Skip to main content

Lawyers of Boston bombing suspect: Lift his harsh prison restrictions

By Deborah Feyerick and Rande Iaboni, CNN
updated 7:55 AM EDT, Thu October 3, 2013
Police say the dead suspect, <a href='http://www.cnn.com/2013/04/21/us/tamerlan-tsarnaev-timeline/index.html'>Tamerlan Tsarnaev</a>, is the man the FBI identified as Suspect 1. He was killed during the shootout with police in Watertown, Massachusetts, early April 19. He is pictured here at the 2010 New England Golden Gloves. Police say the dead suspect, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, is the man the FBI identified as Suspect 1. He was killed during the shootout with police in Watertown, Massachusetts, early April 19. He is pictured here at the 2010 New England Golden Gloves.
HIDE CAPTION
Suspects tied to Boston bombings
Suspects tied to Boston bombings
Suspects tied to Boston bombings
Suspects tied to Boston bombings
Suspects tied to Boston bombings
Suspects tied to Boston bombings
Suspects tied to Boston bombings
Suspects tied to Boston bombings
Suspects tied to Boston bombings
Suspects tied to Boston bombings
Suspects tied to Boston bombings
Suspects tied to Boston bombings
Suspects tied to Boston bombings
Suspects tied to Boston bombings
Suspects tied to Boston bombings
Suspects tied to Boston bombings
Suspects tied to Boston bombings
Suspects tied to Boston bombings
Suspects tied to Boston bombings
Suspects tied to Boston bombings
Suspects tied to Boston bombings
Suspects tied to Boston bombings
Suspects tied to Boston bombings
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
>
>>
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Lawyers say Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is "in near total isolation"
  • They also say he's is banned from praying with other inmates and is rarely allowed outside cell
  • U.S. attorney: Restrictions necessary because of his "continued desire to incite"
  • His lawyers accuse the government of trying to limit attorney-client interaction

(CNN) -- Lawyers for Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev accused the government of imposing unduly harsh restrictions on their client in a motion filed Wednesday.

Tsarnaev is "in near total isolation," is banned from praying with other inmates and is allowed out of his cell only to meet with lawyers or spend short periods in an outdoor enclosure, court documents said.

Massachusetts U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz asked the attorney general for these special administrative measures after Tsarnaev had been in prison for four months.

Ortiz said the restrictions are necessary as part of what prosecutors call Tsarnaev's "continued desire to incite others to engage in violent jihad," according to the August memorandum included in the court filing.

Tamerlan's in-laws answer questions from grand jury

As evidence, prosecutors cite the 1,000 "unsolicited" letters the 19-year-old Chechnya-born American has received during his five-month incarceration. His lawyers say he has not responded to any of them.

Officer releases pics of 'real' Tsarnaev
Tsarnaev's mother: 'My son is not guilty'
Boston bombing survivor: I'm winning
Amputee vets encourage bombing victims

Tsarnaev has been at the Fort Devens prison facility an hour outside Boston after a brief hospitalization for wounds incurred during his capture on April 19. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and his brother, Tamerlan, spent days on a highly publicized run after the marathon bombing on April 15.

His lawyers, Miriam Conrad and Judy Clarke, argue in court papers that the measures create "obstacles" that have a "dramatic chilling effect on the defense team's ability to prepare a thorough and vigorous defense."

Three friends of Boston bombing suspect plead not guilty

In their motion, Conrad and Clarke argue the measures "violate the First, Fifth and Sixth Amendments to the United States Constitution. The court therefore should declare that the SAMs are unlawful and order that they be vacated."

The restrictions are designed to limit the people with whom Tsarnaev is allowed to speak and what those people can then say to others. It also limits the kind of materials to which he has access. As an example, his lawyers said they were prevented from showing Tsarnaev family photos after prosecutors argued they were not specifically related to his defense. Prosecutors later relented.

Tsarnaev's lawyers accuse the government of trying to limit attorney-client interaction: "There is no basis whatsoever to suspect that appointed attorneys and those assisting them would intentionally pass dangerous communications to others."

Documents detail suspect's injuries

His lawyers also said Tsarnaev has done nothing during his incarceration to warrant such restrictions or to suggest he is dangerous, nor is there evidence the attack was "directed by others still at large or that Mr. Tsarnaev ever had operational authority to direct the activities of others" to whom he may want to communicate.

Special administrative measures are typically used in terrorism cases and other high-profile cases when authorities contend "there is a substantial risk that a prisoner's communications or contacts with persons could result in death or serious bodily injury to persons," according to court documents.

Tsarnaev is charged with 30 federal counts stemming from the attack, during which three people were killed and more than 250 were injured after a pair of home-made bombs exploded moments apart near the finish line of the Boston Marathon. A Massachusetts Institute of Technology police officer was killed three days later, triggering the massive manhunt that led to Tsarnaev's capture. His brother was shot and killed by police during the manhunt.

Tsarnaev has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

5 months after bombings: Sense of winning for survivor

CNN's Lawrence Crook III contributed to this report.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
Boston Marathon Bombings
Survivors of three earlier bombings describe their journeys forward — and offer poignant words for those just one year away from the day that changed their lives.
updated 2:15 AM EDT, Wed April 16, 2014
"United, we will always persevere." That was the message Massachusetts shared on the anniversary of twin bombings that turned last year's Boston Marathon from a celebration into a day of horror.
updated 2:47 PM EDT, Tue April 15, 2014
I'm running it to make a simple statement: Acts of cowardice will not stop me from exercising my rights as an athlete and a human.
updated 3:40 PM EDT, Mon April 14, 2014
Many of those whose lives were shattered are still struggling to put the pieces back together. Here are some of the victims, as well as larger funds, who continue to need your support.
updated 11:22 AM EDT, Mon April 14, 2014
As April 15 approaches, the fact that we tell time in circles brings us to remember the attack on the Boston Marathon one year ago.
updated 10:47 PM EDT, Mon April 14, 2014
CNN's Bill Weir talks to Carlos Arredondo about helping those injured immediately after the Boston Marathon bombing.
updated 10:32 AM EDT, Fri April 11, 2014
By running in response to the tragedy, we weren't attempting to negate the irreparable harm done to the people of Boston last year. We wanted to do something, anything, to try to process it.
updated 7:24 AM EDT, Tue April 15, 2014
All of our assumptions have turned out to be wrong. Here are four things we've learned since then:
updated 4:17 PM EDT, Tue April 15, 2014
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has been frozen in the public mind by four images.
updated 7:22 PM EDT, Tue April 8, 2014
Adrianne Haslet-Davis' life as a dancer was shattered last year at the Boston Marathon bombings.
updated 7:40 AM EDT, Mon March 24, 2014
A man who lost both legs in the Boston Marathon attack is engaged to the woman he was waiting for at the finish line.
updated 10:21 AM EDT, Wed April 17, 2013
Mistaken identity in the hospital added to her family's grief.
updated 11:38 AM EDT, Wed April 24, 2013
The slain MIT cop "was born to be a police officer."
updated 10:37 PM EDT, Thu April 18, 2013
The graduate student from China followed her passion to Boston.
updated 1:10 AM EDT, Wed April 17, 2013
Almost a year ago, 8-year-old Martin Richard wrote four simple words on a sign at school: No more hurting people.
updated 12:37 PM EDT, Wed July 17, 2013
Mery Daniel couldn't wait for Marathon. It was one of the things the aspiring doctor and Haitian immigrant loved most about living in Boston.
updated 9:09 AM EDT, Thu May 2, 2013
After twin blasts shook Boston -- killing three and wounding more than 260 others -- investigators sprung into action looking for those responsible.
updated 11:05 AM EDT, Sun April 28, 2013
The black Mercedes SUV sped down Spruce Street going about 70 mph, the driver struggling to maintain control. The vehicle had a busted headlight and flat tire.
Click through our galleries of the Boston Marathon bombing, from perspectives on the attack to the suspects, as well as the manhunt and celebrations in Boston after both suspects were found.
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT