Boston: The US Supreme Court announced Monday that it would consider imposing the death penalty for Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, putting President Joe Biden’s commitment to capital punishment to the test early.
According to usanews: The court will hear an appeal by the US Justice Department, filed before US President Donald Trump’s January departure, challenging a lower court’s judgment ordering a new trial to determine the appropriate sentencing for Tsarnaev’s death penalty-eligible crimes.
President Joe Biden’s administration has made no indication that it intends to reverse the Trump administration’s approach to the issue, as it has done in several other court disputes.
Tsarnaev, 27, and his elder brother, Tamerlan, sparked five days of panic in Boston on April 15, 2013. They detonated two homemade pressure-cooker bombs at the marathon’s finish line and then attempted to flee the city. They also murdered a police officer in the following days. Tsarnaev’s brother was killed in a shootout with police.
Tsarnaev was found guilty of all 30 charges he faced in 2015 and eventually sentenced to death for planting a bomb that killed Martin Richard, 8, Chinese exchange student Lingzi Lu, 23, and restaurant manager Krystle Campbell, 29, and injured over 260 others.
The 1st US Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston concluded that the trial judge “failed miserably” in screening jurors for potential bias after widespread press coverage of the bombings.
The Justice Department moved fast to appeal, requesting that the case be heard and decided by the conclusion of the court’s current term, which ends in early June. “We will do whatever is required,” then-Attorney General William Barr stated last year.
The agency contended that the appeals court erroneously denied trial judges the “wide discretion” required by Supreme Court precedents to oversee juries.
Prosecutors stated that if the ruling stands, the case will have to be retried on the death penalty phase, and “victims will have to testify once again about the atrocities perpetrated on them by respondents.”
The judges agreed to hear the Trump administration’s case, which executed 13 federal detainees during its final six months in office.
The case will not be heard until later this year, and it is uncertain how the next administration will handle Tsarnaev’s case. While Biden served as vice president, the Obama administration initiated the prosecution and decision to pursue the death penalty.
However, Biden has stated that as President, he will work to abolish the federal death sentence.
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