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Tuesday, 23 March 2021

Supreme Court agrees to hear the government's appeal to reinstate Boston Bomber's death sentence

 The US Supreme Court on Monday agreed to hear the Justice Department's appeal to reinstate Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's death sentence. 

The appeal filed under the Trump administration, which carried out the executions of 13 federal inmates in its final six months in office, challenged a lower court's decision ordering a new trial over the sentence Tsarnaev should receive for the death penalty-eligible crimes for which he was convicted. 

Three people were killed and more than 260 others were wounded when Tsarnaev and his brother Tamerlan set off two pressure cooker bombs near the finish line of the Boston Marathon in 2013.    

Justices won't hear the appeal until the fall, and it's unclear how the new administration will approach Tsarnaev's case. 

The initial prosecution and decision to seek a death sentence was made by the Obama administration, in which Biden served as vice president.

But Biden has pledged to seek an end to the federal death penalty.

Three people were killed and more than 260 others were wounded when Tsarnaev and his brother Tamerlan set off two pressure cooker bombs near the finish line of the Boston Marathon in 2013

Three people were killed and more than 260 others were wounded when Tsarnaev and his brother Tamerlan set off two pressure cooker bombs near the finish line of the Boston Marathon in 2013

Tsarnaev, 27, was convicted of 30 charges, including conspiracy and use of a weapon of mass destruction, in the 2013 terror attack and was sentenced to death in 2015. 

The US Court of Appeals for the 1st Circuit threw out the death sentence last July, ruling that the judge in Tsarnaev's trial did not adequately screen jurors for potential biases following pervasive media coverage of the attack. 


Defense attorneys had argued that Tsarnaev did not to receive a fair trial because the judge limited their ability to probe potential jurors about how media coverage may have impacted their impartiality.  

The appeals court also ruled the judge unfairly excluded evidence implicating Tamerlan - who the defense had described as the mastermind behind the attack. 

Tamerlan, 26, died following a gunfight with police and being run over by his brother as he fled. 

Police captured a bloodied and wounded Dzhokhar Tsarnaev hours later in the Boston suburb of Watertown, where he was hiding in a boat parked in a backyard. 

During his trial lawyers for Tsarnaev (pictured) argued that his older brother Tamerlan Tsarnaev was the mastermind behind the bombing
Tamerlan Tsarnaev (pictured), 26, was killed in a shootout with police days after the terrorist attack

During his trial lawyers for Tsarnaev (left) argued that his older brother Tamerlan Tsarnaev (right) was the mastermind behind the bombing. Tamerlan, 26, was killed in a shootout with police days after the attack 

Runners watch as a bomb explodes by the finish line of the Boston Marathon on April 15, 2013

Runners watch as a bomb explodes by the finish line of the Boston Marathon on April 15, 2013

Debris is seen strewn across the road in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombing

Debris is seen strewn across the road in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombing

The Justice Department filed its appeal to reinstate the  Tsarnaev's death sentence in October, with then-Attorney General William Barr vowing: 'We will do whatever's necessary.' 

The government argued that the high court needed to intervene because retrying the penalty phase of the trial would force victims of the attack to take the stand a second time.  

The three people killed by the bombs were eight-year-old Martin Richard, 23-year-old Chinese exchange student Lingzi Lu, and 29-year-old restaurant manager Krystle Campbell. 

Sean Collier, a 26-year-old campus police officer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, was also fatally shot in his patrol car during a manhunt for the Tsarnaev brothers three days after the bombing.  

The Supreme Court won't hear Tsarnaev's case until the fall (file photo)

The Supreme Court won't hear Tsarnaev's case until the fall (file photo)

In this May 15, 2015 courtroom sketch, Tsarnaev (center) stands with his defense attorneys at the Moakley Federal court house in the penalty phase of his trial in Boston

In this May 15, 2015 courtroom sketch, Tsarnaev (center) stands with his defense attorneys at the Moakley Federal court house in the penalty phase of his trial in Boston

Trump speaks about Boston bomber death penalty overturning
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In January Tsarnaev sued the federal government for $250,000 over his treatment at the supermax prison in Colorado dubbed the 'Alcatraz of the Rockies' - because officials took away his baseball cap.

In his eight-page, handwritten lawsuit the convicted terrorist decried the confiscation of his white cap and bandanna, after guards allegedly deemed them disrespectful to victims. 

Tsarnaev infamously wore a white Polo hat while standing on the sidelines of the Boston Marathon before he carried out the deadly pressure-cooker bombings. 

He alleged in his complaint that his treatment at the hands of 'unlawful, unreasonable and discriminatory' prison staff was contributing to his mental and physical decline.

The 27-year-old also complained that he is only allowed to take three showers a week at the Federal Correctional Complex Florence. 

Earlier this month Tsarnaev revised that lawsuit and asked for leniency from incoming US Attorney General Merrick Garland - just days after it was revealed that he is in line to get $1,400 stimulus check.  

In the revised 20-page lawsuit, Tsarnaev claimed that his constitutional rights are being violated and Garland needs to make it stop, according to the Boston Herald.  

Tsarnaev is serving multiple life sentences at the Colorado supermax prison, dubbed the 'Alcatraz of the Rockies'

Tsarnaev is serving multiple life sentences at the Colorado supermax prison, dubbed the 'Alcatraz of the Rockies'

In his lawsuit, Tsarnaev complained that his white baseball cap and bandanna had been confiscated by prison staff for being disrespectful. The convicted terrorist infamously wore a white Polo hat on the day of the bombings in 2013 (circled)

In his lawsuit, Tsarnaev complained that his white baseball cap and bandanna had been confiscated by prison staff for being disrespectful. The convicted terrorist infamously wore a white Polo hat on the day of the bombings in 2013 (circled) 

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