Editorial, Opinion

EDIT: It’s much more than just pictures

Boston prosecutors filed a motion on Monday asking a federal judge to bar accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev from viewing autopsy photos of victims, aside from those being used as evidence during the trial.

The prosecutors argue that, although photos are standard procedure of all autopsies, it is unnecessary to allow Tsarnaev the unrestricted right to view all of the pictures. According to the motion, doing so would violate the victim’s families the right to dignity and privacy.

“Specifically, allowing photos of the mutilated bodies of the victims to be viewed by the man accused of mutilating them would needlessly revictimize the family members in the same way that innocent children who are photographed pornographically are revictimized whenever those photos are seen by others,” the motion stated.

However, in regards to his Sixth Amendment right to a fair trial, it’s understandable why Tsarnaev’s defendants are refusing to accept any limitation on his right to see all of the evidence against him.

Under the Sixth Amendment, defendants are permitted to inspect and copy any physical or medical examinations, including autopsy photos. But, at the same time, according to the motion, the court is allowed to “deny, restrict defer discovery or inspection, or grant other appropriate relief,” if “good cause” is shown. And, in this case, the motion defines “good cause” as a “particular factual demonstration of potential harm.”

The prosecutors argue that it is not necessary for Tsarnaev to see any photos other than those used as evidence against him during the trial, and therefore the court has “good cause” to restrict this right.

Although the prosecutors are acting in the interest of avoiding additional harm to the victim’s families, by arguing this case, they are pinning emotion against law. Although this is an honorable and sympathetic gesture, if we want to remain a country with a fair and equal criminal justice system, we need to grant everyone a fair trial — no matter who they are or what we are pretty sure they did.

There is no denying that this bombing caused extreme emotional and physical damage to the City of Boston and its residents. So naturally, we want to be as sympathetic toward fellow Bostonians as possible during this trial. However, to ensure everyone has the right to a fair trial, our justice system needs to uphold the “innocent until proven guilty” statute. And, as much as it pains people to accept, Tsarnaev is still innocent.

Assuming Tsarnaev would get some sort of twisted pleasure or any sort of reaction from these photos carries the assumption that he is guilty for the bombings last April.

Even though it has not been reported that Tsarnaev is specifically asking to see the photos, barring his access to them would imply that the court is directly biased against him. The judge needs to look at this case in the most objective way, and give Tsarnaev the fair trial he technically deserves — just as other criminals are expected to receive.

Prosecutors argued last year that they would not have enough time to make a defense in time for November’s trial — so why are they wasting time on arguing this? This case has much wider implications than the simple fact of allowing Tsarnaev to see the autopsy photos or not. Rather, it seems this has become more about restricting Tsarnaev’s rights as much as possible, which is not a practice that should be perpetuated in our criminal justice system.

The prosecution itself does not directly cite any murder cases in which defendants were denied the right to see such photos. Instead, it continually references child pornography cases. In no case should an alleged, senseless bombing be compared to the likes of child pornography. Yes, both are disgusting and tragic cases, but the implications of both are different. The only common thread, unfortunately, is the emotional damage for those affected.

This is a case that has stemmed out of emotional rage. This rage is by no means unprecedented, but if we want to uphold the honor in our court system, we cannot let subjective emotions get in the way. Doing so would set dangerous precedents, which would allow cases with no logical or realistic basis to prevail on terms of emotional distress.



  1. Barbara Henninger

    Thank you for an excellent article. Sadly, yours is one of the exceedingly few reports where it is acknowledged that, in The United States of America, a defendant is innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. Too many prosecutors are driven by a will to win at any cost, and this is destroying our justice system.

  2. Between this deceitful inside job & the Boston children’s hospital inside job, boston has lost all integrity.

    You must analyze WHAT THE FBI IS WITHHOLDING. & why?
    They couldn’t give a sh*t about the victims. An agent just executed a kid in Orlando ( Todashev) a lawless sociopathic act. I wouldn’t be surprised he he was a potential witness for the defense.

    In fact, they are directing the trial withholding exculpatory evidence that would prove they are the antithesis of honorable; to wit, the BOSTON OFFICE IS ONE OF THE MOST CORRUPT IN THE USA.

    YOU WRITERS HAVE TO INVESTIGATE BEFORE YOU OPINE & look beneath the surface, at the true motivations of the FBI: to justify inflating their budget for the” domestic terror” they orchestrate:


    The defendant must never prove that there were casualties, but mostly amputees & paid actors with fake blood. & props.
    Bob bauman & the cowboy hat wheelchair aid from Central America. They all got free trips to France & all these frauds were paid compensation to keep their traps shut. One of the same participants in this RUSE WAS VIDEOED AT SANDY HOOK!

    For Pete’s sake the FBI SHOULD BE SHUT DOWN. THEY DO NOT PROTECT THE PEOPLE THEY ARE THE ENEMY WITHIN, & the most notorious sociopath was just assigned to fun the Boston office!:


    Here is what REALLY went down on Boylston St:


    “Anonymous 04/15/13(Mon)18:42 No. 15795252
    WARNING: laws being written to screw you.

    I work on a security commission and I’ve just received word to start campaigning on a campaign we’ve been working on for the last two months and now it all makes sense.

    I’ll keep it as short as I can.

    They’re going to pin this even on a male late teens to early 20s and say he did it because he is unstable. They are going to find firearms and a NRA book in his home. They are going to say he used reloading powder for the explosion and that reloading powder shouldn’t be for sale to the public.

    “They are then going to say that because the powder in ammunition can be used for explosions that the number of rounds you can buy should be limited and taxed to help pay for these events.”

    I can’t do anything or I’ll lose my job and possibly face criminal charges. Please don’t let them get away with it. They won’t find the suspect till later this week and the raid is issued to occur on Friday. This was a staged event. The people hurt are real but the event was planned. Don’t let them hurt our rights.

    I’m at work so I used a copy of the picture from another thread. Also please don’t mention me. It will seriously hurt me.”


  3. If the judge favors the FBI suppressing of exculpatory evidence, proving the “victims” were paid actors with preexisting deformities, then the judge is sired & should be removed ASAP.


    I wouldn’t be surprised if the defendant suddenly dies in prison of an “overdose”.