Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker is backing the Department of Justice and President Joe Biden as they seek to reinstate the death penalty for Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.
This week, the Department of Justice encouraged the Supreme Court to reinstate the death penalty for Tsarnaev, calling it "one of the worst” acts of terrorism in the US since the Sept. 11 bombings.
Though Biden has publicly opposed capital punishment, his administration threw its support behind the DOJ, which filed a 48-page brief to overturn a previous decision from a lower court that vacated Tsarnaev’s death sentence.
Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker threw his support toward the Biden administration in calling for the Supreme Court to rule in favor of reinstating Tsarnaev’s original sentence.
“I said a long time ago that I thought Tsarnaev should face the death penalty, so I would agree with the Biden administration on that one,” he said this week at a press conference.
Tsarnaev was convicted of plotting the 2013 bombing along with his older brother at the finish line of the Boston Marathon, killing three and wounding more than 260 others.
The brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, was killed in a shootout with police three days later while they attempted to evade arrest.
“Respondent never offered a single piece of evidence to suggest that he attempted to get out from under his brother's purported influence or felt apprehension about his crimes," the DOJ said in the filing. "The jury instead saw compelling evidence — including video evidence — showing just the opposite.
“The court of appeals improperly vacated the capital sentences recommended by the jury in one of the most important terrorism prosecutions in our nation’s history," the DOJ noted. "This court should reverse the decision below and put this case back on track toward a just conclusion."
The case was first filed during former President Donald Trump’s administration, which resumed capital punishment after a near two-decade pause, though it carried over into Biden’s term.
The Supreme Court said in March it would decide whether the death penalty can be reinstated for Tsarnaev. The court will likely hear the case in beginning next fall, with a decision possible by next summer.
Tsarnaev, now 27, was given 20 life sentences in addition to the death penalty and will spend life in prison regardless of the Supreme Court's decision on reinstating the death penalty.
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