Supreme Court reinstates death penalty for Boston Marathon bomber

by mcardinal

Willie R. Tubbs, FISM News


Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has again been scheduled to be put to death for his role in the 2013 bombing that killed three people and maimed or injured scores more.

The Supreme Court voted 6-3 Friday to overturn a federal appellate court ruling that Tsarnaev had been denied a fair trial.

“Dzhokhar Tsarnaev committed heinous crimes,” Justice Clarence Thomas wrote for the majority. “The Sixth Amendment nonetheless guaranteed him a fair trial before an impartial jury. He received one.”

Tsarnaev is unlikely to be executed as President Joe Biden’s Justice Department has placed a moratorium on federal executions.

“[The] President has expressed before that he has deep concerns about whether capital punishment is consistent with the values that are fundamental to our sense of justice and fairness,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said during a press briefing. She later added, “[Biden] believes that Tsarnaev should be punished for responsibility in the murder of three innocent people at the marathon, for wounding dozens of others, and for his role in killing two police officers who were attempting to bring him and his brother to justice.”

The court’s three liberal justices represented the dissenting votes. Justices Stephen Breyer, Elena Kagan, and Sonia Sotomayor wrote that Tsarnaev should have been allowed to introduce evidence that his late brother and coconspirator, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, had committed three “ideologically inspired” murders prior to the 2013 bombing.

Breyer broke from Kagan and Sotomayor to additionally criticize the existence of capital punishment in the United States.

“I have written elsewhere about the problems inherent in a system that allows for the imposition of the death penalty,” Breyer wrote, later adding, “This case provides just one more example of some of those problems.”

Tsarnaev was originally found guilty of 30 crimes, almost all of which had been upheld by the appellate court, so there was never any chance he could have received any sentence lighter than life imprisonment.