With jury selection in the marathon bombing trial wrapping up and opening statements scheduled for Wednesday, the judge and attorneys tried to hash out some potentially important pending motions Monday.
In one of them, prosecutors argued the defense should not be allowed to present mitigating factors during the first phase, or the guilt phase, of the trial.
"If there’s a particular piece of evidence that the judge feels doesn’t go to that aspect of duress and is simply being offered to show what a nice guy he is, or what a good kid he was before this ever happened then the judge will exercise his discretion to exclude that piece of evidence," said necn legal editor Randy Chapman.
Chapman says Judge O’Toole likely reserved judgment on this so he could rule on it in a case-by-case manner.
The judge also didn’t rule on a defense motion to prevent the prosecution from cutting panels out the boat Tsarnaev allegedly hid in during the Watertown manhunt, showing writings he made that the prosecution alleges amount to a confession.
The defense says the boat should be kept intact and the jury can view the whole boat either outside court or in a warehouse somewhere, but to cut it up would be prejudicial.
"Simply because the boat happens to be extraordinarily large doesn’t mean that 1) the jury’s not able to see it, and 2) that it can’t be broken down into a format that will allow it to be introduced at least in part as to evidence," Chapman said.
The group of 70 provisionally qualified jurors will be back at court Tuesday, when attorneys will use peremptory challenges to whittle the group down to 12 jurors and six alternates. Opening statements are scheduled to begin Wednesday morning at 9 a.m.