A federal judge refused Friday to suppress evidence in the case of suspected Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev that was uncovered when the FBI searched his computer, Dartmouth dorm room, and his family's Cambridge apartment in the days and months after the bombings.
US District Court Judge George A. O'Toole Jr. also rejected a defense request to dismiss the case, after Tsarnaev's lawyers said the secret grand jury that indicted Tsarnaev was improperly empaneled.
O'Toole refused to hold a hearing on the requests, finding that Tsarnaev's defense "has failed to prove a violation of the fair cross section requirements" of federal law.
The judge's rulings come as lawyers are scheduled to meet Monday for a status hearing in federal court in Boston, to go over evidence in the case.
Tsarnaev, now 21, is slated to stand trial in January on charges that he and his brother set off the bombs at the Marathon finish line on April 15, 2013, that killed 3 people and injured more than 260. The brothers also are accused of fatally shooting an MIT police officer.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev faces the possibility of the death penalty if convicted.
Tsarnaev's older brother, Tamerlan, was killed days after the bombings in a confrontation with police.
In his rulings Friday, O'Toole found that Tsarnaev failed to show that his rights were violated by a flawed jury selection process. Tsarnaev's lawyers had argued that the selection system was flawed because not enough African-Americans were represented, because the court allowed people over 70 to excuse themselves, and because the court did not follow its own rules to replace jurors whose summons were returned as "undeliverable."
O'Toole also refused to suppress evidence gathered by federal investigators. Defense lawyers had argued items that were confiscated went beyond what was authorized by search warrants.
The judge ruled that investigators properly obtained the warrants for the searches, but O'Toole said defense lawyers could contest specific pieces of evidence that prosecutors want to introduce to jurors during the trial.
"The defendant has failed to present any specific facts to support a showing that general rummaging occurred," the judge said.
Source: Boston Globe, October 20, 2014