Should the Boston bomber be executed?
|Update – 6/24/2015: Judge formally sentences Tsarnaev to death
“‘I am sorry for the lives that I’ve taken, for the suffering that I’ve caused you, and the damage that I’ve done,’ convicted Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev said Tuesday during his formal sentencing.
His apology was the first time Tsarnaev spoke in court since he entered a not guilty plea in July 2013…
Tsarnaev was then formally sentenced to the death penalty.”
“Judge George O’Toole formally sentenced Tsarnaev to death, a decision already made by a federal jury.
‘Whenever your name is mentioned, what will be remembered is the evil you did,’ the judge told him. ‘What will be remembered is you murdered and maimed innocent people.'”
Update – 5/15/2015: Tsarnaev gets the death penalty
“A jury in Boston voted Friday [May 15, 2015] to execute Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, refuting his lawyers’ argument that he was pulled into the plot by his radicalized Muslim older brother and overcoming Massachusetts’ popular opposition to the death penalty.
After he is formally sentenced by a judge, Tsarnaev will likely end up at the U.S. Bureau of Prison’s death row in Terre Haute, Indiana, where he is expected to embark on an appeals process that could last years before he is finally killed by lethal injection. At 21, he will become the youngest person on federal death row.”
Intro: The Apr. 15, 2013 bombing at the Boston Marathon was the deadliest terrorist attack on American soil since Sep. 11, 2001. One of the attackers, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, was killed by police. The other attacker, Tamerlan’s brother Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, was apprehended, tried, and convicted on 30 charges. The jury has entered the sentencing phase, and is deciding whether or not Tsarnaev should get the death penalty for his crimes.
Some people believe that life in prison without parole is a better option than the death penalty because a life sentence costs less than the death penalty or because the death penalty is immoral, among other reasons. Others believe that the death penalty should be used for retribution in this case, and that Dzhokhar’s execution may deter future crimes.
To help people better understand this case and issues surrounding the death penalty in general, we present several pro and con quotes about whether or not Tsarnaev should get the death penalty. We also include a summary of the attack, the trial, and the sentencing phase, along with a list of related links.
Investigators have suggested the Tsarnaevs were motivated by extremist Islamic beliefs but planned and carried out the bombings on their own and were not connected to any terrorist groups. The brothers allegedly used the Internet to learn how to build explosives.”
History.com Staff, “Boston Marathon Bombings,” history.com (accessed Apr. 10, 2015)
Tsarnaev’s defense lawyer admitted his guilt in her opening statement, saying, “It was him.” She went on to assert that his older brother was responsible for planning the attack and building the bombs: “We need to understand who was leading and who was following.”2
The government called 92 witnesses over 15 days. After 11 hours of deliberations, the jury found Tsarnaev guilty of all 30 charges on Apr. 8, 2015. In total, 17 charges for which he was found guilty (such as use of a weapon of mass destruction resulting in death and possession and use of a firearm during a crime of violence) carry the possibility of the death penalty.3
The Sentencing Phase
Process: “US District Judge George A. O’Toole Jr. will hold a second phase of the trial, in which prosecutors and defense lawyers will give opening statements, present witnesses and evidence, and give closing arguments supporting their arguments about what penalty Tsarnaev deserves…
Many of the charges Tsarnaev was convicted of are capital crimes, and US Attorney General Eric Holder filed a Notice of Intent in January 2014 citing what are known as ‘aggravating’ factors that call for the death penalty: They include Tsarnaev’s intentional killing and infliction of injuries, the grave risk of death to more than one person, the substantial planning and premeditation in the crimes, and the ‘heinous, cruel, and depraved manner’ of carrying out the crimes…
First, before determining whether Tsarnaev should be sentenced to death, they must determine that he knowingly committed the acts, and that prosecutors had proven at least one aggravating factor. Then, the jurors can weigh aggravating factors against mitigating factors…
But jurors don’t have to reach consensus on the types of aggravating and mitigating factors. What matters is their vote on the death penalty or life in prison… If a jury is not unanimous in that decision, the judge will hand out a sentence of life imprisonment.”
Milton J. Valencia and Patricia Wen, “After the Conviction of Tsarnaev, What Happens Next?,” Boston Globe, Apr. 8, 2015
Length: “I think it’s more likely going to be measured in weeks as opposed to days.” If the jury votes for the death penalty, Tsarnaev will “still probably not be sentenced to death that day. The sentencing would probably be put off for three to four months while post-trial motions are filed… The post-trial motions may take three to four months… Appeals can take quite a long time. This is a long complicated case. I think you’re talking years.”
David Hoose, JD, as quoted in “The Penalty Phase: What Happens Next In The Tsarnaev Trial,” by Zeninjor Enwemeka, wbur.org, Apr. 8, 2015
Jury Views on Death Penalty
“During the jury selection process, when potential jurors were asked about their views on the death penalty, a striking number of them said they thought life in prison was actually a worse fate for a 21-year-old like Tsarnaev than death.
One of the jurors who will decide Tsarnaev’s fate, a man who works for a municipal water department, said the death penalty can be ‘the easy way out.’
Another juror, a woman who works for a school system down the Cape, said she thought death was a worse punishment. ‘Life in prison is a horrible life,’ she said, ‘but it’s a life.’
Another juror, a telecommunications engineer, said he was on the fence about what was worse.
Still another, a student whose mother came from Iran, said he believed the death penalty can sometimes be merciful.
‘I think it takes away the burden of a person’s soul,’ he said…
[E]very juror who sat on this case had to swear that they were willing to impose the death penalty and could put their moral qualms aside.”
Kevin Cullen, “Are We Going to Kill Dzhokhar Tsarnaev or Not?,” Boston Globe, Apr. 8, 2015
|PRO Death Penalty for Tsarnaev||CON Death Penalty for Tsarnaev|
|NBC News stated the following in its Apr. 8, 2015 article titled “Americans Divided over Death for Boston Bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, Poll Finds,” available at nbcnews.com:
Andrea Cohen, co-host of Boston Herald Drive on Herald Radio, stated the following in her Apr. 9, 2015 opinion column titled “Death Sentence Would Send Strong Message to Enemies,” published on bostonherald.com:
Jonah Goldberg, National Review Senior Editor, stated the following in his article titled “Tsarnaev Deserves the Death Penalty, and So Might Michael Slager,” published Apr. 10, 2015 on nationalreview.com:
Dan Collins, JD, former federal prosecutor, stated the following as quoted by the Associated Press in an Apr. 8, 2015 article titled “Tsarnaev Guilty on All Charges in Boston Marathon Bombing,” available at ap.org:
Liz Norden, mother of two men who each lost a leg in the bombings, stated the following on the program All Things Considered, in a Jan. 30, 2014 transcript titled “The U.S. Will Seek the Death Penalty for Boston Bombing Suspect,” available at npr.org:
Niki Tsongas, US Representative (D-MA), stated the following as quoted by David Scharfenberg in his Apr. 9, 2015 article “Top Lawmakers Oppose Tsarnaev’s Execution,” available at bostonglobe.com:
Charlie Baker, MBA, now Governor of Massachusetts, stated the following as quoted by local news site BostInno in a Jan. 2014 article by Nick DeDulca titled “Leading Mass. Gubernatorial Candidates Make Statements on Tsarnaev Case”:
Kevin Corcoran, a victim of the bombings whose wife lost both of her legs and whose daughter was also injured in the blast, stated the following as quoted by the Boston Globe in its Jan. 4, 2015 article titled “Marathon Bombing Survivors Gird Themselves for Tsarnaev’s Day in Court”:
Ed Davis, Boston Police Commissioner at the time of the bombings, stated the following on the Fox News Channel program Your World With Neil Cavuto, which aired on Apr. 9, 2015:
Jonathan Kay, JD, Managing Editor for Comment at the National Post at the time of the quote, stated the following in his Feb. 1, 2014 article titled “Why Alleged Boston Bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, If Convicted, Deserves to Die,” available at news.nationalpost.com:
|Zeninjor Enwemeka, stated the following in her Mar. 23, 2015 article “WBUR Poll: Most in Boston Think Tsarnaev Should Get Life in Prison over Death Penalty,” available at wbur.org:
James Alan Fox, PhD, Lipman Professor of Criminology, Law, and Public Policy at Northeastern University, stated the following in his Apr. 8, 2015 article titled “Why Tsarnaev Should Not Get the Death Penalty,” published in USA Today:
Bill and Denise Richard, whose son Martin was killed in the bombings, stated the following in their Apr. 16, 2015 article titled “To End the Anguish, Drop the Death Penalty,” published at bostonglobe.com:
Seán P. O’Malley, OFM, Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Boston, et al., stated the following in their Apr. 7, 2015 “A Statement of the Roman Catholic Bishops of Massachusetts on the Death Penalty,” available at www.macatholic.org:
Elizabeth Warren, US Senator (D-MA), stated the following on the program CBS This Morning on Apr. 9, 2015, available at cbsnews.com:
Michael Capuano, US Representative (D-MA), stated the following as quoted by David Scharfenberg in his Apr. 9, 2015 article “Top Lawmakers Oppose Tsarnaev’s Execution,” available at bostonglobe.com:
John Miller, Deputy Commissioner of Intelligence and Counterterrorism for the New York City Police Department, stated the following on CBS This Morning on Apr. 9, 2015, available at cbsnews.com:
The Boston Bar Association stated in a Feb. 25, 2015 news release titled “Statement by BBA President Julia Huston on the Trial of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev,” available at bostonbar.org:
Montgomery J. Granger, a retired U.S. Army Reserve Major who served as a medical officer at a Guantanamo Bay temporary detention facility, stated the following in his Apr. 10, 2015 article “Dzhokhar Tsarnaev: Death is Too Good for Him,” published by The Blaze:
The Los Angeles Times Editorial Board stated the following in its Apr. 9, 2015 article titled “Boston Marathon Bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev Shouldn’t Get Death Penalty,” available at latimes.com:
1. Scott Malone and Elizabeth Barber, “Accused Boston Bomber Followed Brother’s Lead, Defense Argues,” reuters.com, Apr. 6, 2015