Jurors in the trial of admitted Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev have been deliberating for nearly eight hours — and chances are good they’ll be working for a while longer before reaching a verdict.
Tsarnaev’s defense team admitted his involvement in the marathon bombings at the start of this trial. But jurors still have to ponder a host of distinct charges — many of which are legally complex. The verdict form released by judge George O’Toole earlier today is 32 pages long. It contains 30 separate counts, which contain more than 60 subordinate questions altogether. Remember, too, that jurors will be reevaluating hundreds of pieces of evidence as they make their conclusions — and that O’Toole’s instructions to jurors Monday took nearly an hour and a half. If jurors do their jobs right, we may be here longer than many people expect.
Meanwhile, as jurors weigh the thirty charges, it seemed the defense won a subtle procedural victory.
The verdict slip used by Tsarnaev trial jurors was released by O’Toole Tuesday morning — and it was a bit different than the version previously posted online.
On the older version, the terms “guilty” and “not guilty” were everywhere. On the new version, they’ve been replaced by “yes” and “no” in sections where the jury will weigh in on the so-called “aggravating elements” of certain crimes — in layman’s terms, secondary aspects of the charge in question. The defense asked for this change and got it. Whether it will have any effect on the way jurors think about the charges is an open question.