2021-10-13 22:23:57 US top court weighs Boston Marathon bomber’s death sentence | Courts News
US top court weighs Boston Marathon bomber’s death sentence | Courts News
The US Supreme Court hears arguments in the case of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the convicted Boston Marathon bomber.
The Supreme Court of the United States will decide whether to reinstate the death penalty for convicted Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev after hearing arguments from US prosecutors and defense lawyers on Wednesday.
Tsarnaev was convicted six years ago for his role in the 2013 attack, which killed three people and injured over 260 more. He was sentenced to both life in prison and the death penalty.
However, his lawyers were successful in their appeal of the death sentence, arguing that jurors had not heard enough arguments about how Tsarnaev was deeply influenced by his older brother Tamerlan, who was killed while fleeing the bombing. They also claimed that dramatic media reports had swayed the jury.
Former President Donald Trump’s Justice Department rejected those arguments and petitioned the Supreme Court to reinstate execution in the high-profile case.
However, the Supreme Court only heard the arguments on Wednesday, three months after President Joe Biden’s revamped Department of Justice declared a moratorium on federal executions.
During Wednesday’s hearing, the Supreme Court’s three liberal justices appeared more sympathetic to Tsarnaev, while the court’s conservative majority appeared more receptive to arguments for reinstatement of the original sentence.
Nonetheless, conservative Justice Amy Coney Barrett questioned the government’s “end game” in light of the moratorium on Tsarnaev’s execution.
She stated that if the administration prevails in the case, Tsarnaev will be “living under a death sentence that the government does not intend to carry out.”
Deputy Solicitor General Eric Feigin responded that the Biden administration believes the jury delivered a “sound verdict” and that the court of appeals erred in overturning it.
If the appellate ruling is upheld, Tsarnaev will face a new sentencing trial if the Biden administration continues to seek the death penalty. The Supreme Court is expected to rule by June 2022.
On April 15, 2013, the Tsarnaev brothers detonated two homemade pressure-cooker bombs at the marathon’s finish line, killing a police officer days later. Tamerlan Tsarnaev was killed in a shootout with police.
Jurors found Dzhokhar Tsarnaev guilty on all 30 counts and sentenced him to death for planting a bomb that killed Martin Richard, 8, and Chinese exchange student Lingzi Lu, 23. The second bomb killed 29-year-old restaurant manager Krystle Campbell.