Dzhokhar Tsarnaev: Should and Will He Get the Death Penalty?

Any thoughts?

Death is too good for terrorists. They should be kept in isolation without any form of entertainment till they die.

No, he should not get the death penalty.

Will he? Hard to say. It may be difficult for the feds to seat a death-qualified jury in Massachusetts, and even if they do, Oklahoma failed to give it to Terry Nichols, so, who knows?

He should get a trial first, and we should find out what’s what before jumping straight to an opinion like that.

I think that 24 hour solitary confinement, with no time out is appropriate. Also, feed him the worst food obtainable, and project images of his victims on the wall of his cell, continuously.

I disagree. Even if he were tried and convicted, I don’t agree with the imposition of the death penalty in his case, or indeed in almost any case in the modern-day United States. So I am perfectly happy to jump straight to an opinion that answers the question.

Life, no parole. Death is too kind.

To quote Hanover Fiste from Heavy Metal

As terrorism is a Federal crime (even Obama called it terrorism) that makes this guy and any of his associates (when they are found) eligible for the death penalty. The assertion that “(i)t may be difficult for the feds to seat a death-qualified jury in Massachusetts” seems a little naïve when they are selecting jury members from the greater Boston area who will recall seeing their fellow citizens ripped to shreds and I’m sure they’d be more than willing to see him strapped to the gurney.

Life in SuperMax.

I do not support the death penalty, and would not support it in this case. There is no such thing as certainty when you have a prosecution with a vested interest in ensuring this guy goes down for the crime.

However, I don’t have any problem with a terrorist winding up dead. If he got the death penalty, I would have a very hard time working up any outrage over it.

Yes, just as the citizens of Oklahoma did for Nichols, in a state which both has and is willing to use the death penalty. Massachusetts has not executed anyone since 1947, has had no death penalty in law since 1982, and has had no serious effort to reinstate it.

I’m against the death penalty, so I don’t think he should get it.

Will he (assuming he is tried and found guilty)? I’d say odds are in favor, although it’s not given. If I had to bet, I’d probably give the death penalty something like 4:1 odds.

Last I knew, Massachusetts did not have the death penalty. I haven’t followed it since I moved out of Mass. in 1999, but I haven’t heard that it has been reinstated there since then.

Right now I get the sense that his older brother was the one driving the plot and that Dzhokhar alone likely would not have built bombs, carjacked motorists or shot campus police. However, if evidence is presented that he did act coldly and calculatingly and was directly responsible for one or more deaths then my thoughts on a capital sentence may change. If there’s video of him setting a bomb next to a young boy for example, then I’d not be surprised or particularly bothered for him to spend a decade pondering his fate on death row.

Is it not likely that, for this very reason, the defence will ask for and get a change of venue to somewhere else?


Massachusetts law doesn’t apply, because he is being prosecuted under federal law, which does have a death penalty.

In Nichols’ case there was some question about whether he had withdrawn from the conspiracy and also the fact that he was out of state when the attack occurred. The jury deadlocked on sentencing him to death in both the Federal and State trials which forced the judges to have to impose the multiple life terms without parole. Of course Nichols did later confess to his involvement but was spared death by the double jeopardy rule.

In this situation Dzhokhar is an active participant and was witnessed both visually and electronically with the explosives. During the subsequent pursuit he was still an active participant in shooting at the police and also with continuing to use explosives against them. His statement to the carjack victim that they were the bombers and his tweets about involvement will also be used against him and are pretty damning. I think that his claims to his being “brainwashed” by his big brother (similar to Nichols’ claims during his trial about the persuasiveness of McVeigh) will fall on deaf ears.

That does not matter. Terrorism is a Federal crime which means that this is under Federal law not State so the Federal sentencing guidelines supersede the State sentencing.

I’m opposed to the death penalty, but he’s going to get executed. I can’t imagine it working out any other way.

The prosecution should seek the death penalty, if the evidence is strong enough, which at first blush: it is.