Entertainment

DOJ asks Supreme Court to reinstate death penalty for Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev


The US Supreme Court on Monday agreed to consider the Justice Department’s bid to reinstate Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s death sentence for helping carry out the 2013 attack that killed three people and wounded more than 260 others 

The Justice Department has urged the US Supreme Court to reinstate Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s death sentence after it was overturned by an appellate court last summer.  

The request was made in a 48-page brief filed on Monday and signed by at least eight members of the DOJ.  

The officials argued that a lower court made the wrong decision by disregarding the jury’s recommendation in what it called ‘one of the most important terrorism prosecutions in our Nation’s history’.

The Supreme Court had agreed in late March to hear the DOJ’s appeal first filed under the Trump administration, which carried out the executions of 13 federal inmates in its final six months in office.

President Joe Biden has publicly opposed the death penalty and said he may soon instruct the DOJ to stop scheduling executions. 

Three people were killed and more than 260 others were wounded when Tsarnaev and his brother Tamerlan set off two pressure cooker bombs near the finish line of the Boston Marathon in 2013.

Justices won’t hear the appeal until the fall. 

Three people were killed and more than 260 others were wounded when Tsarnaev and his brother Tamerlan set off two pressure cooker bombs near the finish line of the Boston Marathon in 2013

Three people were killed and more than 260 others were wounded when Tsarnaev and his brother Tamerlan set off two pressure cooker bombs near the finish line of the Boston Marathon in 2013

The initial prosecution and decision to seek a death sentence was made by the Obama administration, in which Biden served as vice president. 

As president, Biden has pledged to seek an end to the federal death penalty. He is the first sitting US president to openly oppose the death penalty and has voiced his plans to potentially instruct the DOJ to stop scheduling new executions. 

While overall support for the death penalty dropped to just over 50 percent in recent years, according to the Associated Press, ‘many Americans may not want to preclude the possibility of a death sentence in terrorism cases such as the Boston Marathon bombing.’

Tsarnaev, 27, was convicted of 30 charges, including conspiracy and use of a weapon of mass destruction, in the 2013 terror attack and was sentenced to death in 2015.

The US Court of Appeals for the 1st Circuit threw out the death sentence last July, ruling that the judge in Tsarnaev’s trial did not adequately screen jurors for potential biases following pervasive media coverage of the attack.

Defense attorneys had argued that Tsarnaev did not to receive a fair trial because the judge limited their ability to probe potential jurors about how media coverage may have impacted their impartiality.

However, the Justice Department’s brief asserts that court’s decision was not pragmatic because it would be impossible to find a jury of Americans who aren’t aware of the Boston Marathon bombing and Tsarnaev’s actions. 

‘It is a case with a massive volume of “largely factual” local and nationwide pre-trial coverage to which virtually every engaged U.S. citizen was exposed,’ the brief reads.

The brief added that the jury should not have changed its decision because it ‘carefully considered each of respondent’s crimes and determined that capital punishment was warranted for the horrors that he personally inflicted — setting down a shrapnel bomb in a crowd and detonating it, killing a child and a promising young student, and consigning several others “to a lifetime of unimaginable suffering.”‘

During his trial lawyers for Tsarnaev (pictured) argued that his older brother Tamerlan Tsarnaev was the mastermind behind the bombing

Tamerlan Tsarnaev (pictured), 26, was killed in a shootout with police days after the terrorist attack

During his trial lawyers for Tsarnaev (left) argued that his older brother Tamerlan Tsarnaev (right) was the mastermind behind the bombing. Tamerlan, 26, was killed in a shootout with police days after the attack 

Runners watch as a bomb explodes by the finish line of the Boston Marathon on April 15, 2013

Runners watch as a bomb explodes by the finish line of the Boston Marathon on April 15, 2013

Debris is seen strewn across the road in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombing

Debris is seen strewn across the road in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombing

The appeals court also ruled the judge unfairly excluded evidence implicating Tamerlan – who the defense had described as the mastermind behind the attack.

However, the DoJ’s brief states that Tsarnaev ‘never offered a single piece of evidence to suggest that he attempted to get out from under his brother’s purported influence or felt apprehension about his crimes’. Instead, the jury was presented with evidence ‘showing just the opposite.’

It cites Tsarnaev’s detonation of his own bomb when separated from his brother, his casual shopping venture while holding local resident Dun Meng hostage in his car and his attacks on officers after they tracked him down in the Boston suburb of Watertown.

Lastly, the brief states, ‘when hiding alone in the boat, believing that Tamerlan had died, respondent wrote that he was “jealous” of Tamerlan’s martyrdom, that he hoped for his own martyrdom, and that his terrorist actions were justified because of perceived wrongdoing by the American government.’

Tamerlan, 26, died following a gunfight with police and being run over by his brother as he fled.

Police captured a bloodied and wounded Dzhokhar Tsarnaev hours later in Watertown, where he was hiding in a boat parked in a backyard.

The Supreme Court won't hear Tsarnaev's case until the fall (file photo)

The Supreme Court won’t hear Tsarnaev’s case until the fall (file photo)

In this May 15, 2015 courtroom sketch, Tsarnaev (center) stands with his defense attorneys at the Moakley Federal court house in the penalty phase of his trial in Boston

In this May 15, 2015 courtroom sketch, Tsarnaev (center) stands with his defense attorneys at the Moakley Federal court house in the penalty phase of his trial in Boston

The Justice Department filed its appeal to reinstate Tsarnaev’s death sentence in October, with then-Attorney General William Barr vowing: ‘We will do whatever’s necessary.’

The government argued that the high court needed to intervene because retrying the penalty phase of the trial would force victims of the attack to take the stand a second time.

The three people killed by the bombs were eight-year-old Martin Richard, 23-year-old Chinese exchange student Lingzi Lu, and 29-year-old restaurant manager Krystle Campbell.

Sean Collier, a 26-year-old campus police officer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, was also fatally shot in his patrol car during a manhunt for the Tsarnaev brothers three days after the bombing.

In January, Tsarnaev sued the federal government for $250,000 over his treatment at the supermax prison in Colorado dubbed the ‘Alcatraz of the Rockies’ – because officials took away his baseball cap.

Tsarnaev is serving multiple life sentences at the Colorado supermax prison, dubbed the 'Alcatraz of the Rockies'

Tsarnaev is serving multiple life sentences at the Colorado supermax prison, dubbed the ‘Alcatraz of the Rockies’

In his lawsuit, Tsarnaev complained that his white baseball cap and bandanna had been confiscated by prison staff for being disrespectful. The convicted terrorist infamously wore a white Polo hat on the day of the bombings in 2013 (circled)

In his lawsuit, Tsarnaev complained that his white baseball cap and bandanna had been confiscated by prison staff for being disrespectful. The convicted terrorist infamously wore a white Polo hat on the day of the bombings in 2013 (circled) 

In his eight-page, handwritten lawsuit, the convicted terrorist decried the confiscation of his white cap and bandanna, after guards allegedly deemed them disrespectful to victims.

Tsarnaev infamously wore a white Polo hat while standing on the sidelines of the Boston Marathon before he carried out the deadly pressure-cooker bombings.

He alleged in his complaint that his treatment at the hands of ‘unlawful, unreasonable and discriminatory’ prison staff was contributing to his mental and physical decline.

The 27-year-old also complained that he is only allowed to take three showers a week at the Federal Correctional Complex Florence.

Earlier this month Tsarnaev revised that lawsuit and asked for leniency from incoming US Attorney General Merrick Garland – just days after it was revealed that he is in line to get $1,400 stimulus check.

In the revised 20-page lawsuit, Tsarnaev claimed that his constitutional rights are being violated and Garland needs to make it stop, according to the Boston Herald.



Source link

Related Articles

Back to top button