Tsarnaev Seeks Better Prison Conditions

Lawyers call them unduly harsh for marathon bombing suspect

By Newser Editors and Wire Services

Posted Oct 2, 2013 8:04 PM CDT

(Newser) – Lawyers for Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev asked a judge today to lift restrictions placed on him in prison, arguing that the conditions are overly harsh, have left him nearly totally isolated, and are impairing their ability to defend him. Tsarnaev's lawyers said in a motion filed in court that he has been confined to his cell except for visits from them and has "very limited access" to a small outdoor enclosure. In their motion, Tsarnaev's lawyers said "Special Administrative Measures" were imposed on their client beginning in August, at the request of US Attorney Carmen Ortiz and the approval of Attorney General Eric Holder.

"SAMs," as they are known, are used in terrorism cases and other high-profile cases when authorities allege there is "substantial risk" that a defendant's communications or contacts with people "could result in death or serious bodily injury" to others. The special restrictions were placed on shoe bomb suspect Richard Reid, "American Taliban" John Walker Lindh, and other terror suspects. The measures restrict access to the mail, the media, the telephone and visitors. Tsarnaev's lawyers say prosecutors have presented no evidence that the special restrictions are needed in Tsarnaev's case.

This file photo released April 19 shows Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.
This file photo released April 19 shows Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.   (AP Photo/Federal Bureau of Investigation, File)
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