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Supreme Court considers reinstating death sentences for Boston Marathon bomber

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Washington – The Supreme Court will meet on Wednesday to hear arguments in a legal dispute over the fate of Boston Marathon suicide bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, whose death sentences were overturned by a lower court last year.

The Biden administration calls on the High Court to restore the death sentences Tsarnaev, today 28, received for his actions in the deadly attacks that took place eight years ago, and judges are expected to hear arguments within days after the participants crossed the finish line at the 125th Marathon Race, held on Monday.

“At the most basic level, [Tsarnaev] made the choice to carry out a terrorist attack against children and other innocent spectators during the marathon, and the jury held him accountable for that choice, “Acting Solicitor General Brian Fletcher told the Supreme Court in a dossier last month regarding the bombing.

Tsarnaev was convicted in 2015 for his role in the attack on the Boston Marathon in 2013, which left three people dead and more than 260 injured. While Tsarnaev’s lawyers admitted that he and his older brother, Tamerlan, detonated the two homemade devices near the finish line of the race, they described Tamerlan Tsarnaev as the mastermind behind the attack and made argue that the young Tsarnaev had acted under the influence of his brother.

The two brothers attempted to flee the state in the aftermath of the bombing, triggering a four-day manhunt that locked Boston and the surrounding area on lockdown. Tsarnaev was eventually arrested by police after he was found hiding in a boat behind a house in Watertown, Massachusetts, but Tamerlan Tsarnaev died in a shootout with police as they pursued the couple.

Tsarnaev was indicted by a federal grand jury with 30 counts, including three counts of using a weapon of mass destruction resulting in death. He was convicted of all offenses, and the jury recommended, and the district court imposed, the death penalty on six of the 17 charges.

Tsarnaev appealed and the 1st United States Court of Appeals upheld almost all of his convictions except for three. Yet the Boston-based court also overturned his death sentences and ordered a new sentencing process.

The 1st Circuit ruled that the district judge who oversaw Tsarnaev’s trial abused his discretion by rejecting requests to ask potential jurors specific questions about pre-trial media coverage that they might have seen or read on the Tsarnaev case.

The lower court also found that the district court erred during the sanction phase of the trial in excluding evidence that Tamerlan Tsarnaev was allegedly involved in a triple murder two years before the Boston Marathon bombing – at the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. – which would have reinforced the central theory of Tsarnaev’s lawyers that he acted under the influence of his older brothers.

“The evidence therefore powerfully supported Dzhokhar’s claim that Tamerlane exerted a powerful influence on him and played the leading role in the bombings,” Ginger Anders, Tsarnaev’s lawyer, told the court. supreme in a folder. “This is precisely the kind of evidence a death sentence jury must consider if it is to fulfill its constitutional responsibility.”

The Trump administration has asked the Supreme Court to appeal the 1st Circuit ruling, arguing that a new sentencing process would place a significant burden on victims of the 2013 bombing. President Biden’s Justice has not changed its position in the case, despite Mr. Biden’s opposition to the death penalty, and the high court said in march he would hear the appeal of the Department of Justice.

In his dossier to the judges, Fletcher said that the evidence for Tamerlane Tsarnaev’s alleged role in the previous murders “had little or no bearing on [Dzhokhar’s] own guilt for the Boston Marathon bombing. “

The jury’s penalty verdict, Fletcher wrote, reflects the “simple and fundamental point” that, regardless of the earlier alleged crimes committed by his older brother, Tsarnaev’s “deliberate decision to bomb the Boston Marathon justified the death penalty because that his own personal acts were horrific, inexcusable, and the product of his own adherence to terrorist ideology – as described in his personal boat manifesto. “

A Supreme Court decision is expected by summer 2022.

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