Leading ‘anti-death penalty’ lawyer, Judy Clarke, to defend Boston bombings suspect

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

Judy Clarke has secured life sentences instead of the death penalty for high profile clients

New York

A prominent American defence lawyer known for successfully helping some of the country’s most notorious criminals avoid the death penalty has joined the legal team representing Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the surviving suspect in the Boston marathon bombings.

Judy Clarke’s former clients include Jared Lee Loughner, who was sentenced to life in prison for killing six people and wounding 13, including Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, in a shooting rampage in Tuscon, Arizona. She also represented Theodore Kaczynski, the so-called ‘Unabomber’, who avoided death and was locked up for life on charges related to a domestic bombing spree.

Her newest client, 19-year-old Dzhokhar, was captured following a massive manhunt on 19 April, days after two pressure-cooker bombs allegedly planted by him and his 26-year-old brother Tamerlan killed three and injured hundreds near the marathon finish in Boston. Tamerlan was killed in the early hours of April 19 following a police chase and a shootout with officers in suburban Boston.

Dzhokhar has since been charged with using a weapon of mass destruction, a reference to the pressure cooker bombs. The chargers could carry the death penalty. Ms Clarke’s appointment was requested by the suspect’s lead lawyer, Miriam Conrad, who heads the local public defender’s office. Ms Conrad is among the country’s most experienced public defenders, counting the convicted British-born “shoe-bomber” Richard Reid, 39, as one of her former clients.

Along with Ms Clarke, Ms Conrad had also requested the appointment of another death penalty expert, David Bruck. For the time being, however, Mr Bruck’s appointment has been denied by Magistrate Judge Marianne Bowler, who is presiding over the case.

Last week, days before her appointment was confirmed, California-based Ms Clarke spoke of how she had been “sucked into the black hole, the vortex” of death penalty cases nearly 20 years ago when she represented Susan Smith, who was convicted of killing her two children in the mid-90s. Smith was sentenced to life behind bars.

“I got a dose of understanding human behaviour and I learned what the death penalty does to us,” she said in a speech at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles on Friday, says the Associated Press. “I don’t think it’s a secret I oppose the death penalty.”

In other developments related to the Boston bombings case, the New York Times reported investigators had obtained DNA from Tamerlan’s widow, Katherine Russell, to compare it to female DNA found on one of the bombs in the attack. Officials however told the Wall Street Journal there could be many explanations for the DNA.

Meanwhile, as the debate continues in Washington about how much US law enforcement knew about Tamerlan after being informed about his changing behaviour by the Russians in 2011, President Obama defended the way the Federal Bureau of Investigation handled the tip. “Based on what I’ve seen so far, the FBI performed its duties.”

News
people
News
people
News
peopleStella McCartney apologises over controversial Instagram picture
Life and Style
Laid bare: the Good2Go app ensures people have a chance to make their intentions clear about having sex
techCould Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Burr remains the baker to beat on the Great British Bake Off
tvRichard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
News
i100
Sport
footballArsenal 4 Galatasaray 1: Wenger celebrates 18th anniversary in style
Arts and Entertainment
Amazon has added a cautionary warning to Tom and Jerry cartoons on its streaming service
tv
News
people
News
The village was originally named Llansanffraid-ym-Mechain after the Celtic female Saint Brigit, but the name was changed 150 years ago to Llansantffraid – a decision which suggests the incorrect gender of the saint
newsA Welsh town has changed its name - and a prize if you can notice how
Arts and Entertainment
Kristen Scott Thomas in Electra at the Old Vic
theatreReview: Kristin Scott Thomas is magnificent in a five-star performance of ‘Electra’
News
Destructive discourse: Jewish boys look at anti-Semitic graffiti sprayed on to the walls of the synagogue in March 2006, near Tel Aviv
peopleAt the start of Yom Kippur and with anti-Semitism flourishing, one Jew can no longer ignore his identity
Life and Style
Couples who boast about their relationship have been condemned as the most annoying Facebook users
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Hayley Williams performs with Paramore in New York
musicParamore singer says 'Steal Your Girl' is itself stolen from a New Found Glory hit
News
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Italian couples fake UK divorce scam on an ‘industrial scale’

Welcome to Maidenhead, the divorce capital of... Italy

A look at the the legal tourists who exploited our liberal dissolution rules
Time to stop running: At the start of Yom Kippur and with anti-Semitism flourishing, one Jew can no longer ignore his identity

Time to stop running

At the start of Yom Kippur and with anti-Semitism flourishing, one Jew can no longer ignore his identity
Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

The vintage series has often been criticised for racial stereotyping
An app for the amorous: Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?

An app for the amorous

Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid. Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?

Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid

Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?
Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

After a few early missteps with Chekhov, her acting career has taken her to Hollywood. Next up is a role in the BBC’s gangster drama ‘Peaky Blinders’
She's having a laugh: Britain's female comedians have never had it so good

She's having a laugh

Britain's female comedians have never had it so good, says stand-up Natalie Haynes
Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LED lights designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows

Let there be light

Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LEDs designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows
Great British Bake Off, semi-final, review: Richard remains the baker to beat

Tensions rise in Bake Off's pastry week

Richard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
Paris Fashion Week, spring/summer 2015: Time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris

A look to the future

It's time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris
The 10 best bedspreads

The 10 best bedspreads

Before you up the tog count on your duvet, add an extra layer and a room-changing piece to your bed this autumn
Arsenal vs Galatasaray: Five things we learnt from the Emirates

Arsenal vs Galatasaray

Five things we learnt from the Gunners' Champions League victory at the Emirates
Stuart Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

This deal gives England a head-start to prepare for 2019 World Cup, says Chris Hewett
Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence