by LAUREL J. SWEET
Jan 30, 2017
(Boston Herald) - The acclaimed antideath penalty defender who opened her argument for sparing the life of Boston Marathon bomber Dzholdrnr Tsarnaev with the shocking declaration, "It was him," now wants off his case, telling a federal court his appeal "would benefit from a fresh look."
Attorney Judy Clarke's legal acumen kept the likes of Olympic Park bomber Eric Rudolph and Unabomber Ted Kaczynski from facing execution before a jury sentenced Tsarnaev, 23, to die. She has asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit in Boston to replace her with fellow California legal eagle Clifford Gardner. Gardner's infamous clients include Scott Peterson, who is appealing his death sentence for the 2002 murder of his pregnant wife, Laci.
"This substitution would provide Mr. Tsarnaev with high-quality and cost-effective appellate representation," the motion to remove Clarke reads. "Mr. Gardner ... is one of the most experienced capital appellate and federal appellate lawyers in the United States. He has particular expertise representing high-profile defendants whose trial court proceedings resulted in voluminous, complicated records."
Tsarnaev has been held in the federal Supermax prison in Colorado since his trial wrapped in 2015. He signed off on the substitution of Gardner for Clarke Jan. 18 in a consent document filed with the court Friday.
His defense team, led by Clarke, filed its notice of appeal one year ago yesterday, but still has not submitted a brief stating on what grounds it believes Tsarnaev's conviction and capital punishment should be overturned.