Judge George A O’Toole
By Cheryl Dean
January 15, 2016
You must have been in fine form today as your decisions in the case of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev were released. I’m speaking of your rulings in documents 1618, 1619, and 1620. These were in response to motions that had been filed by the defense, requesting a new trial, for some charges to be dropped, a change of venue, restitution, and to protect the privacy of their work product information.
I really thought it would take you much longer, as it has in the past with other request motions. You must feel good knowing that with only the stroke of a pen, you have the power to control and devastate so many people’s lives.
It’s good that you agreed not to allow the attorney/client work product information to be handed over to the prosecution, although I don’t know how you could have done anything else. If the defense was made to hand over that privileged information to the prosecution, the defense could have been disbarred.
You could have saved a lot of time and words by just reminding the prosecution of this when they insisted on having that information.
People noticed throughout this case that you acted a lot like another member of the prosecution yourself, allowing 95% of whatever they wanted or asked for or said. It was all extremely unfair regardless of what you say. Your words are hollow and meaningless.
However, you denied the defense any more protected work product in the future which will include social/legal visits with Dzhokhar’s sisters.
This will have devastating consequences for the sisters. They will now be extremely vulnerable to the corrupt power of whatever FBI agent is present with them when they visit their brother.
The FBI agent can now say anything at all that he wants to say about the sisters. The agent can say that somehow they have violated the SAM’s, and bar them from ever visiting their brother again, the only two people in the entire world who are allowed and able to visit him occasionally.
They will have no way to defend themselves. I’m sure you could care less about this since you admire and believe all that the FBI says, but when this happens, just know that you will be directly responsible for it.
(Maybe you can recall the “red herring” incident that already happened. Luckily a defense lawyer was present and dispelled that nonsense which was drummed up and leaked by the FBI and the prosecution)
You have made a decision on the question of how much restitution Dzhokhar will have to pay. A sum of $101,124,027.00 was levied. It’s too bad Dzhokhar couldn’t have bought a ticket and won the power ball lottery last week, since that’s the only way he could ever pay such a ridiculous amount, or any amount at all for that matter.
Paying with his own life just isn’t good enough, is it? The depth of the punishment never ends and never satisfies you. What next, no pillow or mattress or blanket allowed in his cement cell?
Why not just take away his food and he could slowly starve to death. The US government including the Department of “justice”, and the proudly patriotic brainwashed people of Boston would feel a lot of satisfaction in that.
You all want to see prisoners suffer in dark, painful and traumatic ways. That says a lot about who you are as a nation.
You never stated in your document how much would be deducted from Dzhokhar’s commissary account. Will it be monthly, yearly, what? Will he be left with enough money to still pay for calls to his parents, or is that too much of a luxury for this prisoner?
Calling a foreign country is extremely expensive due to the fact that prison contracts with phone companies, allow the phone company to take advantage of prisoners and charge exorbitant rates for overseas calls.
Prisoners also must pay for stamps, toiletries, aspirins, and extra food etc. Prisons buy very little for those under their care.
Dzhokhar’s family is not wealthy and they no doubt struggle to make sure he has enough funds in his account for his needs. Compassionate supporters have also contributed to Dzhokhar’s account. Do you really think it is fair to take supporters’ contributions and the family’s funds to give to someone else. Why should family and supporters pay this?
Are you and the prosecution afraid that the supporters might not continue to give, knowing that their money will be taken by the government? Is this why you did not say how much on a monthly basis will be taken?
If they do stop giving, I wouldn’t blame them at all. Personally I hope the government never collects a single penny from Dzhokhar. He has already suffered immensely and paid dearly for something that many don’t believe he did, including myself.
You denied the defense motion for a new trial or a new sentencing hearing or a change of venue. You believe he had a perfectly fair trial, in a perfectly fair place, and the appropriate sentence, and since his own lawyer Judy Clarke said “it was him” well that’s good enough for you, so there is no need for a new trial.
This is what you had to say on the venue issue:
I also disagree with the defendant’s implicit assertion that the local coverage of the trial was prejudicial to him simply because there was coverage. Not only was the coverage generally factual in nature, rather than inflammatory, but with regard to the appropriate punishment for his crimes much of it skewed in the defendant’s favor. For example, as trial proceeded, media coverage regarding the appropriate punishment suggested a growing disapproval of the imposition of the death penalty by residents in the Boston area.
JudgeO’Toole, this is really a pathetic excuse since a “death qualified” jury was chosen. That most people in the state are against the death penalty had no bearing on this case at all. As for the factual and non inflammatory media coverage, does that include the constant media “leaks” by law enforcement officials?
For example, it was leaked that Tamerlan Tsarnaev and possibly Dzhokhar were involved in the Waltham murders, and the defense wanted information on that from the prosecution. You even said you would review that information in camera, and then you denied any of that information to the defense!
In the end the prosecution had to admit there was absolutely nothing connecting either Tsarnaev to those Waltham murders. YOU were complicit in that deception! I think that was very inflammatory and prejudicial, not to mention a very dirty tactic by you and the prosecution, and this is only one example.
I further quote your January 15, 2016 statement:
The point to be made is that, even if the trial jurors saw and absorbed the extensive media coverage during the penalty phase, and I have no evidence whatsoever to believe that they did (and do have their repeated assurances to me that they did not), the coverage was not of a nature that would support a conclusion — or even a justifiable presumption — that the defendant was unfairly prejudiced by such exposure.
You are wrong about this. Juror 83 went public and in the press release for his book it says: “FROM THE MOMENT HE SETS FOOT INTO THE COURT ROOM, Juror 83 is burdened by the knowledge that on the last day of deliberations he will have to decide whether or not another human being dies, and that he will have to live with that decision for the rest of his life.”
This says it all! From the moment he sets foot in the courtroom!! There is not a mention about having to listen to the evidence and decide if Dzhokhar was innocent or guilty, not a word about a possible acquittal!
That juror believed he KNEW the defendant was guilty, it was just a matter of life without parole or the death penalty! Nothing else.
He also said that he would have changed his vote for life, IF he had known that the Richards family didn’t want the death penalty. Just like that he would have changed his vote, not due to anything he heard or saw in court, but just to please the Richards family.
Judge O’Toole, that doesn’t sound like someone who carefully examined the evidence and made his decision based on that. I think this person lacks integrity.
I am amazed to read your further remark on this:
It is now possible to evaluate the jury’s verdicts in this case in hindsight for possible signs of improper prejudice, on the one hand, or expected impartiality, on the other.
In the guilt phase of the trial, the jury found the defendant guilty on all counts in the indictment. In some cases, such an outcome might possibly be a sign of abdication of duty and simple submission to the government’s theory and authority.
This is exactly what happened!
That concern is absent in this case. Here, the guilty findings were hardly surprising in light of the defendant’s strategy and the overwhelming evidence against him. After all, in her opening remarks, defense counsel essentially conceded that the defendant was guilty of the crimes with which he was charged.
The fact that Judy Clarke said what she did, is very unfortunate, and a sign of incompetence and failure to defend her client. However, her statements made in opening and closing statements were not to have any bearing on the “evidence” or decisions in this case — you said so yourself.
But now even you bring this up as a reason for the jurors to come to the conclusions that they did. Even you, were prejudiced by Judy Clarke’s words, and you have now proven that.
I’m not shocked by this, and actually you have done Dzhokhar Tsarnaev a favor. He will never have to hear you or look at your cold eyes ever again.
His defense, or hopefully a new non government defense, will be able to move forward now and deal with different judges, real judges who may have some integrity, and decency. Someone who isn’t in cahoots with the prosecution. Judges who maybe will follow the law and who won’t stack the deck so high in the prosecution’s favor.
There might even be some judges with compassion, some mercy for the life of a 22-year-old. So thank you for that decision. You are free now, Judge O’Toole. Why don’t you retire and make the world a better place by doing so.