January 04, 2015 - 8:28 AM
BOSTON - The trial of marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev can begin as scheduled Monday in Boston after a federal appeals court ruled that the defense had not met the "extraordinary" standard required to justify its intervention.
The 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals announced its decision Saturday. Tsarnaev's lawyer had asked the court to delay the trial and move it out of Massachusetts, saying he couldn't get a fair trial in a place where so many were affected by the bombings.
The appeals court ruled 2-1 to avoid intervening in the trial's timing and location.
"The judges in the majority are satisfied that full consideration has been given to the issues raised by the petition, and it is clear that the petition falls short of meeting the requirements for issuing the extraordinary writ of mandamus," two judges said in the majority opinion. One judge dissented, saying he didn't have enough time to carefully consider the petition filed Wednesday.
One of Tsarnaev's attorneys, Miriam Conrad, declined to comment Saturday.
Tsarnaev has pleaded not guilty to 30 charges connected to the April 2013 explosions that killed three people and wounded more than 260 others. Some of the charges carry the death penalty.
On Friday, U.S. District Judge George O'Toole, who is presiding over Tsarnaev's case, said jury selection should start as scheduled because it would be too inconvenient to delay it. He had denied a defense request Dec. 29 for a delay.
O'Toole said Friday that delaying the start "would cause some unknown degree of disruption" to the more than 1,200 people called as potential jurors and to the court. He had granted a two-month trial delay last fall and also rejected a previous request to move it.
News from © The Associated Press, 2015