Prominent death penalty lawyer Judy Clarke is joining the team representing the suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings.
The appointment of Clarke, based in San Diego, Calif., was approved Monday by U.S. Magistrate Judge Marianne Bowler.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 29, has been charged with using a weapon of mass destruction during the April 15 marathon. Three people were killed and more than 260 injured when two bombs exploded near the finish line.
Clarke is no stranger to clients accused of the most heinous crimes committed on U.S. soil.
Her clients have included Unabomber Ted Kaczynski; Susan Smith, who drowned her two children; and most recently Tucson, Ariz., shooter Jared Loughner. All received life sentences instead of the death penalty.
It no surprise to her former colleagues in San Diego's Federal Public defender's office, that Clarke was the U.S. magistrate's pick to represent Tsarnaev.
“That was a really smart decision by the judge who made it. She's a fantastic lawyer and if justice is going to be done, in as difficult a case as this is, then Judy Clarke is the person,” Attorney Knut Johnson said.
Clarke keeps an office on the 18th floor at 1010 2nd Avenue but she's rarely there.
Her whereabouts can be mapped with the headlines her cases create.
Not that she seeks the spot light, just the opposite. It’s the judges and notorious defendants that seek Clarke.
“She has a wealth of experience in this area she would be the go to lawyer on this type of case,” said former colleague and San Diego attorney Gretchen von Helms.
Clarke is often described as a recluse. Despite the worldwide attention to her cases she does her talking before the bench.
“Ultimately she is very simple, plain spoken and ultimately very humble and decent as a human being,” friend Eugene Iredale said.
Bowler denied a request from Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's public defender to appoint a second death penalty lawyer. Bowler says Tsarnaev's lawyers could renew their motion to appoint another death penalty expert if Tsarnaev is indicted.