Supreme Court Restores Death Sentence for Boston Marathon Bomber

(FBI via AP, File)

On Friday, the Supreme Court reinstated the death sentence for Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who was convicted in the 2013 terrorist attack that killed three people and injured 260, many of them severely.

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A lower court had upheld Tsarnaev’s conviction but the appeals court ruled his death sentence should be overturned because the trial judge had not “questioned jurors closely enough about their exposure to pretrial publicity and had excluded evidence concerning Tamerlan Tsarnaev,” Dzhokar’s brother, according to the New York Times:

There was no dispute about Mr. Tsarnaev’s guilt, Judge O. Rogeriee Thompson wrote for the appeals court panel. But, she added, “a core promise of our criminal justice system is that even the very worst among us deserves to be fairly tried and lawfully punished.”

“Just to be crystal clear,” Judge Thompson wrote, “Dzhokhar will remain confined to prison for the rest of his life, with the only question remaining being whether the government will end his life by executing him.”

Judge Thompson wrote that the trial judge should not have excluded evidence that Tamerlan Tsarnaev had been involved in a triple murder in 2011, which could have bolstered an argument from defense lawyers that he had dominated and intimidated his younger brother.

In 2013, an associate of Tamerlan Tsarnaev, Ibragim Todashev, admitted to the FBI that he and Tamerlan had robbed some drug dealers in Waltham, Mass., and that Tsarnaev had slit their throats. As Todashev was writing down his confession he attacked the FBI agents questioning him and was shot to death.

Justice Thomas rejected the idea that evidence from the Waltham slayings was relevant to Dzhokhar’s case.

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Boston Globe:

In his opinion, Justice Thomas was unmoved by the Waltham evidence, which the defense wanted to cite at trial as evidence that Tsarnaev was under the sway of his domineering, violent older brother when he agreed to go along with the bombings.

Thomas said the trial judge’s decision to exclude the Waltham evidence was reasonable.

“Dzhokhar sought to divert the sentencing jury’s attention to a triple homicide that Tamerlan allegedly committed years prior, though there was no allegation that Dzhokhar had any role in that crime,” Thomas wrote. “Nor was there any way to confirm or verify the relevant facts, since all of the parties involved were dead.”

Terrorists around the world are dismissive of American “justice.” They see it as evidence of a weak, decaying society. There’s plenty of evidence for that now that it appears the 9/11 mastermind and other terrorists who planned that attack will die of old age before seeing justice done.

The execution of Dzhoknhar Tsarnaev won’t change that. And that’s an even more preventable tragedy than the bombing itself.

 

 

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