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October 6, 2020

Feds officially seek SCOTUS certiorari to review First Circuit's reversal of Boston Marathon bombers death sentence

As reported in this Boston Globe piece, "Federal prosecutors on Tuesday formally filed their request for the US Supreme Court to review an appeals court ruling in July that threw out the death penalty in the case against Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev." Here is more (links from the original):

The 424-page request, known as a writ of certiorari, raises two questions for the high court to consider.

First, it asks whether the District Court should have allowed “evidence that respondent’s older brother was allegedly involved in different crimes two years before the offenses for which respondent was convicted.”

Second, the document asks whether the federal appeals court that overturned Tsarnaev’s death sentence made a mistake in concluding that the District Court should have asked “each prospective juror for a specific accounting of the pretrial media coverage that he or she had read, heard, or seen about respondent’s case.”...

The move by prosecutors comes after the US Court of Appeals for the First Circuit on July 31 issued a 182-page ruling that infuriated some survivors, finding that George A. O’Toole Jr., who presided over Tsarnaev’s high-profile 2015 trial in US District Court in Boston, “did not meet the standard” of fairness while presiding over jury selection....

With their filing Tuesday, prosecutors formally asked the Supreme Court to take up the matter. If the high court, which agrees to hear only a fraction of the cases submitted to the panel for review each year, does review the case, it could affirm the appellate decision or reverse it, reinstating Tsarnaev’s death sentence.  Tsarnaev, now 27, remains incarcerated at a federal supermax prison in Colorado. 

Prior recent related posts:

October 6, 2020 at 06:38 PM | Permalink


Noting for clarity that the request is actually 33 pages long with the balance of the pleading being documents from the proceedings below.

Posted by: John | Oct 6, 2020 10:45:06 PM

Thanks, John, that is an important point. Though I like the reminder of just how much total "ink" is being used as the legal fight continues over whether Tsarnaev is to get LWOP or a death sentence.

Posted by: Doug B. | Oct 7, 2020 9:57:04 AM

The petition does not mention that there is a third ground for reversal of the death sentence: the lies of two seated jurors during voir dire. The First Circuit did not reach this issue but intimated very strongly that it would reverse on this ground, too. So all this petition does is ensure additional litigation.

Posted by: xxox | Oct 7, 2020 2:05:07 PM

It has been clear since the beginning that the brothers didn't do it (the backpacks do not match at all). The Appeals Court was too timid. This was a kangaroo court and a travesty of justice. We can only hope certiorari is denied.

Posted by: restless94110 | Oct 7, 2020 5:10:14 PM

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