WASHINGTON, October 13 (Hfrance.fr) - The judges of the Supreme Court of the United States aret looked into the reinstatement of the death penalty for Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev on Wednesday for his role in the 2013 bombing that killed three people and injured over 260 others.
The court's conservative majority appeared sympathetic during arguments in the case against the Justice Department's challenge to a 2020 lower court ruling that upheld the conviction of Tsarnaev but overturned his death sentence.
The three liberal judges posed tough questions to the government, but it appeared unlikely that a enough of their six Conservative colleagues shared their concerns for Tsarnaev to win and get a new trial to determine whether he should be sentenced to life in prison or to death.
Despite President Joe Biden 's stated goal of eliminating the capi sentencetale at the federal level, h This administration has chosen to carry out the appeal - initially launched by the Department of Justice under its predecessor Donald Trump - of the decision of the 1st United States Court of Appeals based in Boston.
No federal inmate was executed for 17 years before Trump supervised 13 executions during the last six months of his tenure. Biden Attorney General Merrick Garland has since imposed a moratorium on federal executions.
Tsarnaev 's lawyer Ginger Anders focused on the question of whether U.S. District Judge George O 'Toole, who presided over the trial, improperly excluded evidence relating to a 2011 triple murder in Waltham, Massachusetts, linked to Tsarnaev's older brother.
Lawyers for Tsarnaev, who is 28 now and was 19 at the time of the attack, argued that he had played a secondary role in the marathon bombing of his brother Tamerlan, whom they called a "figure of authority " with "violent Islamic extremist beliefs ".
The conservative judges seemed ready to defer to O 'Toole ' s decision to exclude the evidence in part because the precise details of the Tamerlane 's role in the murder has not been established. The main source of evidence, a man named Ibragim Todashev, was killed by an FBI agent when he attacked agents during an interview.
Conservative Judge Samuel Alito has said if evidence of the Waltham murders is admitted, a trial by trial would indeed be required to determine what happened. Alitohas repeatedly called the evidence "inadmissible in a regular trial.
Conservative Judge Neil Gorsuch wondered what would happen if the evidence were admitted, but then it is "impossible to determine who directed the Waltham murders.
Liberal Justice Elena Kagan said Tsarnaev's lawyers were desperate to present mitigating evidence showing that their client was in the grip of his brother.
O 'Toole allowed some evidence on the brothers 'relationship, but stopped before "the evidence of a gruesome and murderous crime that would illustrate the older brother ' s " extraordinary influence "on others, Kagan added.
Liberal fellow judges Stephen Breyer and Sonia Sotomayor seemed to share Kagan's point of view.
Chief Justice John Robertswas the only one of the court's conservatives who indicated that he could side with Tsarnaev on the issue of the Waltham murders. Roberts said it should be easier to admit evidence during proceedings that determine whether someone is on death row than for other reasons.
The 1st Circuit also found that O 'Toole "fell short " in the selection of jurors for potential biases following the ubiquitous media coverage of the bombings . There was little discussion of this issue during Wednesday's oral argument.
Tsarnaev's lawyers said O 's rulings Toole had deprived him of his constitutional right to a fair trial and violated a US law that describes the procedure for imposing the death penalty under federal law.
'END GAME '
Asked by Conservative Judge Amy Coney Barrett what is the government's "endgame " regarding Tsarnaev 's execution in light of Garland ' s moratorium, Deputy Attorney General Eric Feigin said the Biden administration felt the jury returned a "sound verdict and the appeals court was wrong to overturn that verdict.
The Tsarnaev brothers detonated two homemade pressure cooker bombs at the finish line of the marathon on April 15, 2013 and a few days later killed a policeman. Tamerlan Tsarnaev died after a shootout with the police.
Jurors convicted Dzhokhar Tsarnaev on the 30 charges he faced and have determined he deserved to be executed for a bomb he planted that killed 8-year-old Martin Richard and 23-year-old Lingzi Lu, a Chinese exchange student. The manager ofrestaurant Krystle Campbell, 29, was killed by the second bomb. Reporting by Lawrence Hurley in Washington and Nate Raymond in Boston; Edited by Will Dunham and Scott Malone
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