When Judy Clarke joined the defense team for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, it seemed a plea deal could happen in the case. After all, the well-known defense attorney has helped other high-profile clients — such as the Unabomber Ted Kaczynski, Atlanta Olympics bomber Eric Rudolph and Tucson gunman Jared Loughner — avoid the death penalty and get life sentences instead.
But with jury selection now underway in the Boston Marathon bombing trial, there has been no plea deal.
“This case in particular is appropriate for resolution by a plea,” said Northampton defense attorney David Hoose. “Where there are so many victims involved and so many people whose lives would be disrupted and old memories brought to the fore again, there is more reason than in any case for there to be a plea [deal].”
Hoose has experience with a notable federal death penalty case in Massachusetts. He represented Kristen Gilbert, a veterans hospital nurse in Northampton convicted of killing four patients in 2001 and sentenced to life in prison. Hoose said the bombing trial will bring about months of reliving “that most horrible experience” and hearing Tsarnaev’s life story. He said a plea deal would bring quicker closure and put a focus on the victims.
“There would still be a sentencing hearing; the major difference would be that after a plea the sentencing hearing is really focused entirely on the victims,” Hoose said. “At a penalty trial, what happens is that inevitably the bulk of the presentation deals with the defendant and it becomes much more about the defendant’s life rather than the victims’ lives.”