Fordham Law

Boston Marathon Bombings Suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev Charged With Using A Weapon Of Mass Destruction In Hospital Room

Thane Rosenbaum in Latinos Post, April 22, 2013

Media Source

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, Boston bombings suspect, was charged with using a weapon of mass destruction today in the attack on Apr. 15 that left three people dead and more than 170 injured.

Federal magistrate judge Gary H. Wente carried out the initial court appearance from Tsarnaev's hospital room where the suspect is listed in serious condition at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.

The 19-year-old reportedly suffered gunshot wounds before being captured by authorities on Friday.

Attorney General Eric Holder says that with today's charges are important steps in Boston's recovery from the bombings.

"Although our investigation is ongoing, today's charges bring a successful end to a tragic week for the city of Boston and for our country," he said.

"We've once gain shown that those who target innocent Americans and attempt to terrorize our cities will not escape from justice. We will hold those who are responsible for these heinous acts accountable to the fullest extent of the law."

Tsarnaev has not been able to communicate verbally with officials, but has been able to answer questions by nodding his head.

Tsarnaev, who waived his right to a detention hearing, is also being charged with malicious destruction of property resulting in death---according to the U.S. District Court criminal complaint documents based on FBI special agent Daniel R. Genck's affidavit.

The prosecution regarding the Boston bombings has sparked a debate over whether the government should treat Tsarnaev as an American citizen or as an enemy combatant.

Fordham Law Professor, Thane Rosenbaum, says that the government's route in prosecuting Tsarnaev will revolve heavily around the Constitution.

"Treating Tsarnaev as an American citizen rather than as an enemy combatant will put the Constitution itself on trial, since government prosecutors will surely find ways to overcome many of Tsarnaev's constitutional rights as embodied in the 4th and 5th Amendments, particularly," Rosenbaum said.

"The Constitution can't be strictly adhered to if the government wishes to assure itself that Tsarnaev will receive the maximum penalty. There have been several civilian trials that demonstrate this point."