Daniel Medwed, a pro­fessor at North­eastern Uni­ver­sity School of Law who opposes the death penalty, said he believes it is unlikely the defense will sway the judge in this case. But he said they are likely throwing down a marker now, pre­serving this as poten­tial fodder for later appeal.

This is a long-​​term play,” Mr. Medwed said.

The defense is also mounting an argu­ment that Mr. Tsarnaev’s hospital-​​bed state­ments to law enforce­ment agents shortly after his cap­ture should be sup­pressed. Inves­ti­ga­tors ini­tially ques­tioned Mr. Tsar­naev before reading him his Miranda rights under a public-​​safety exception.

But his lawyers claimed his state­ments were invol­un­tary and that his due-​​process rights were vio­lated. His injuries included a gun­shot wound to the head that likely caused trau­matic brain injury, the defense attor­neys wrote. They also said he was on sev­eral pain drugs that impaired his judg­ment, had to write responses in a note­book and repeat­edly asked for both rest and a lawyer.

Read the article at The Wall Street Journal →