Her name is Judy Clarke and she has been a gentle advisor, confidante – and lawyer – for Boston bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. But can she now save his life?
Many would argue that she should not, but for Judy Clarke defending the perpetrators of the most horrific crimes is what she does for a living. She defended the Unabomber Ted Kaczynski, Arizona shooter Jared Lee Loughner who killed or injured 19 people. She also represented Atlanta Olympics bomber Eric Rudolph.
She saved all of these murderers from the death penalty and hopes to do the same for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the man accused in the 2013 Marathon bombing that killed three people and injured more than 260 others.
Because her passion for justice is what has driven her, without dramatics or loud protestation.
Dressed plainly and without makeup, Clarke, 62, remains totally modest and unassuming. As Voice of America reported,
she refused interviews but instead suggested a story on her co-counsel, David Bruck, or the team of federal public defenders also working on the Tsarnaev case.
In a rare public speech about her work, Clarke told an audience at Loyola Law School in 2013 that many people charged with capital crimes have suffered severe trauma and cognitive development issues. She said many of her clients have been reluctant to plead guilty when she first meets them.
“They’re looking into the lens of life in prison in a box,” she said. “Our job is to provide them with a reason to live.”
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