(Washington, D.C.) — The Supreme Court has reinstated the death sentence for convicted Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.
The justices, by a 6-3 vote Friday, agreed with the Biden administration’s arguments that a federal appeals court was wrong to throw out the sentence of death a jury imposed on Tsarnaev for his role in the bombing that killed three people near the finish line of the marathon in 2013.
The U.S. 1st U.S. In 2020, the Circuit Court of Appeals of Boston ruled against the judge who excluded evidence that might have suggested that Tsarnaev had been deeply influenced and culpable for the murders. Appeal court also criticized the judge for failing to adequately question jurors regarding their exposures to the extensive coverage on the bombing.
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“Dzhokhar Tsarnaev committed heinous crimes. However, the Sixth Amendment guaranteed that he would be tried before an impartial jury. He received one,” Justice Clarence Thomas wrote for the majority, made up of the court’s six conservative justices.
In dissent for the court’s three liberal justices, Justice Stephen Breyer wrote, “In my view, the Court of Appeals acted lawfully in holding that the District Court should have allowed Dzhokhar to introduce this evidence.”
Breyer has asked the court to reconsider capital punishment. “I have written elsewhere about the problems inherent in a system that allows for the imposition of the death penalty … This case provides just one more example of some of those problems,” he wrote.
Tsarnaev’s guilt in the deaths of Lingzi Lu, a 23-year-old Boston University graduate student from China; Krystle Campbell, a 29-year-old restaurant manager from Medford, Massachusetts; and 8-year-old Martin Richard, of Boston, was not at issue, only whether he should be put to death or spend the rest of his life in prison.