Supreme Court to Reconsider Death Penalty for Boston Marathon Bomber

Supreme Court to Reconsider Death Penalty for Boston Marathon Bomber

( – In 2015, a jury convicted Dzhokhar Tsarnaev of setting off bombs that caused the deaths of three people at the Boston Marathon in 2013, and the death of a police officer days later. In 2020, the 1st US Circuit Court of Appeals vacated his death sentence and said he should spend life in prison. Now, the case is before the Supreme Court.

On Wednesday, October 13, the justices on the high court heard arguments in the case. A lawyer for President Joe Biden’s administration called Tsarnaev a “terrorist” and urged the court to reinstate the death penalty. Defense attorneys argue the justices should keep the life sentence because Tsarnaev was acting at the direction of his violent older brother Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who died in a shoot-out with police.

The defendant’s appeal is based on whether the jury in the original trial should have heard about his brother’s connection to a triple homicide. His lawyers said it would have proven that his brother was the aggressor, but the judge and prosecutors said it would only confuse jurors.

According to the Associated Press, the Supreme Court’s six conservative justices seemed likely to reinstate the death sentence in the case. However, Justice Amy Coney Barrett questioned why the administration was asking to reinstate a punishment President Biden has said he wants to end. She said the defendant would be “living under a death sentence the government doesn’t intend to carry out.”

A decision in the case is expected at the end of the SCOTUS’ term.

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