Oklahoma City bombing prosecutor discusses Boston Marathon bombings trial challenges

Larry Mackey: Video could be 'damning'

INDIANAPOLIS - Federal public defenders have agreed to represent Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the surviving suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings, but there are varying opinions on whether legal counsel should have been made available to him earlier. 

Miranda rights were not immediately read to Tsarnaev, 19, after his arrest. 

U.S. officials said a special interrogation team for high-value suspects would question him without reading him his Miranda rights under a public safety exception that exists to protect police and the public from immediate danger.

"An interrogation focused on if there are other devices or whether there are other people at risk would be fine without Miranda," said local attorney Larry Mackey, who prosecuted the two suspects in the Oklahoma City Bombing case. "Anything beyond that -- who was involved, what was the planning, what did you do that led up to this -- would be outside the box and the suspect should not be questioned without Miranda."
  
Larry Landis, from the Indiana Public Defender Council, took a more hardline position on questioning pre-Miranda.

"If they're wrong and he should have been Mirandized, then not only can the statement that he makes not be used, but any evidence that they obtain as a result of the statement may not be used," Landis said. "You have what is called the fruit of the poison tree.  Anything that flows from these statements is not admissible in evidence. I don't understand why they would take that chance."

Mackey said not to expect this case to be on a fast track. He said investigators will be taking their time sifting through the evidence to make sure they find everyone who is responsible.

Mackey is taken by the compelling videotape evidence prosecutors will have at their disposal.

"Jurors will want the proof, especially before they impose the death penalty, that they go the right guy," he said. "A videotape of that person on the scene, perhaps even placing the backpack at that site, would be damning testimony in evidence for the defense."

If the death penalty is sought and if it is ordered, it would be carried out at the federal prison in Terre Haute, Ind.

 

Federal public defenders have agreed to represent Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the surviving suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings, but there are varying opinions on whether legal counsel should have been made available to him earlier. 

Miranda rights were not immediately read to Tsarnaev, 19, after his arrest. 

U.S. officials said a special interrogation team for high-value suspects would question him without reading him his Miranda rights under a public safety exception that exists to protect police and the public from immediate danger.

"An interrogation focused on if there are other devices or whether there are other people at risk would be fine without Miranda," said local attorney Larry Mackey, who prosecuted the two suspects in the Oklahoma City Bombing case. "Anything beyond that -- who was involved, what was the planning, what did you do that led up to this -- would be outside the box and the suspect should not be questioned without Miranda."  

Larry Landis, from the Indiana Public Defender Council, took a more hardline position on questioning pre-Miranda.

"If they're wrong and he should have been Mirandized, then not only can the statement that he makes not be used, but any evidence that they obtain as a result of the statement may not be used," Landis said. "You have what is called the fruit of the poison tree.  Anything that flows from these statements is not admissible in evidence. I don't understand why they would take that chance."

Mackey said not to expect this case to be on a fast track. He said investigators will be taking their time sifting through the evidence to make sure they find everyone who is responsible.

Mackey is taken by the compelling videotape evidence prosecutors will have at their disposal.

"Jurors will want the proof, especially before they impose the death penalty, that they go the right guy," he said. "A videotape of that person on the scene, perhaps even placing the backpack at that site, would be damning testimony in evidence for the defense."

If the death penalty is sought and if it is ordered, it would be carried out at the federal prison in Terre Haute, Ind.

Follow Derrik Thomas on Twitter: @derrikthomas

 

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