Don’t misunderstand me based on the headline — I’d be first in line to push the plunger, flip the switch, or pull the trigger to carry out the death penalty on Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, convicted for the April 2013 bombing of the finish line of the Boston Marathon which killed three people and injured 260 more. I never ran for President on a platform and making campaign promises to abolish the federal death penalty.
Tsarnaev and his brother orchestrated the bombing, with his brother being killed in a shootout with police while they were trying to take him into custody.
Tsarnaev stood trial in federal court in Massachusetts starting in January 2015. The trial ended on April 8, 2015, with Tsarnaev being convicted of all 30 counts charged in the indictment. The jury recommended that he receive the death penalty, and the trial judge agreed.
But a problem developed in the summer of 2020 when the Court of Appeals for the First Circuit reversed Tsarnaev’s death sentence due to problems with the way the district court judge conducted jury selection, specifically with respect to the way “death qualified” jurors were selected. The First Circuit affirmed Tsarnaev’s convictions, but reversed the death sentence and sent the case back to the district court for a new penalty phase trial.
The government appealed the First Circuit’s decision to the Supreme Court, and in March, the Supreme Court agreed to hear the case next term.
Today, the Department of Justice filed its opening brief in its appeal to the Supreme Court. In it, the Biden Administration Solicitor General requested that the Court reverse the judgment of the First Circuit and reinstate the death sentence imposed by the trial court judge.
But according to the Associated Press back on November 21, 2020:
President-elect Joe Biden is against the death penalty and will work to end its use, his spokesman said Saturday, as the Justice Department scheduled three more federal executions during before the Jan. 20 inauguration, including two shortly before he is set to take office.
Biden “opposes the death penalty now and in the future,”
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