Boston Marathon bomber: Supreme Court agrees to consider reinstating death sentence for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev

Circuit Court of Appeals removed sentencing in 2020 over concerns with jury selection process

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is convicted Boston Marathon bomber

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The US Supreme Court has agreed to consider reinstating the death sentence for Boston marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev after it was dismissed last year.

On Monday, the court Supreme Court agreed to hear an appeal that was filed by the Trump administration last year to look again at the decision to take away the death penalty for Tsarnaev, acting as a review of the 1st US Circuit Court of Appeals ruling last year that his trial was tainted.

Tsarnaev, 27, was sentenced to death in 2015 after he was convicted of 30 charges relating to the bombing in 2013 that killed three people, but the verdict was overturned by the court in July 2020 over concerns with the jury selection process.

At the time, the three-judge panel on the court explained the decision by claiming that the judge in Tsarnaev’s 2015 trial did not properly vet members of the jury over what they already knew about the highly publicised case.

Following the decision, the US Justice Department asked the Supreme Court to review the sentencing in October 2020, writing in its petition that Tsarnaev’s case is “one of the most important terrorism prosecutions in our nation’s history.”

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The department claimed that the appeals court should not have ruled that Tsarnaev needed a new trial to determine whether he should receive the death penalty.

In the petition, acting solicitor general Jeffrey Wall alongside other lawyers told the Supreme Court: “Given the profound stakes ... the First Circuit should not have the last word.”

They added that the Supreme Court should “put this landmark case back on track toward its just conclusion”.

Prosecutors asked the court to hear the case by June 2021, when the current term ends, “to avoid further delay in this long-running and critically important prosecution.”

The Associated Press reported at the time that if the Supreme Court justices refused to hear the case, then the prosecutors could have stopped pursuing capital punishment for Tsarnaev and instead agreed to life in prison.

The 27-year-old’s brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, died following a gunfight with police shortly after the bombing, while he was arrested by police and subsequently convicted of the 30 charges against him.

The charges included using and conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction resulting in death and malicious destruction of properties resulting in death. All but a few of the 30 charges were upheld in appeals court.

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Defence attorney David Patton previously called the decision to overturn the death penalty as “straightforward and fair” and added that the prosecutors need to decide “whether to put the victims and Boston through a second trial, or to allow closure to this terrible tragedy by permitting a sentence of life without the possibility of release”.

In August 2020, then US attorney general William Barr told the AP that the department would continue to “pursue the death penalty,” adding: “We will do whatever´s necessary.”

President Joe Biden has vowed to seek an end to the death penalty, raising questions about how his team will handle the previous administration’s appeal. The Independent has contact the White House and Department of Justice for comment on the decision.

The AP reported that Tsarnaev’s case will not be heard until an unspecified date later in the year.

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