The Instigator
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The Contender
Con (against)
2 Points

In accordance with the law, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev should not be found guilty of the Boston Bombings*

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/20/2013 Category: Politics
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,262 times Debate No: 32710
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (2)
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* without a fair trial.

In the way of a prelude, I am going to assume for the sake of this debate that it is widely accepted belief that every person changed with a criminal offence deserves to be tried before the law, and enjoy the protection of a fair trial.

These rights are enshrined in both Articles 7 and 10 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and by the Fifth and Sixth and Fourteenth Amendments of the United States Constitution.

Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments
"[N]or shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law"

Judge Henry Friendlydescribes due process to be:
  1. An unbiased tribunal
  2. Notice of the proposed action and the grounds asserted for it
  3. Opportunity to present reasons why the proposed action should not be taken
  4. The right to present evidence, including the right to call witnesses.
  5. The right to know opposing evidence
  6. The right to cross-examine adverse witnesses
  7. A decision based exclusively on the evidence presented
  8. Opportunity to be represented by counsel
  9. Requirement that the tribunal prepare a record of the evidence presented
  10. Requirement that the tribunal prepare written findings of fact and reasons for its decision.
Sixth Amendment
"In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense."

It is with this understanding that I put to you that, as a direct consequence on the FBI disclosing photographs of suspects, they have made it very hard for justice to be done.

Due to the level of media coverage given to the mugshots of suspects 1 and 2, it will be incredibly hard to find an impartial jury to try the defendant in this case.

For a guilty verdict Dzhokhar will either have to make that plea himself, or the protections afforded under the above amendments will have to be relaxed.

Whilst the prompt action by the Boston PD and the FBI might have offered an immediate remedy to the collective vulnerablilty felt by the American people, ultimately, on reflection, it might have been a mistake.

In this case, irrespective of material guilt, I think it would be an affront to the Justice System for a guilty verdict to be found, unless a truly impartial jury is found.

1. Judge Henry Friendly on Due Process:


Our rights have been forever changed due to 9/11, as a result of 9/11 the U.S. passed the Patriot Act (the Act made to battle terror)
Right to a Speedy and Public Trial: Government may jail anyone indefinitely without a trial, including US citizens, which means we can indefinitely jail him without trial even though he is a U.S. citizen.
I thank you for your argument and look forward to round 2
Debate Round No. 1


In your argument you link to a source which claims that the rights of a speedy and public trial of U.S. citizens are infringed as a consequence of the Patriot Act. After extensive fact checking, it appears that this source is misleading.

In it's analysis of the Patriot Act back in 2001, the ACLU talks about how Section 412 of the Act "permits indefinite detention of immigrants and other non-citizens" [1]. The scope of this section does not extend to U.S. citizens.

That being said, Section 802 of the Act creates an offence of "domestic terrorism", and can be applied to U.S. citizens, as is applied to immigrants and non-citizens in Section 412, in cases where the guilty party is considered an enemy combatant.

In Ex Parte Quirin - 317 U.S. 1 (1942) [2] the term enemy combatant was first classified.
In this authority it is held that if a U.S citizen, at time of war, is under the direction of a nation at war with the United States, and is charged with committing or attempting to commit ... hostile acts ..., then they should be subject to the law of war and tried by a military court; denying them Fifth and Sixth Amendment protections.

In considering the circumstances under which the President has authority to construct military tribunals, the Quirin court did cite Ex Parte Milligan, 71 U.S. 2 (1866) [3], relating to a U.S. citizen during civil war. It concluded that in such circumstances, conditions necessary for a person to be treated as an enemy combatant are not met, and so the above provision could not apply.

Further, in considering the above cases, a legal analysis in the American University Law Review finds that the Patriot Act and President Bush's related Executive Order, if applied to U.S. citizens, would "not pass constitutional muster" [4].

Under the Patriot Act, for a U.S. citizen guilty of domestic terrorism, to be denied Fifth and Sixth Amendment protections and tried by a military tribunal, they would have to be acting under the direction of an enemy nation state. In all other cases these protections are preserved.

I submit that more recent Acts; namely the 2012 and 2013 updates to the National Defense Authorization Act, presents a more realistic threat of the outcome you mention. Although Section 1021 of the 2012 update grants Obama these powers, at the time of signing, he made a signing statement promising not to use them [5].

As the Patriot Act does not apply, and it is yet to be seen if Obama will renege on his promise, we should assume that Dzhokhar will be tried in a civilian court and that he will enjoy Fifth and Sixth Amendment protections.

My point remains valid, that the FBI have jeapodised any chances of a finding of guilt.

There is already evidence available to the public which creates a reasonable doubt to his guilt, even given the evidence made public by the FBI.




Djohar Tsarnaev said on his Vkontakte page that his world view is Islam and his personal priority is career and money, according to the Moscow newspaper.

He definitely has a Islamic view despite being American so odds are 1. A radical from a Islamic country influenced him
2. A Islamic radical influenced his brother, who then influenced him.

Therefore, he will be found guilty
Debate Round No. 2


I'm affraid any evidence from social media or online accoutns is still supificial with regards to his guilt.

Since starting this debate it appears from news sources that he seems to be cooperating with investigations and that he had admitted his role in the bombings.

That being said, we are still hearing this through second hand sources.

I am glad that his due process righst have been preserved, but I guess it is still to be seen if his defence will try to argue prejudice by the actions of the FBI.

All the information that is circulating on the internet which suggests his guilt could simply be the irratic actions of a person who knows that he has been set up. He may very well hold certain views, and have made those views public, but that might be a reason for him being framed rather than evidence of his guilt.

I'm not humoring any sort of conspiracy theory here or anything, i'm simply demanding that all the facts - and his testimony is known, before people start claiming his guilt.

The reason why the media have to use the word alledged is because his guilt is only suspected and is not proven until it is found in a court of law.

Having said all that, it is still possible that he is guilty of the bombings, and, in accordance with his rights to due process, he may not be found guilty, on account of the reasons I gave in my original post.

The two things that are at stake here are a guilty man walking free, and a justice system losing it's integrity.

For the sake of sticking to my guns, and the points made in my first post, i'm still going to state that I think he should not be found guilty, as long as his defence team can argue that the jury of his peers are prejudiced by media reporting.

Really this debate is about preserving the integrity of the justice system.


He was a follower of Anwar al-Awlaki
Anwar al-Awlaki is a Al-Qaeda linked terrorist leader
Dzhokar Tsarnaev followed his magazine, made a bomb and murdered civilians. Trust me he wasn't following following our government.
I would have put more details in my last debate but new details were still arriving
Debate Round No. 3
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by zaneperry 3 years ago
Yes, although I am not a US citizen myself (or a lawyer) and so admit that there is every possibility that there may be some case law that I am not aware of that nullifies this rule in cases of national security. I don't think that this is the case though.
Posted by effimero89 3 years ago
Are we arguing strictly from the stand point of the U.S. law?
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by ProudBlackVoter 3 years ago
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Total points awarded:12 
Reasons for voting decision: mmmmyep