BOSTON — When Judy Clarke, the lead defense lawyer for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, announced at the outset of his trial last week that her client was responsible for the Boston Marathon bombings, she was following a strategy laid out by Clarence Darrow almost a century ago.
Darrow, one of the most renowned criminal defense lawyers in American history, was representing two infamous child-killers in Chicago named Leopold and Loeb. He started with a guilty plea. That left him free to focus on his goal: saving them from the gallows.
He delivered an extraordinary 12-hour closing argument against the death penalty that left the judge in tears, after which he sentenced the pair to life in prison.
Ms. Clarke, a death penalty opponent, is similarly single-minded in seeking to save Mr. Tsarnaev. Every move she makes is aimed at trying to spare him from execution, including her blunt opening admission of who planted bombs at the 2013 marathon: “It was him.”