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Meet the Boston bombing suspect's defense team

NEED TO KNOW
  • Boston marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarneav was criminally charged Monday
  • If convicted, Tsarneav could face the death penalty
Meet the Boston bombing suspect's defense team

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Even though many people may believe Dzhokhar Tsarneav is guilty of the Boston Marathon bombings, he is still going to get his day in court.

Federal prosecutors have charged Tsarneav with one count of using and conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction resulting in death, and one count of malicious destruction of property with an explosive device resulting in death.

If convicted, Tsarneav could be sentenced to death via lethal injection, or life in prison.
 
 
Court documents filed Monday say three federal public defenders are assigned to represent the Boston bombing suspect. They are Miriam Conrad, William Fick and Timothy Watkins.
 
The website for the Federal Public Defender's office for the districts of Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island lists Miriam Conrad as the head federal public defender for the office. William Fick and Timothy Watkins are listed on the website as assistant federal public defenders.
 
"We represent individuals who cannot afford to hire a lawyer in federal criminal cases and related matters. We are assigned to cases by the district courts in the three districts that we serve, and by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit. Requests for counsel should be made directly to the appropriate court," the Federal Public Defender's website states.
 
It is not clear who will take the leadership role with Tsarneav's defense, but Fick was present at his bedside Monday when he was charged in the hospital.
 
Fick's LinkedIn.com profile says he received a bachelor of arts in Russian from Yale University and also attended Yale Law School. The profile also says he has full professional proficiency in the Russian language. His ability to speak Russian may help him with representing Tsarneav because of the suspect's ties to the region.
 
Fick's bio on the Yale University website says he has "handled and continues to handle federal drug cases where the evidence was tested at the state lab as well as cases where enhanced federal sentences were based on prior state drug convictions where the lab is implicated."
 
Conrad has handled high-profile cases in the past. She represented Richard Reid, the infamous "shoe bomber." She also represented Rezwan Ferdaus, who pleaded guilty in 2012 to charges of plotting to attack the Pentagon and Capitol Building with remote-controlled model airplanes carrying C-4 explosives.

Conrad's profile on Martindale.com says she received her undergraduate degree at Northwestern University and her legal education from Harvard University.
 
"Miriam Conrad has been the Federal Public Defender for the Districts of Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island since 2005. She joined the Federal Public Defender Office in 1992 as an Assistant Federal Public Defender, and was a trial attorney for the Committee for Public Counsel Services (the state public defender’s office) from 1988 to 1992. In 2001, she received the Boston Bar Association’s John G. Brooks Award for representation of indigent clients. After graduating from Harvard Law School, she clerked for the Hon. Rya W. Zobel, of the U.S. District Court in Boston, MA," says Conrad's profile on the Federal courts website.
 
Watkins profile on the Massachusetts state court website says he has served as an Assistant Federal Defender for the District of Massachusetts since 1999.
 
"Previously, he was a staff attorney for the Public Counsel Division of the Committee for Public Counsel Services for five years. He is a member of the Executive Board of Directors of Massachusetts Citizens Against the Death Penalty, the Massachusetts Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. Mr. Watkins holds a J.D. degree from Northeastern University School of Law and a Bachelor of Music degree from Berklee College of Music," the Massachusetts court website says.

 

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