US Supreme Court upholds death sentence of Boston Marathon bomber News
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US Supreme Court upholds death sentence of Boston Marathon bomber

The US Supreme Court Friday upheld the death sentence for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, one of the two brothers responsible for the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing.

Tsarnaev was originally sentenced to death in 2015 for the attack, which killed three people and left hundreds seriously injured. However, in 2020, a three-judge panel of the US Court of Appeals for the First Circuit overturned Tsarnaev’s death sentence and instead held that he should receive life in prison for his 27 convictions. The panel stated that the judge overseeing Tsarnaev’s 2015 trial did not adequately question jurors for bias in the case. The panel also noted that evidence was withheld that indicated that his older brother, Tamerlan, was more to blame for the bombing.

After that ruling, the Trump administration urged the Supreme Court to review the case. Although President Biden is currently working to abolish federal executions and the Department of Justice placed a moratorium on carrying out the death penalty, the Biden administration still pursued the case.

In March 2021, the Supreme Court agreed to hear to the case. The court heard oral arguments in October 2021.

On Friday, the Supreme Court reversed the appellate court’s decision by a six to three vote. The court found that the 100-question juror form used by the district court was enough to narrow down the pool of prospective jurors. The district court subjected the remaining prospective jurors to three weeks of individualized examination and then instructed seated jurors to only make their decision based on the evidence presented at trial.

The Supreme Court also rejected the argument by Tsarnaev that his brother was more to blame, saying the argument was properly rejected by the district court due to the inability to truly know who played what roles. Justice Thomas wrote: “Dzhokhar Tsarnaev committed heinous crimes. The Sixth Amendment nonetheless guaranteed him a fair trial before an impartial jury. He received one.”