The Supreme Court announced it would consider reinstating “Boston Bomber” Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s death sentence on Monday.
Supreme Court Justices agreed to hear a Trump administration appeal regarding the execution of “Boston Bomber” Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. While prosecution under former President Barack Obama decided to seek a death sentence, President Joe Biden publicly committed to ending capital punishment in the U.S. during his initial run for the 2020 Democrat presidential nomination.
“Over 160 individuals who’ve been sentenced to death in this country since 1973 have later been exonerated,” Biden’s justice reform plan said at the time. “Because we cannot ensure we get death penalty cases right every time, Biden will work to pass legislation to eliminate the death penalty at the federal level, and incentivize states to follow the federal government’s example.”
White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters 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,” and “has also expressed his horror at the events of that day and Tsarnaev’s actions.” She did not, however, specify how the President would handle the matter.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was convicted of 30 charges related to the bombing of the 2013 Boston Marathon. 17 of those charges, including conspiracy, use of a weapon of mass destruction, and the killing of a Massachusetts Institute of Technology police officer during their escape, carry a death sentence. While Tsarnaev’s defense admits to his involvement in the attack, they argued Tsarnaev’s older brother — killed during their escape — was the primary force behind it.
Tsarnaev’s death sentence was thrown out by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, asserting the judge presiding over his case did not adequately ensure an unbiased jury. At the time, the Boston-based court assured the public Tsarnaev “will spend his remaining days locked up in prison,” and that the “only matter remaining [was] whether he will die by execution.”
Trump’s Justice Department quickly appealed the decision, and former Attorney General William Barr committed to do “whatever’s necessary” to uphold the sentence.
The case is United States v. Tsarnaev, No. 20-443 in the U.S. Supreme Court.