A petition by lawyers for the Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev to suspend jury selection and order the trial to be moved outside Massachusetts has been hotly contested by prosecutors who have asked the Federal appeals court to reject the bid.
Prosecutors contended that Judge George O’Toole Jr. has thoroughly examined prospective jurors and made sure that they do not have any bias or strong opinion on Tsarnaev’s guilt.
Tsarnaev’s lawyers have asked the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to order O’Toole to move the trial or suspend jury selection. Tsarnaev’s lawyers have based their observation after a review of more than 1,300 juror questionnaires showed that 68 percent believe Tsarnaev is guilty.
The defense has filed three motions for change of venue. Two have been rejected so far.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev aged 21, faces a plethora of charges which carry the possibility of death sentence. Dzhokhar faces 17 charges with the possibility of capital punishment for allegedly setting off the bombs at the finish line on April 15, 2013.
The Federal judge on Friday afternoon declined to consider a third motion for a change of venue by Tsarnaev.
A federal judge Friday afternoon denied a third motion for a change of venue by alleged Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar
US District Judge George A. O’Toole Jr. said the reasons for refusing the bid to change venue included the success of the voir dire process for finding suitable jurors.
“Contrary to the defendant’s assertions, the voir dire process is successfully identifying potential jurors who are capable of serving as fair and impartial jurors in this case,” O’Toole said in a decision filed in US District Court in Boston.
The Judge had twice earlier ruled that any change of venue was not deemed necessary and he could pick a fair jury. The trial could last for months and it will not be an easy task for the Judge to find jurors who do not have any connection with the marathon bombing and are willing to hand out the death penalty if they feel it is necessary.