US urges court to reimpose Boston bomber’s death sentence

Jun 15, 2021, 7:42 AM | Updated: 3:02 pm

BOSTON (AP) — President Joe Biden’s administration is urging the U.S. Supreme Court to reinstate the death sentence for Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev despite the president’s vocal opposition to capital punishment.

Justice Department lawyers wrote in court documents filed Monday that the Boston-based 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals was wrong when it threw out the 27-year-old’s death sentence last year over concerns about the jury selection process.

Calling Tsarnaev’s case “one of the most important terrorism prosecutions in our Nation’s history,” the solicitor general’s office — which represents the administration before the high court — said the Supreme Court should “put this case back on track toward a just conclusion.”

“The jury carefully considered each of respondent’s crimes and determined that capital punishment was warranted for the horrors that he personally inflicted–setting down a shrapnel bomb in a crowd and detonating it, killing a child and a promising young student, and consigning several others ‘to a lifetime of unimaginable suffering,'” it wrote. “That determination by 12 conscientious jurors deserves respect and reinstatement by this Court.”

White House spokesperson Andrew Bates said in an email that the Justice Department “has independence regarding such decisions.” But Bates said the president “believes the Department should return to its prior practice, and not carry out executions.”

An email seeking comment was sent to a lawyer for Tsarnaev.

Former President Donald Trump’s administration, which carried out the executions of 13 federal inmates in its final six months in office, appealed the July 2020 appeals court ruling to the high court. Then-Attorney General William Barr told The Associated Press last year that the Trump administration would “do whatever’s necessary.”

The initial prosecution and decision to seek a death sentence was made by the Obama administration, in which Biden served as vice president. Biden has pledged to seek an end to the federal death penalty, but he has said nothing about how he plans to do so.

The Supreme Court agreed in March to hear the case. White House press secretary Jen Psaki said at the time that Biden has “grave concerns about whether capital punishment as currently implemented is consistent with the values that are fundamental to our sense of justice and fairness.” She said “he has also expressed his horror at the events of that day and Tsarnaev’s actions.”

The appeals court ordered a new penalty-phase trial to decide whether Tsarnaev should be executed for the attack that killed three people and wounded more than 260 others, finding that the judge who oversaw the case did not adequately screen jurors for potential biases. Observers have been watching whether the Biden administration would stop pursuing the death penalty for Tsarnaev and agree to life in prison.

Tsarnaev’s lawyers acknowledged at the beginning of his trial that he and his older brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, set off the two bombs at the marathon finish line on April 15, 2013. But they argued that Dzhokar Tsarnaev is less culpable than his brother, who they said was the mastermind behind the attack.

Tamerlan Tsarnaev died in a gunbattle with police a few days after the bombing. Dzhokar Tsarnaev is now behind bars at a high-security supermax prison in Florence, Colorado.

Tsarnaev was convicted on 30 charges, including conspiracy and use of a weapon of mass destruction. The 1st Circuit upheld all but a few of his convictions.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Associated Press

Off-duty officer charged with assault at abortion protest

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — A Rhode Island police officer accused of punching a woman at an abortion protest while he was off-duty has now been charged in connection with Friday’s demonstration at the State House. In a Saturday evening news release, state police said Providence patrolman Jeann Lugo, 35, was charged with simple assault and […]
7 hours ago
FILE - Wallace Reid purchases fuel for the vehicle he drives to make a living using ride-share apps...
Associated Press

Greedflation: Is price-gouging helping fuel high inflation?

WASHINGTON (AP) — Furious about surging prices at the gasoline station and the supermarket, many consumers feel they know just where to cast blame: On greedy companies that relentlessly jack up prices and pocket the profits. Responding to that sentiment, the Democratic-led House of Representatives last month passed on a party-line vote — most Democrats […]
7 hours ago
FILE - Wallace Reid purchases fuel for the vehicle he drives to make a living using ride-share apps...
Associated Press

Did corporate greed fuel inflation? It’s not biggest culprit

WASHINGTON (AP) — Furious about surging prices at the gasoline station and the supermarket, many consumers feel they know just where to cast blame: On greedy companies that relentlessly jack up prices and pocket the profits. Responding to that sentiment, the Democratic-led House of Representatives last month passed on a party-line vote — most Democrats […]
7 hours ago
Gabby Giffords, center, the subject of the documentary film "Gabby Giffords Won't Back Down," poses...
Associated Press

Giffords documentary comes as gun debates stay center stage

In the two years documentary filmmakers shadowed former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, the most jarring moment for them was in the kitchen of her Tucson, Arizona, home. As cameras were rolling, she and her husband, Sen. Mark Kelly, nonchalantly opened the freezer. Kelly grabbed a plastic container and revealed it holds the piece of Giffords’ skull […]
7 hours ago
Republican candidate for Illinois governor Richard Irvin speaks with employees during a tour of HM ...
Associated Press

Illinois governor’s race is also battle among billionaires

WAUCONDA, Ill. (AP) — The race to be Illinois’ next governor is also a battle among billionaires, including two whose names won’t appear on Tuesday’s primary ballot. Republican candidates Darren Bailey, who as a state lawmaker fought pandemic measures such as mask mandates, and former prosecutor Richard Irvin, the first Black mayor of Chicago’s largest […]
7 hours ago
Norway's Crown Princess Mette-Marit lights candles during a service in Oslo Cathedral, Oslo, Sunday...
Associated Press

Norway mourns victims of Oslo shooting with memorial service

OSLO, Norway (AP) — Norway’s prime minister and members of the royal family joined mourners at a memorial service in Oslo Cathedral Sunday for the victims of a shooting in the capital’s nightlife district. A gunman opened fire in central Oslo’s bar area early Saturday, killing two people — a man in his 50s and […]
7 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

(Courtesy Condor)...
Condor Airlines

Condor Airlines shows passion for destinations from Sky Harbor with new-look aircraft

Condor Airlines brings passion to each flight and connects people to their dream destinations throughout the world.
...
Arizona Division of Problem Gambling

Arizona Division of Problem Gambling provides exclusion solution for young sports bettors

Sports betting in Arizona opened a new world to young adults, one where putting down money on games was as easy as sending a text message.
...
Carla Berg, MHS, Deputy Director, Public Health Services, Arizona Department of Health Services

ADHS mobile program brings COVID-19 vaccines and boosters to Arizonans

The Arizona Department of Health Services and partner agencies are providing even more widespread availability by making COVID-19 vaccines available in neighborhoods through trusted community partners.
US urges court to reimpose Boston bomber’s death sentence