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April 20, 2015

Anyone have predictions for the penalty phase of the Boston Marathon bombing trial?

As highlighted by this new AP article, headlined "Bombing trial enters penalty phase amid life or death debate,"the real legal intrigue surrounding the capital trial of the Boston Marathon bombing is about to begin:

The guilt phase of Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's trial was considered a slam dunk for prosecutors, especially after his lawyers bluntly admitted during opening statements that he participated in the deadly 2013 attack. But the outcome of the next phase of the trial is much more difficult to predict. The same jury must decide whether Tsarnaev, 21, should be put to death or spend the rest of his life in prison. The penalty phase begins Tuesday in U.S. District Court.

Debate over whether Tsarnaev should get the death penalty intensified recently after the parents of Martin Richard, an 8-year-old boy who was killed in the bombings, urged federal authorities to consider taking death off the table in exchange for Tsarnaev spending the rest of his life in prison and giving up his rights to appeal....

A married couple who lost limbs in the attack also asked the U.S. Justice Department not to pursue the death penalty. "If there is anyone who deserves the ultimate punishment, it is the defendant. However, we must overcome the impulse for vengeance," Jessica Kensky and Patrick Downes said in a statement to the Globe Sunday....

Others have said they favor the death penalty for Tsarnaev. Liz Norden, whose two adult sons each lost a leg in the bombings, said nothing short of execution is warranted. "He destroyed so many families that day," she said. "I want the ultimate justice."

Legal experts differ on whether the pleas from victims will persuade the federal government to drop its bid for the death penalty. "If the Justice Department seriously takes into consideration the feelings of the family members in this case, they have every justification to take death off the table," said Robert Dunham, executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center.

But New York Law School professor Robert Blecker said the Justice Department has to consider the larger question of denouncing terrorism. "They'll go forward with it. It will not change the decision. Denunciation is a legitimate purpose," Blecker said....

During the penalty phase, the defense will continue to portray Tsarnaev's brother, Tamerlan, 26, as a domineering follower of radical Islam who convinced his then 19-year-old brother that America had to be punished for its wars in Muslim countries. Tamerlan died four days after the bombings when he was shot during a firefight with police and run over by Dzhokhar during a getaway attempt.

Prosecutors are expected to emphasize the brutality of the bombings by calling more survivors to testify. During the first phase, several survivors testified about devastating injuries, including lost limbs....

If even one juror votes against the death penalty, Tsarnaev will get a life sentence.

April 20, 2015 at 10:47 PM | Permalink


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It's Boston. I have proposed giving New England to Canada, in trade for their Western Provinces. That way everyone could be happier. The Commie rent seekers of New England would feel at home in Commie Canada. The patriotic citizens of the Western Provinces could feel at home in slightly less Commie USA.

The Commie rent seekers will keep the terrorist alive. he will then have a fully immunized license to kill more guards, prisoners, and visitors. As a result, he will have to more closely supervised at greater tax payer expense. On the other hand the buffoon on the bench, who has allowed a ridiculous Broadway style production to break out in his court is looking out for the lawyers. If he gives death, the lawyers will be enriched by $millions in the cottage industry of appeals.

I am guessing LWOP because he is so cute.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Apr 21, 2015 12:31:16 AM

LWOP. But by refusing to engage in any plea negotiations, now the government gets to defend an appeal! And at least as to the venue issue, there appear to be colorable arguments for Tsarnaev.

If the government were wise, it would follow the suggestion of the family of one of the victims, and enter a plea deal now stipulating to an LWOP sentence with an appeal waiver.

Posted by: Todd | Apr 21, 2015 1:25:25 AM

If the prosecutor allows this plea agreement, all injuries suffered at the hand of the terrorist should be compensated by the personal assets of the prosecutor, and the buffoon on the bench allowing the agreement. The self dealt immunity of the prosecution is an abomination of injustice. In formal logic, the future victims of the terrorist have every right to visit violence on this immune lawyer.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Apr 21, 2015 2:06:23 AM


Posted by: Docile Jim Brady @Bend, OR 97702-3212 | Apr 21, 2015 3:18:42 AM

10-2 death.

Posted by: AUSA12 | Apr 21, 2015 11:16:51 AM

Massachusetts passed a referendum to abolish the death penalty in 1984. That was my first election. I know this is a federal prosecution, but I have to believe this Massachusetts jury will not impose impose the death penalty. The sentence will be LWOP

Posted by: Cleveland Attorney | Apr 21, 2015 12:25:14 PM

The jury will vote 10-2 for death; and, as a result, an LWOP sentence will be imposed.

Posted by: Dave from Texas | Apr 21, 2015 2:09:47 PM

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