U.S. First Circuit - The FindLaw 1st Circuit Court of Appeals News and Information Blog

May 2015 Archives

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev Sentenced to Death

Did you really think it was going to end differently? After weeks of testimony in the sentencing phase of convicted Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the same federal jury that found him guilty April 30 sentenced him to death Friday for the bombing that killed three, and injured more than 240 others.

The jury reached a verdict after deliberating for only 14 hours -- just three hours more than it took them to find him guilty of all 30 counts with which he was charged.

1st Cir. Upholds Conviction of Man Who Killed Informant

In 2004, Madelin Semidey-Morales was dating Edison Burgos-Montes while Semidey's husband was in prison. She agreed to work with the DEA to inform on Burgos, who was a drug dealer. She recorded conversations and arranged purchases for cocaine with DEA agents.

A year or so later, one of Burgos' employees told him that Semidey was a government informant. After that, Semidey mysteriously disappeared. Her body was never found.

The First Circuit, in an opinion by former Supreme Court Justice Souter, upheld a Massachusetts police officer's excessive force conviction stemming from an assault on an arrestee. Shawn Coughlin, a cop in Plymouth, Massachusetts -- yes, the Plymouth of Plymouth Rock fame -- was sentenced to a year and a day in prison after beating a handcuffed arrestee in a holding cell and falsifying records to impede the federal investigation.

On appeal, Coughlin claimed that there was insufficient evidence that his actions, striking the arrestee in the head and kneeing him in the torso, resulted in bodily injury. Not so, said the First Circuit. If it looks like a beating and sounds like a beating, it probably feels like one too -- and that's enough for a jury to decided that there was bodily injury.

Maine Man Gets 14 1/2 Years for Child Pornography

Another day, another child pornography appeal. This time, Timothy Majeroni is appealing a 2012 conviction for child pornography, which occurred when he was already on supervised release for a previous conviction for -- wait for it -- child pornography.

Majeroni tried to throw everything he could at the wall, but nothing was going to stick. That's how these cases go sometimes.