Supreme Court Reinstates Tsarnaev's Death Sentence

Conservative majority rules Boston Marathon bomber received a fair trial
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 4, 2022 10:04 AM CST
Supreme Court Reinstates Tsarnaev's Death Sentence
This file photo released April 19, 2013, by the Federal Bureau of Investigation shows Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.   (FBI via AP, File)

(Newser) – The Supreme Court has reinstated the death sentence for convicted Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. The justices, by a 6-3 vote Friday, agreed with the Biden administration's arguments that a federal appeals court was wrong to throw out the sentence of death a jury imposed on Tsarnaev for his role in the bombing that killed three people in 2013, per the AP. The 1st US Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston ruled in 2020 that the trial judge improperly excluded evidence that could have shown Tsarnaev was deeply influenced by his older brother, Tamerlan, and was somehow less responsible for the carnage. The appeals court also faulted the judge for not sufficiently questioning jurors about their exposure to extensive news coverage of the bombing.

  • Majority: “Dzhokhar Tsarnaev committed heinous crimes. The Sixth Amendment nonetheless guaranteed him a fair trial before an impartial jury. He received one,” Justice Clarence Thomas wrote for the majority, made up of the court’s six conservative justices.
  • Dissent: In dissent for the court's three liberal justices, Justice Stephen Breyer wrote, “In my view, the Court of Appeals acted lawfully in holding that the District Court should have allowed Dzhokhar to introduce this evidence.” Breyer has called on the court to reconsider capital punishment. “I have written elsewhere about the problems inherent in a system that allows for the imposition of the death penalty. ... This case provides just one more example of some of those problems,” he wrote.
(Read more Dzhokhar Tsarnaev stories.)

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