WASHINGTON – A divided Supreme Court looked set to allow the death penalty to be reintroduced on Wednesday Boston Marathon Bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev After a federal appeals court quashed it.
Most of the judges suggested that they did not agree with the defense’s claims that the trial judge had unreasonably restricted the interrogation of potential jurors or that it was wrong to exclude evidence of a different crime two years before the bombing.
Tsarnaev was convicted Joining Your Big Brother, Tamerlan, in planting two pressure-cooker bombs near the marathon finish line in 2013 Three people died and hundreds were injured, many of whom were seriously injured.. At a separate stage of the trial, the jury recommended the death penalty for the two men killed by the bomb they had placed.
But the three-judge panel US Court of Appeals for the 1st Circuit Last year ordered a new sentencing hearing. It ruled unanimously that the trial judge had failed to allow sufficient questioning from potential jurors about how closely they followed widespread news coverage of the bombings.
The appeals court also said that the judge should have allowed Tsarnaev’s lawyers to appear A 2011 triple murder in a Boston suburb What investigators suspected about Waltham was done by Tamerlan. The defense wanted to use this to show that the younger Tsarnaev was dominated by his violent older brother, and was therefore less responsible for the bombings due to Tamerlan’s influence.
Tsarnaev’s lawyers did not deny his role in the Marathon bombing, but said he was easily manipulated by his brother, a man they called the mastermind.
Although Attorney General Merrick Garland has ordered ban on hanging In the federal system, the Justice Department under President Joe Biden is still taking the same position it did under the Trump administration, defense of the death penalty For Tsarnaev.
During Wednesday’s 90-minute court debate, some judges appear to be concerned about the judge’s limit to questioning jurors. But some suggested that they believed it was wrong to block evidence of the Waltham murder.
“The court gave evidence on Tamerlan attacking the people because it showed what kind of person he was, and yet kept the evidence that he led a crime that resulted in three murders?” asked Justice Elena Kagan. “The court refused to allow evidence of a gruesome crime.”
And Justice Stephen Breuer said the evidence was central to the arguments of Tsarnaev’s lawyers during the sentencing phase. “It was his defense,” he said. “They agreed that he was guilty.”
But Justice Department attorney Eric Feigin said the evidence for who killed Waltham was unreliable. By the time of the trial, Tamerlan and another man suspected of being at the scene were both dead. “The investigation had reached the end of the road. There was no way of knowing what happened,” he said.
Chief Justice John Roberts seemed to agree. “It will focus the jury on what the judge has concluded that cannot be resolved,” he said.
Justice Samuel Alito said admitting the evidence would complicate the sentencing phase. “You’ll have another test within a test about what happened,” Alito said.
Feigin also said that allowing evidence of an older brother’s involvement in a different crime with a different accomplice, in an apparent attempt to get the money, could be confusing and distracting to the jury.
The government has also argued that ordering a new sentencing trial would further upset the Boston community, saying “the victims will once again have to take the stand to describe the horrors” that Tsarnaev told them. Had given.
Republican, Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker, said he supported the government’s effort to reverse the lower court’s decision. “I said a long time ago that I thought Tsarnaev should face the death penalty. So I agree with the Biden administration on that,” he said.
Many survivors of the bomb also support the death penalty for Tsarnaev. Mark Fucarile, who lost his right leg in the bombings, said of the death penalty, “It’s there, and his actions require it.”
But Bill and Denise Richard, whose 8-year-old son was killed in the bombings, said they have a different view, despite the heinousness and brutality of the crime. In a 2015 paper published in the Boston Globe, he wrote, “May the continued search for that punishment bring years of appeal and relive the most painful day of our lives.”
If the court rules for the Department of Justice, Tsarnaev will remain on the death row at Supermax Prison in Colorado. If it were to rule for Tsarnaev, the Biden administration would have to decide whether to seek a retrial to seek the death penalty or his life sentence in prison in a non-capital sense.
Either way, he will never get out, a point noted by the appeals court. Judge O’Rosary Thompson wrote, “Make no mistake: Djokhar will spend the remainder of his days in prison, with the only case remaining is whether he will die by hanging.”