances in this case, the defendant requires an attorney with more background, knowledge and experience in federal death penalty cases than that possessed by current counsel,” U.S. Magistrate Judge Marianne Bowler said as she granted the request of public defender Miriam Conrad to put Clarke on the case.

Clarke, a San Diego lawyer who spoke about her work at a recent conference, has represented a number of infamous murder and terrorism defendants, including Ted Kaczynski, who is known as the Unabomber, and Jared Loughner, who killed a federal judge, among others slain and wounded at a rally for then-congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords in Tucson, Ariz.

Clarke is “simply the best,” attorney David Hoose told the Associated Press. “She has an ability to relate to people who are charged with these horrific, horrific crimes and to humanize them, to portray them as human beings to the government and to a jury.”

Hoose, a Massachusetts criminal defense and appellate lawyer, has represented a number of death-penalty defendants.

Meanwhile, Bowler denied a request by Conrad—who will still lead the defense team—to put a second seasoned death-penalty defense lawyer on Tsarnaev’s case. However, she said Conrad could renew her motion to appoint law professor David Bruck of Washington & Lee University if Tsarnaev is indicted, according to the AP article. Bruck is in charge of the law school’s death penalty defense clinic.

See also: “Top federal defender is representing accused Boston Marathon bomber”

Boston Herald: “Anti-death penalty crusader joins Tsarnaev defense”

CNN: “Early discussion under way on Boston bombing suspect avoiding death penalty”

We welcome your comments, but please adhere to our comment policy and the ABA Code of Conduct.

Commenting is not available in this channel entry.