Indy attorneys weigh in on Boston terrorism trial

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev faces the death penalty in the Boston Marathon bombings.
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There is a huge debate over how to seek justice against the 19-year-old Boston Marathon bombing suspect.

Eyewitness News talked to some of Indianapolis' most experienced attorneys when it comes to putting terrorism on trial.

At the center of the debate an issue burning since 9-11: Should suspected terrorists face American juries or military commissions?

Eyewitness News cameras venture behind prison walls in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where terrorists captured by the U.S. are detained.

The debate now: What to do with the surviving Boston Marathon bombing suspect, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who is an American by law, now facing federal charges of using a weapon of mass destruction to kill. It's a crime that comes with a possible death sentence.

"He simply couldn't be taken and put into a military commission, because he's a U.S. citizen," said Indianapolis Attorney Rick Kammen.

Kammen, who could be described as a crusader for the Constitution, also represents one of the world's most notorious bombing suspects, Abd al Rahim al Nashiri, the man suspected of planning the attack on the USS Cole in Yemen that killed 17 sailors.

Since 2008, Kammen has made numerous visits to Guantanamo. He was there just last week as the bombing in Boston unfolded. Kammen calls the military commission a failed experiment and wrong for the suspected Boston bomber.

"If we change the rules so that he can put into a second class system of justice, then again what's to prevent the next person?" he questioned.

Kammen says the military commissions are slow, and tends to hide the truth as opposed to getting the truth out.

"In February, we found that smoke detectors that were in the meeting rooms really were microphones," explained Kammen, who says such a thing would not happen in the American system. "As many as 500,000 internal defense emails of our team and other teams were accidentally provided to the prosecution."

Kammen argues the American system was good enough to convict Oklahoma City bombers Terry Nichols and Tim McVeigh and should be good enough for the Boston case.

The man who was second chair in the United States federal case against McVeigh agrees.

"This is a trial artist's illustration from the closing argument in the McVeigh case. This is McVeigh, obviously, myself holding a pamphlet from the Internet teaching him how to make improvised explosives," said Indianapolis Attorney Larry Mackey.

Mackey was the federal prosecutor for the Oklahoma City cases. What started out as a three-month appointment turned into three years, two convictions and ultimately the death penalty for McVeigh.

"The investigation was enormous, mounds of evidence," said Mackey. "But you are fueled by the single thought that we've got to do what's right."

Mackey says he believes most Americans trust the criminal justice system we rely on every day. He warns everyone to be patient - these cases take time.

As for Nashiri, Kammen says the trial is still a long way off. He couldn't tell us what his client thinks about anything, because the military commission considers everything about him - including his own thoughts - classified information.