Attorney General William Barr said he will go to the Supreme Court to reinstate the death penalty against convicted Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev after an appeals court vacated the death sentence in the case.
“We will do whatever’s necessary,” Barr said in a Thursday interview with the Associated Press. “We will take it up to the Supreme Court, and we will continue to pursue the death penalty.”
In late July, the 1st Circuit Court of Appeals vacated the death sentence for Tsarnaev, the man convicted for the Boston Marathon bombing more than eight years ago. The court ordered a lower-court judge to hold a new trial to determine what penalty Tsarnaev should receive. Tsarnaev’s conviction was not changed in the ruling
Authorities identified Tsarnaev, 27, and his older brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, as the men responsible for one of the worst domestic terrorist incidents since the Sept. 11 attacks, detonating two homemade pressure-cooker bombs near the finish line at the 2013 Boston Marathon. The attack killed three people — UMass Boston alumnus Krystle Campbell, Boston University master’s student Lingzi Lu, and 8-year-old Martin Richard — and wounded several hundred more, including many horrific life-altering injuries and causing 17 people to lose limbs. The brothers also killed an MIT campus police officer, Sean Collier, by shooting him in the head as they attempted to escape.
A five-day manhunt followed the attack, and in a shootout with police, during which the brothers also threw bombs at them, Dzhokhar ran over Tamerlan and killed him. Dzhokhar was later found bleeding and hiding out in a boat in Watertown. He admitted to committing the crimes but claimed his brother was the true radical and had pressured him into it.
Judge Ojetta Rogeriee Thompson, an Obama appointee, said in her ruling that Tsarnaev’s trial “did not meet the standard” of fairness guaranteed by the Constitution. She said Tsarnaev’s new trial with a new jury will be “strictly limited to what penalty Dzhokhar should get on the death-eligible counts.” Tsarnaev is still eligible to receive the death penalty.
Thompson said that the lower-court trial judge erred during the voir dire process under which possible jurors are questioned to ensure they can be impartial.
“By not having the jurors identify what it was they already thought they knew about the case, the judge made it too difficult for himself and the parties to determine both the nature of any taint (e.g., whether the juror knew something prejudicial not to be conceded at trial) and the possible remedies for the taint,” Thompson said. “This was an error of law and so an abuse of discretion.”
In July, Barr directed
the federal government to resume executions, beginning with five men convicted of murdering or raping children and the elderly, marking the first federal executions since 2003. Daniel Lewis Lee, 47, died by lethal injection at the federal prison in Terre Haute, Indiana, on July 14. Lee was a member of a white supremacist group who was convicted for the 1990s murder of a family of three. He was convicted by a jury more than 20 years ago.
Author : Jerry Dunleavy
Source : Washington Examiner : Barr says DOJ will appeal to Supreme Court for death penalty against Boston Marathon bomber