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Lawyers for Boston Marathon bombing suspect: Statements he made to FBI should be thrown out

Lawyers for accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzokhar Tsarnaev ask a federal judge to rule out the death penalty calling it unconstitutional.
By Frances Burns   |   May 8, 2014 at 10:56 AM   |   Comments

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BOSTON, May 8 (UPI) -- Dzokhar Tsarnaev's lawyers say prosecutors should be barred from using statements he made to the FBI while handcuffed to a hospital bed after his arrest.

In a motion filed Wednesday in federal court in Boston, the accused marathon bomber's legal team said Tsarnaev, seriously injured, was aggressively questioned for 36 hours with some breaks. Agents also lied to Tsarnaev telling him his older brother, Tamerlan, was still alive and ignored his many requests for a lawyer, said the lawyers in court papers.

“In all, he wrote the word lawyer 10 times, sometimes circling it,” the filing said. “At one point, he wrote: ‘I am tired. Leave me alone.’ . . . His pen or pencil then trails off the page, suggesting that he either fell asleep, lost motor control, or passed out.”

The brothers, then 26 and 19, allegedly set off two pressure-cooker bombs concealed in backpacks at the finish line of the Marathon on April 15, 2013. Tamerlan was killed in a confrontation with police on April 19, and his younger brother was arrested hours later.

Gerard T. Leone Jr., a former prosecutor, now in private practice, told the Boston Globe that the prosecution suggested they don't plan to use Tsarnaev's statements. The goal of the aggressive questioning was to determine whether there was any remaining threat to public safety.

“You’d be hard-pressed not to say that to allow these statements in would require a wide expansion of the law as it presently exists,” Leone said.

Tsarnaev could face the death penalty if he is convicted. In another motion Wednesday, his lawyers asked U.S. District Judge George A. O'Toole Jr. to rule that it would be unconstitutional to seek the death penalty in Massachusetts, which abolished it decades ago.

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