The pending legal case surrounding Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and his reportedly copped-to involvement in the Marathon Monday bombings is almost sure to incite a visceral reaction from the public one way or another. It’s simply not an event to be consumed idly. There have been shouts to charge the 19-year-old as an enemy combatant, shouts since for life imprisonment and shouts for the death penalty. There are those among us who vehemently claim his innocence and those who have long since written him off as guilty.
Details of the brothers’ lives before the attack continue to trickle into the public drinking water. There’s a lot we still don’t know. What we do know is complicated. As the sole suspect in this unprecedented act of terror lies in a city hospital bed, questions abound. Why wasn’t he read his Miranda rights immediately? Will he get the death penalty? How will this trial play out?
To help anchor us with some answers amid a sea of questions, I chatted with Daniel Medwed, a Northeastern law professor and expert in criminal procedure, about the above and more. Below is an edited version of our conversation.