The PJ Tatler

ABC: 'Budget Cuts Could Delay 'Boston Bomber' Trial'

This is media malpractice.

Defense lawyers for suspected Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev could be “severely affected” by federal budget cuts, resulting in potentially lengthy delays to his eventual trial, said federal court officials.

Tsarneav, 19, who faces the death penalty on charges of detonating a weapon of mass destruction, will be represented by a team of attorneys from the federal public defender office in Boston.

Lawyers from that office will likely be furloughed in the weeks ahead, a result of across-the-board spending cuts to federal agencies, including a $350 million hit to the nation’s courts, as part of the so-called sequester.

Though both the public defender and U.S. attorney prosecuting the case are federal employees, only the defense lawyers will subject to furloughs, according to officials.

That difference, has some lawyers who work in public defense calling foul.

“It’s about fairness and equality,” said Ed Burnette, vice president of defender legal services at the National Legal Aid and Defender Association. “The federal government is making a judgment and making a statement, telling everyone involved that the prosecution is more important than the defendant’s constitutional rights.”

While court officials throughout Massachusetts have been warned of upcoming cuts and furloughs, the Federal Defender office “is severely affected,” Patti B. Saris, the chief judge for the United States District Court of Massachusetts, said in a statement released earlier this month prior to the April 15 bombings.

The sequester “cuts” amount to less than a 3% reduction in the rate of growth of spending. Nowhere does the ABC story mention that fact. It also neglects to mention that the Obama administration is making the “cuts” as visible as possible to try to put pressure on Republicans to raise taxes and spend even more. What better way to make the sequester visible than insert it into the Boston bombing? ABC’s story is thus part of the Democrats’ info war against the concept of reining in government spending. It’s not news.