In a brilliant move, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's defense lawyer Judy Clarke stated in opening arguments that her client was guilty. She quickly followed that with her key strategy of positioning him as having been controlled by his late older brother Tamerian Tsarnaev. Here is the coverage by John Kamp in The Wall Street Journal.
Instead of the jurors' focusing on the grim details of the bombing, Clarke is trying to shift their attention to the human being on trial. She has a strong track record saving unpopular defendants from the death penalty.
Her foe in the courtroom is formidable, though. In his opening, Assistant U.S. Attorney William Weinreb created the portrait of a monster. He explained that just before he activated the bombs, the defendant was standing right near children at the finish line. After the bombing, the defendant returned to the University and tweeted that he was a "stress-free guy."
While Weinreb was delivering that oration, two dozen victims of the bombing were sitting in the courtroom. As the jurors were listening to his words, their visual field was filled with the long-term tragic consequences of this supposedly misguided youth's actions.
Can Clarke create compassion in jurors for terrorist bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev?
Reflection: We'd love Clarke to play a barrister in "Downton Abbey" next season at the trail of servant Anna for allegedly murdering Green.