Supreme Court agrees to hear case over death penalty for Boston Marathon bomber

Another way of saying that is he wasn’t spared because a jury of his peers looked at his crimes and decided they didn’t merit death, he was spared because the judge failed to create a situation where the defendant could get a fair jury of his peers for the sentencing phase.

If we’re dealing with the death penalty, the question that comes up is what make such a jury unbiased? Would jurors be excluded if they are morally opposed to the death penalty?

I also think I am still opposed to the death penalty. However, my view is apparently not the majority in this country and things look dire for Mr. Tsarnaev.

I wonder if he has any regrets for what he’s done? As a result of his actions his brother is dead and he will never be free ever again.

Indeed.

I would submit that such a punishment is far more inhumane and cruel than the death penalty.

I understand the standard is “Can you vote for the death penalty under some circumstances?”

May not be considered “unusual punishment”, but it certainly strikes me as cruel.

I personally could, but it would be at a higher standard. The defendant would have to be shown to be guilty beyond a shadow of a doubt before I could vote in favor of the death penalty.

So what was “biased” about his jury?

In fact, they are.

Potential jurors in death penalty cases must be “death qualified,” meaning they are able to consider imposing the death penalty as a punishment. In the court where I worked, after potential jurors are time-qualified (meaning they can sit and hear the case for its anticipated duration without hardship due to lost wages, etc.), this is done before any other voir dire takes place.

I would not personally qualify to sit on a death penalty case.

The first sentence gives a summary of why the sentence was reversed.

https://www.americanbar.org/groups/committees/death_penalty_representation/project_press/2020/fall-2020/tsarnaev-death-sentence-reversed/

Whatever that means.

Anyone who ever voted to execute someone was sure beyond a shadow of a doubt of guilt.

Reasonable doubt.

The point isn’t that the jury was biased, it’s that they didn’t take enough care to ensure the jury wasn’t biased. There’s no way to know if there was a bias after the fact, so in the service of justice they took the most conservative course of action, to void the death penalty.

The exclusion of relevant mitigating evidence is more straightforward.

Maybe they felt that, but obviously many of them were incorrect given the many cases of people on death row who were subsequently shown to be innocent. The usual standard of proof is beyond a reasonable doubt. I think this is insufficient for a death penalty case. The jury instructions should be such that there is incontrovertible proof of guilt. Things like being caught red handed plus video evidence plus multiple eyewitnesses plus forensic evidence like fingerprints and DNA, plus electronic records as appropriate to the case such as credit card transactions, GPS location on a cell phone, etc. All of these should be present and incontrovertible. Here’s a few cases I picked out at random from the wikipedia article on exonerated death row inmates.

This case featured exculpatory evidence withheld by the prosecution and conflicting eyewitness testimony with some of the witnesses changing their stories.

Witnesses reported seeing the defendant with the victim, but no reports of direct observation of the crime. DNA evidence also subsequently showed the defendant not to be the offender.

There was no physical evidence or motive. Conviction was based on testimony from one person who was subsequently found to have been the murderer.

I wasn’t on any of those juries, but if those jurors honestly felt that those convicted were guilty beyond a shadow of a doubt, then that phrase doesn’t mean what I think it means.

Why haven’t a few hundred more convicts tried that?

That is my point, and why I don’t like the death penalty.

What makes you think they haven’t? As far as I can tell it comes up very frequently in death penalty appeals. High profile death penalty cases tend to have a significant amount of attention and review that might not happen for lower profile cases.

Indeed and it is why many defense attorneys secretly but not consciously hope their convicted clients get sentenced to death instead of life without parole. You get appointed the best appellate attorneys and special interest groups look at your case. If you are just a regular lifer doing a 23 hour per day lockdown, you are not as interesting because you don’t fit the agenda of some of these groups.

I’m generally in favor of the death penalty, but not how it is carried out in the United States. I mean, we are almost 6 years after the Marathon Bombing and he hasn’t finished his direct appeals yet. It’s a joke. I would be in favor of a special system for capital punishment. A higher standard of guilt. More fact finding at the appellate level and true expediency in the process for those for whom guilt in certain and special circumstances exist.

Hell, look at Scott Peterson. It took 16 YEARS for his FIRST appellate review to happen. That is a travesty whether it is death or imprisonment for life. How dysfunctional is a court system that takes 16 years to take a first look at a trial court? That’s not fair to the defendant, the state, or the victims.

“The Trump administration asked the Supreme Court to step in and reinstate the original sentence, a request that the Biden administration renewed

I am surprised the Biden administration is pro death penalty here.