Supreme Court Agrees to Review Boston Marathon Bomber Death Penalty Case



Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the infamous 2013 bomber, might be facing the death penalty.

Tomas Sanchez Jurado, Reporter

On Monday, March 22nd the Supreme Court of the United States agreed to hear a lower court appeal that prevented the death sentence of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, one of the infamous 2013 Boston Marathon bombers who killed 3 spectators and injured hundreds. The Supreme Court took the case without comment and the justices will likely hear arguments in the fall.

The Trump administration had asked the Supreme Court to intervene. They argued that the bombs “caused devastating injuries that left the street with a ravaged, combat-zone look” with “blood and body parts everywhere, littered among BBs, nails, metal scraps and glass fragments.” In response the court agreed to hear the appeal.

The case comes after a federal appeals court decision to deny a death sentence for Tsarnaev. The appeals court avoided the death penalty with directions to hold a new penalty-phase trial but warned: “make no mistake [Tsarnaev] will spend his remaining days locked up in prison.”

A federal appeals court said that Tsarnaev will remain in prison for the rest of his life for “unspeakably brutal acts,” but that he should be given a new penalty-phase trial, citing jury selection issues and a failure to properly screen jurors for bias.

If the justices overturn the appeals court, Tsarnaev’s death sentence could be reinstated. If they do not, he would nevertheless serve multiple life sentences in prison.

Even if the court reinstates the death penalty it’s unclear whether Tsarnaev will be put to death given the Biden’s administration opposition to the death penalty. “President Biden made clear, as he did on the campaign trail, that he 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. He’s also expressed his horror at the events of that day and … Tsarnaev’s actions,”said White House press secretary Jen Psaki.

Tsarnaev, 27, was convicted of dozens of crimes in the 2013 terror attack that killed three people and received a death sentence in 2015. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 1st Circuit threw out the death sentence last year, finding that the judge in the trial failed to ensure a fair jury after wall-to-wall media coverage of the attack.