On December 31, Tsarnaev's lawyers asked the U.S. Court of Appeal in Boston to weigh in on previously rejected continuance and change-of-venue requests, arguing that, given the nature of the April 2013 attack and the huge amount of negative pre-trial publicity the case has received, it would be impossible to seat an unbiased jury in Boston, Massachusetts.
U.S. Federal Judge George O'Toole declined to move the trial Friday, stating "Voir dire is sufficient...the Court has confidence that a sufficient number of qualified, impartial jurors will be identified and ultimately sworn as jurors".
But the decision is already looking shaky, as a number of prospective jurors and their family members have taken to social media - some publicly sharing their prejudice towards Tsarnaev and pre-conceived belief in his guilt.
"Despite what potential jurors might claim during jury selection, any claims of impartiality and fairness would likely be overcome by the enormous prejudice surrounding the case and the public pressure to deliver a guilty verdict", said Silvergate.
Both courts also rejected a continuance, O'Toole saying any postponement would disrupt potential jurors' schedules. "Any change in reporting dates would cause some unknown degree of disruption to those people," said O'Toole,noting, "A short stay could lead to a long continuance of the commencement of trial."
Silvergate appeared to concur, noting disruption of 'logistics' should not be a consideration when determining a defendant's right to a fair trial, and added, that due to the enormity of the investigation and subsequent workload, "There is no way that the defense team could possibly be prepared for a January 5 trial date".
He has been held in solitary confinement since his arrest and faces death by lethal injection if convicted.