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Order - November 27, 2013


Boston federal judge orders government to give accused marathon bomber Tsarnaev’s lawyers his phone call recordings

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Boston during the manhunt. 

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Online links connect Boston Bombers to Todashev, Houston & Russian VK

ORLANDO, May 24, 2013 – Online social networks can reveal alot. Including information about the relationshps of Ibragim Todashev, a 27-year-old mixed martial arts fighter and Chechen, that was fatally shot at his Orlando townhouse.

During a meeting with FBI agents during which Todashev was allegedly being questioned about a triple murder that Boston Bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev is a suspect in, Todasheve was shot and killed, raising numerous questions in the minds of neighbors and revealing an interesting daisy chain of online links.

Todashev lived, and was killed, in the Windhaven condominium complex located in Orlando, Florida, near the Universal Studios theme park. Agents were reportedly talking to the man regarding his suspected role in a 2011 triple murder in Massachusetts.

Following the shooting, Todashev’s neighbors spoke of a person who rarely left the property, but spent hours detailing and cleaning a prized vehicle, believed to be a 1998 Mercedes Benz E Class 300 or 320 with AMG Wheels.

“He was constantly detailing his car, obsessively,” neighbor Brian Carvajal told Communities Digital News in an exclusive interview.

Todashev Condo owned by person living in Houston, TX

Carvajal was under the impression that Todashev owned the property where he lived but Orange County Florida Property Appraiser records show Roman Shakhmanov (b. 12/13/1984) who is presently living in Houston, Texas, is the registered owner.

Shakhmanov purchased the condo July 14, 2010 for $32,000. Records show that Roman’s complete name is Roman Gennadiyevich Shakhmanov.

At this time the nature of the relationship between Shakhmanov and Todashev has not been uncovered. Calls to the business of record for Shakhmanov are not “going through to the subscriber.”

Shakhmanov is listed in telephone White Pages.com as living at the Peregrine Avenue address. Basir Akubaev, is also listed as living at a Peregrine Avenue address and is listed on Shakhmanov’s WhitePages.com page.

There is no listing for a person with the last name of Todashev at that address, however that was his place of residence, with neighbors confirming he had lived at the Windhaven complex for “several years”.

Akubaev’s Russian social network page at VK.COM indicates a relationship between Akubaev and Boston Marathon bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev. His page contains a YouTube video of Tsarnaev. Following the shooting Akubaev posted content from the Free Dzhokhar Tsarnaev social networking page and a link to the article Why kill Chechens in America?

A translation of Basir’s post dated yesterday at 7:55am translates to say (grammatical errors not corrected in translation)


“Two days ago, the FBI took me and my friends, last night they took a guy by the name of Ibrahim, they said that they had to talk, and early in the morning we learned that he was killed. From below the video the way Hus gave an interview [Translator comment: this is confusing, but it appears to mean that the FBI interviewed him on video and it was a tense interview], now Chechens are strongly squeezed. We are in Orlando, Florida. The FBI asked him to go with them and killed him in his apartment, saying that he allegedly threatened [them]. It was total chaos. Chechens and other Caucasians in America, be careful and trust no one and talk only in the presence of a lawyer, none of us are immune from that same outcome.

Ibragim Todashev’s Chechen roots and mixed martial arts background mirror that of Tamerlan Tsarnaev, the Boston bombing suspect killed in a shootout with police last month.

Both Todashev and Tsarnaev lived in the Boston area and authorities were questioning Todashev regarding an unsolved murder of three persons in Waltham, Mass. In Sept. 2011, three men, Brendan Mess, 25, Erik Weissman, 31, and Raphael Teken, 37, were stabbed to death with a knife or ice pick. Authorities said their bodies had been covered with marijuana.

Information now suggests that Tsarnaev is a key suspect in the murder. Authorities were allegedly interrogating Todashev about his relationship to Tamerlan Tsarnaev, and may have questioned him regarding the 2011 murders.

Some sources allege that Todashev had confessed to being complicit in that crime and that the FBI was there to obtain his confession and arrest him.

Todashev was shot during a meeting in his home with Federal agents and two Massachusetts state troopers, authorities said. Authorities initially reported Todashev had lunged at the FBI agent with a knife, which provoked the shooting. However, officials later said it was no longer clear what had happened.

Todashev was arrested earlier this month on a charge of aggravated battery after getting into a fight over a parking spot with two men — a father and son — at an Orlando shopping mall. The son was hospitalized with a split lip and several teeth knocked out, according to a sheriff’s report. The specific charge was aggravated battery causing great bodily harm, a second-degree felony. Todashev claimed self-defense.

“Also by his own admission Todashev was recently a former mixed martial arts fighter,” the arresting deputy said in his report. “This skill puts his fighting ability way above that of a normal person.”

Todashev was released on $3,500 bail after his May 4 arrest. According to Court records, Todashev privately retained Rivas for his defense.

Carvajal noted he thought “Todashev was rich as he did not appear to have a job, yet had the car, an attractive girlfriend and dressed well.

“There is no way he would have signed a confession without an attorney. He had plenty of money”.

The Orlando arrest is not the only one of record for the man killed on Wednesday. Boston police also arrested Todashev in 2010 after a road rage incident.

Witnesses tell police that he argued with two other drivers and cut them off with his vehicle. According to the police report, he yelled, “You say something about my mother, I will kill you.”

Windhaven neighbors say Todashev was a quiet neighbor

Neighbors’ living in the Windhaven complex told Communities that Todashev was quiet, that there were not parties nor a lot of visitors.

“No one ever came to visit, the only person was the girlfriend, and all he did was detail his car and hangout with his girlfriend.” Carvajal says, “He would let the girlfriend drive the Mercedes; when he drove it was always very carefully, slowly, always wore his seatbelt and parked in the center of the parking lot.”

That car has since been impounded by police and neighbors remarked that the girlfriend was a fairly consistent presence in the Todashev’s life. Neighbors describe the woman as being in her 20’s, blonde, very attractive, and seeming to be of Russian descent.

They add, however, they have not seen her in several weeks.

A young woman who lives across the complex pond from the Todashev condominium said that she was working on schoolwork with her daughter. The daughter’s grandmother asking “did you hear those gunshots?”

In response to a remark that the sounds were probably fireworks from the nearby Universal Studios, the grandmother commented, “I am from Panama, and I know the sound of gunfire.”

The young mother said they were aware of the surveillance on Todashev and that she would see men she identified as FBI sitting in a car, engine running, in the parking lot of a local Hooter’s restaurant.

Carvajal also remarked that the gray Nissan with dark tinted glass was often in the neighborhood, engine running, with two men sitting inside.

“They always parked next to a Toyota van that did not have hubcaps. The Nissan had Florida tags and they would just sit there all day.”

Foremost in Carvajal’s mind is that Todashev could have been arrested at any time. He would often leave the condominium wearing little more than shorts, and obviously not concealing a weapon.

He asks, “Why did they have to arrest him in the middle of the night when they had been visibly watching him for the better part of a month?”

Carvajal says that on the night of the shooting he was driving home when he saw two Orlando Police Department (OPD) officers pull someone over at a traffic stop, delaying him a moment.

As he pulled into the parking lot he heard the boom, boom. Carvajal identified the gun saying he thought it was a “forty caliber, a glock, no muffler, clean.”

Carvajal said within 60 seconds of the gunshots, OPD were swarming into the complex, suggesting officers called for backup before they shot Todashev.

Caravajal recognized two of the officers present at the shooting as the men he previously saw conducting surveillance. He described one as thin and over 6’ tall, the other 5’10”-5’11” with short spikey hair.

Both men stayed at the complex the day following the shooting.

Boston Bomber 'Tortured' With Catered Islamic Meals

justice4dzhokhar:

**Biased “journalism” at it’s…finest?**

The ACLU claims jailers are “torturing” Boston bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev by keeping him in solitary confinement. Please. The man charged with terror bombing gets catered Islamic meals.

Just when we think we’ve reached the limits of tolerance for Muslim terrorists, we learn that one of the jihadist punks who confessed to killing and maiming hundreds of marathoners, then terrorizing and shutting down an entire major U.S. city, all in the name of Allah, has been getting meals prepared for him in accordance with Islamic dietary requirements.

His special halal menu includes such dishes as baked lasagna, salad and garlic bread. Tsarnaev also gets copies of the Quran and other Islamic texts to brush up on his hatred for infidels, fellow Americans most especially included.

Yet the American Civil Liberties Union has the gall to petition a federal judge for his release from isolation at the federal lockup at Fort Devens, Mass. The liberal group, which seems now to be run by a stable of Muslim lawyers who are alarmingly sympathetic even to confessed and convicted terrorists, has likened his jail restrictions there to “torture.” They complain the terrorist suspect has been denied TV and radio and can’t pray with other Muslim inmates. His outside communications are also limited and monitored by the feds.

And there’s good reason for that. Tsarnaev made it clear in his confession note that he wanted to inspire other Muslims to commit acts of terrorism against Americans.

Here’s what he penned to fellow Muslims: The “U.S. government is killing our innocent civilians, but most of you already know that. As a Muslim I can’t stand to see such evil go unpunished. We Muslims are one body, you hurt one you hurt us all. The ummah (the global brotherhood of Muslims) is beginning to rise.”

Tsarnaev added, in a warning to U.S. military and law enforcement: “Know you are fighting men who look into the barrel of your gun and see heaven. Now how can you compete with that? We are promised victory and we will surely get it.”

Authorities wisely are cutting off any channels this Islamic fanatic might use to recruit jihadists or propagandize their cause. They don’t want him inciting violence.

Unfortunately, the judge hearing his case is lending his lawyer a sympathetic ear. Though he barred the ACLU from making its outrageous “torture” statement at Thursday’s hearing, U.S. District Judge George O’Toole questioned the “fairness” of the restrictions. "I agree enough with the defendant," he said.

Yes, let him out of solitary to preach at the fort chapel.

This reminds us of the Fort Hood case. Military brass bowed to the religious “needs” of Army Maj. Nidal Hasan, who praised Allah as he shot 14 soldiers, including a pregnant woman as she begged for her baby’s life.

They actually agreed to let Hasan wear a full Islamic beard to trial, in violation of military regulations. Only now is the convicted mass murderer being forcibly shaved, as he awaits the needle on death row at Fort Leavenworth, Kan.

But he and his lawyers are suing the military, arguing it’s a breach of his religious freedom. You’d think the jihadist would be grateful for the free grooming before he meets his 72 virgins.

Meanwhile, down at Gitmo we helpfully point prostrate al-Qaida and Taliban terrorists to Mecca, fete them with Harry Potter movie nights, and even reorder fitness equipment made in Muslim countries after they complain about the infidels who made the first batch.

Enough! Stop running Islamic daycares for terrorists.

His lawyers say they can’t even show him photos of some of the crime scene pictures because his brother Tamerlan is in those photos.

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Ric Young of The Voice of Russia talks with WBZ Boston All News Radio reporter Karen Toomey.

audio file @ 2:00

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Lawyers raising questions about Watertown home searches following Marathon bombings, shootout

justice4dzhokhar:

**And it only took them 7 months to begin to object to being placed, basically, under Martial Law. It’s nice to know that SOME people in MA still remember those crazy little things called CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS**

A group of lawyers is saying they think authorities’ actions during the Boston and Watertown-area shutdown days after the Marathon bombings were unconstitutional, and they want to discuss it with the residents involved.

Attorneys from the Massachusetts chapter of the National Lawyers Guild will host a forum tonight about the home searches that took place in Watertown on April 19. The event is at the Watertown library on Main Street and starts at 6:30 p.m., running through 9 p.m.

Top lawyers in the guild said that there was an unprecedented show of force in Watertown, Cambridge, and other area communities, and that many houses in Watertown were searched without a warrant.

Benjamin Falkner, a member of the guild’s litigation committee, said police usually need individualized suspicion before police search a house or arrest someone.

“The widespread searches of many Watertown homes without any individualized suspicion have no constitutional precedent,” Falkner said in a statement. “Without such precedent, the question is whether the searches were lawful under our constitutions. We believe that the answer to that question is, No.”

Other top officials said the extraordinary methods of response used during the manhunt and shutdown could lead to even bigger issues down the road.

"The questions that need to be posed and answered are ‘What made this pursuit of a suspect so different from other suspect pursuits that it required such an unusual law enforcement response?’ and ‘What is the level of militarization of police force, and in what situations will this force be used?’" said Urszula Masny-Latos, executive director of the lawyers’ guild, in a statement. "These are important questions that need to be addressed to make sure democracy and civil rights in our country are protected and secured."

Boston Bomb Suspect Says Prison Restrictions Violate His Civil Rights


(BOSTON) — Lawyers for accused Boston bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev said prison restrictions on the suspect were so tight they violate his civil rights and the judge conceded they may interfere with Tsarnaev’s ability to defend himself in court.

But prosecutors argued that the tough restrictions on Tsarnaev were necessary because Tsarnaev’s communication with people other than his lawyers “could result in death or serious bodily harm.”“Tsarnaev’s desire to inspire others to commit acts of terrorism is evident in the message he wrote in pen on the inside of the boat,” the government wrote in its opposition to lift prison restrictions. “This was a clarion call to radical militants.”

Tsarnaev was captured after being wounded while hiding in a boat. According to a government brief, he wrote on the inside of the boat, “The U.S. government is killing our innocent civilians. As a Muslim I can’t stand to see such evil go unpunished, we Muslims are one body, you hurt one, you hurt us all…”

Tsarnaev will face the death penalty if convicted in the sweeping terrorism and murder charges he is facing, federal prosecutors said in court Tuesday.The death penalty recommendation will be made by U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz, but Attorney General Eric Holder will ultimately determine whether Tsarnaev could face capital punishment.

U.S. District Court Justice George O’Toole ruled from the bench that the government must present its decision by Jan. 31.That ruling came during a hearing to address complaints from Tsarnaev’s defense team that restrictions imposed on him at the Fort Devens federal prison facility where he is being held impedes his civil right to a fair trial.

The prison restricts visits to immediate family and attorneys and ban him from praying with other prisoners and television.The American Civil Liberties Union filed a memorandum with the court calling Tsarnaev’s jailhouse conditions “torture,” but O’Toole ordered that the ACLU memo expunged from the federal court record.

Nevertheless, O’Toole was sympathetic to Tsarnaev’s attorneys’ assertions that the prison restrictions could violate the accused terrorist’s civil rights. Tsarnaev, who is originally from Dagestan, became a U.S. citizen on Sept. 11, 2012.”I agree enough with the defendant. It may concern adequate preparation for the case,” O’Toole said from the bench, adding that he was not concerned whether the restrictions “are annoying, but whether they are inhibiting.”

The defense also argued that the government has refused to cooperate with discovery requests for evidence critical to their client.Tsarnaev, 19, is a former UMass-Dartmouth student. His older brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, was killed during a firefight with police in Watertown, Mass., just days after the brothers allegedly dropped two pressure-cooker bombs along the finish line of the Boston Marathon, killing three – including an 8-year-old boy – and wounding at least 260 others.

The government, Tsarnaev attorney Miriam Conrad argued, has told the defense team: “We’ll decide what to disclose and when to disclose it.”

"The time is now,” Conrad told the court.Specifically, the defense team wants information about a triple homicide in Waltham, Mass., committed on the 10 year anniversary of the Sept. 11 terror attacks that both Tsarnaev brothers have been implicated in, Conrad said.

No one has been charged in that triple murder. 

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, Defender of the Constitution

justice4dzhokhar:

Even if you have little sympathy for Boston bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, you ought to support his lawyers’ efforts to curtail the government’s sprawling use of so-called “Special Administrative Measures” in his case. Whatever you think of him, and the capital crimes of which he stands accused, he has a right to counsel, a right to counsel who can privately and effectively communicate with him, and the Justice Department’s efforts to undermine that right in this instance are unfair and perhaps even unconstitutional.

First employed in 1996, SAMs are designed to prevent criminal defendants— before, during or after their trial—from inciting violence behind bars through secret communications with their lawyers or others. The attorney general may authorize the prison’s restrictions on an inmate’s mail, on his telephone calls, and on his visits with lawyers or access to media, if he or she finds that “there is a substantial risk that a prisoner’s communications or contacts with persons could result in death or serious bodily injury to persons.”

In the 17 years since SAMs were first authorized their scope has been expanded by the terror attacks of September 11, 2001 and by the sort of “mission creep” that is inevitable whenever bureaucracy is combined with a lack of strong judicial oversight. Where exactly does that put us today? If the government is permitted to impose restrictions on Tsarnaev’s fair-trial rights based upon the justifications it has offered in this case it could very well impose such restrictions on virtually any criminal defendant awaiting trial in a capital case.

Tsarnaev’s attorneys and federal lawyers will argue this issue in federal court in Boston Tuesday morning. And while the dispute is unlikely to delay Tsarnaev’s trial, it’s an important moment in this latest terrorism trial of the century. Are the feds here are using the SAMs against Tsarnaev because they think he’s plotting to wage a terror war from detention? Or are the feds restricting his communications because they don’t want the notorious prisoner to become ever more of a political symbol than he already is? And does the Constitution even allow a judge to hazard an answer about which?

Defense attorneys in this case—including the inestimable Judith Clarke—led off their request to end the special measures imposed on them and their client with two temporal arguments. It took four months, they told U.S. District Gerald O’Toole, for Attorney General Eric Holder to implement the communication restrictions upon Tsarnaev and his lawyers. And there are no allegations, much less evidence, that the defendant during that time communicated or attempted to communicate in any sinister way to justify the imposition of the SAMs. Here is the crucial paragraph from the defense motion:

[T]he underlying charges arising from the Marathon bombing and ensuring events in Watertown, for which Mr. Tsarnaev is awaiting trial, are grave. However, the government has not alleged, nor is the defense away of any evidence to suggest, that these events were directed by others still at large or that Mr. Tsarnaev ever had operational authority to direct the activities of others… Nor is there any evidence whatsoever of co-conspirators with whom Mr. Tsarnaev could arrange further terrorist or criminal activities.

The defense says the SAMs cannot lawfully be imposed because Tsarnaev told his friends before his arrest to take his stuff or because his worldwide notoriety since his arrest has generated “nearly one thousand pieces of unsolicited mail.” It would be perverse, Tsarnaev’s attorneys argue, to punish him for letters he neither sought nor has responded to. Nor should the restrictions be imposed because his mother in May released portions of a phone call with him to gin up sympathy for her son. Preventing sympathy for a defendant is not part of the legal calculus of the SAMs, the defense argues.

The Justice Department responded to this motion first by making a procedural argument. Judge O’Toole “lacks jurisdiction to hear the motion” at this time because Tsarnaev failed to comply with the requirements of the Prison Litigation Reform Act, a federal law that generally requires inmates to exhaust their administrative remedies before seeking relief in court. Tsarnaev needs to ask prison administrators to release him from the restrictions, federal lawyers argue, and only if (or when) they do not can he come back to court for help. This is the just the latest version of federal government’s standard terror law line: “Don’t-worry-your-pretty-little-head-about-it-judge.”

On the merits, the Justice Department says that Tsarnaev merits the restrictions on his communications with his lawyers, and others, because he inspired “others to commit acts of terrorism.” Here’s their argument:

Tsarnaev’s desire to inspire others to commits acts of terrorism is evident in the message he wrote in pen on the inside of the boat where he took refuge after his own ability to commit terrorist acts was exhausted. He wrote: The U.S. government is killing our innocent civilians but most of you already know that. As a M[uslim] I can’t stand to see such evil go unpunished, we Muslims are one body, you hurt one you hurt us all … [T]he ummah [i.e. the Muslim people] is beginning to rise]… . Know you are fighting men who look into the barrel of your gun and see heaven, now how can you compete with that. We are promised victory and we will surely get it.”

This was a clarion call to radical militants to follow in his wake. Tsarnaev’s self-evident goal in writing these words was to motivate others to commit acts of the same or similar nature, putting the American people at constant risk.

There is “nothing speculative” about Tsarnaev’s “ability to inspire others through his words in light of his past deeds,” federal lawyers told Judge O’Toole. Not only has he subsequently made it into the July 2013 issue of Inspire magazine, an Al Qaeda publication, he’s also been the subject of a Rolling Stone cover, the feds write. They also cite a Boston Globe story published this summer titled “Some radicals make heroes of Tsarnaev brothers,” for the proposition that the defendant’s “world-wide notoriety as a successful terrorist, couple with his avowed desire to inspire others” justifies the SAMs.

To federal officials, Tsarnaev’s text message to his friends about his backpack demonstrated “his willingness to use others to advance his illegal ends.” His decision to smash his cellphone “before finding a hiding place” demonstrated “a knowledge of basic tradecraft used by terrorists seeking to avoid detection.” Just think about those allegations in the context of any criminal case. Every criminal defendant who eludes arrest, or throws away a cellphone, or seeks to give away his stuff, could be subject to these measure if the feds says so.

The Justice Department also, predictably, trotted out some of the very favorable terror law rulings it received on this issue from lower court judges in the years immediately following the 9/11 attacks. “Tsarnaev ignores the lessons of history,” the feds told Judge O’Toole. “For example, imprisoned Sheikh Abdel Rahman urged his followers to wage jihad to obtain his release. Violent attacks and murders followed release of those communications.” All of a sudden, a domestic mass murder suspect—and that is all Tsarnaev is, when you stop to think about it—is the Blind Sheikh.

The feds next argue that the SAMs are constitutional “because they are reasonably related to the legitimate penological interest of ensuring that Tsarnaev does not cause harm either inside or outside the prison walls by engaging in forbidden communication with third parties.” And the Justice Department then cites several instances where defense attorneys worked with federal officials to amend and clarify the restrictions to make them more palatable to the defense. For this reason, too, they argue, the SAMs aren’t punitive or violative of Tsarnaev’s due process or first amendment rights.

Last week, Tsarnaev’s lawyers responded to the government’s brief. “The government obviously has no intention of lifting the SAMs and has made clear its position,” the defense asserts, so whatever administrative remedies had to be exhausted under the Prison Litigation Reform Act clearly have been exhausted. Besides, they told Judge O’Toole, both he as a sitting judge in a capital case, and they as attorneys representing a capital defendant, are not bound by the requirements Congress has imposed upon prison inmates.

Defense attorneys understood after reading the government’s filing that they had to address the “boat writing” issue and they did— in a most powerful and provocative way. From their Reply:

The government’s continuing and repeated references to Mr. Tsarnaev’s alleged writings inside of the boat where he was hiding are ironic. On their face, Mr. Tsarnaev’s alleged words simply state the motive for his actions, a declaration in anticipation of his own death. There is no express call for others to take up arms.

While the government may view these words as an implied “clarion call” to other would-be radicals, it was law enforcement that originally leaked existence of the alleged boat writings to the press and it is the government that continues to broadcast the “clarion” by repeating, emphasizing, and attributing inspirational significance to these words in the SAMs implementation memorandum and public court filings

The defense also responded to the argument made by federal lawyers that the conduct of Tsarnaev’s mother justified the impositions of the restrictions on his ability to communicate. From their Reply:

The government’s latest characterization of statements to the press by Mr. Tsarnaev’s mother just weeks after his arrest as reflecting willingness to be a “mouthpiece” for him in expressing radical views is patently inaccurate.

Mr. Tsarnaev’s mother referred to the fact of innocent civilian deaths around the world in the press coverage quoted by the government not as justification for what her sons were alleged to have done but to express her distraught belief at the time that they, too, had become innocent victims of violence. She then went on to play portions of a recorded call with Mr. Tsarnaev concerning his physical recovery and ability to eat.

These actions of a grieving mother in the immediate aftermath of shocking events, thousands of miles away from her dead and wounded sons, have nothing to do with inspiring further violence and do not justify restrictions on Mr. Tsarnaev or his counsel.

The rest of the Tsarnaev Reply last week consists of a forceful argument for why it is unconstitutional for the Justice Department, on behalf of local federal prosecutors, to micromanage communications between a capital defendant and his defense team. “The SAMs were not a product of considered BOP judgment to which deference might be due,” they told Judge O’ Toole. “Indeed, Fort Devens was getting by without incident for four months before the SAMs appeared.” The harm to this defendant’s constitutional rights is obvious and concrete, they say, the possibility that this defendant will cause violence”is so theoretical and remote as to be practically non-existent.”

There is little doubt that restrictive measures are justifiable in certain circumstances involving certain defendants. Although the United States Supreme Court has never directly ruled on the merits of such rules there is little doubt that the Court would endorse them in some fashion. Some prisoners do need to be muzzled. But there is a great deal of doubt that those restrictions are warranted by the circumstances that exist in this case.

Whatever he may be, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is no Sheik Abdel Rahman, or at least did nothing in the four months before the restrictions were imposed upon him to indicate that he has designs on becoming the leader of a terror conspiracy from his cell. The government says, in essence, that it’s better to err on the side of caution, on the side of silence. But the history of this nation’s criminal cases tell another story. We allow even the most despised suspects to have fair trials, aided by fully informed lawyers, who like their clients retain certain core First Amendment rights.

As I said above, the resolution of this issue won’t determine Tsarnaev’s fate. But the expansion of the use of these measures, and the way it has been justified in this case, ought to trouble anyone and everyone who cares about the balance between the government and the individual in criminal cases. You may have nothing in common with the Boston bombing suspect. But if the feds can bar him from communicating privately and effectively with his attorneys before he is even convicted they one day may be able to prevent you from doing so as well.

young Aza