Despite Biden’s Campaign Opposition, DOJ Asks Supreme Court To Reinstate Boston Bomber Death Penalty

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Michael Ginsberg Congressional Correspondent
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The Department of Justice (DOJ) is urging the Supreme Court to reinstate the death penalty for convicted Boston Bomber Dzokhar Tsarnaev.

The First Circuit Court of Appeals overturned Tsarnaev’s death sentence in 2020, ruling that excessive media attention prevented him from receiving a fair trial. Then-Attorney General William Barr promised to “do whatever’s necessary” to carry out the sentence. (RELATED: These Are Some Of The Heroes Of The Boston Bombing)

Now, despite President Joe Biden’s stated opposition to the death penalty, the DOJ is arguing that it should be allowed to carry out the death sentence. “A prospective juror’s exposure to pretrial publicity does not mean that he or she is unable to decide a case impartially,” government lawyers wrote in a Monday filing. “The fair determination of guilt and punishment for a ubiquitously publicized crime is neither impossible nor the peculiar province of the ignorant.”

“The jury carefully considered each of [Tsarnaev’s] crimes and determined that capital punishment was warranted for the horrors that he personally inflicted,” the government concludes. “That determination by 12 conscientious jurors deserves respect and reinstatement by this Court.”

The DOJ’s continued pursuit of the death penalty for the Boston Marathon bombings contradicts a campaign promise from Biden, who walked back his long-time support of the death penalty during the Democratic primaries.

“Because we can’t ensure that we get these cases right every time, we must eliminate the death penalty,” he said in July 2019.

Vice President Kamala Harris, who opposed DNA testing for a California man on death row, also declared her opposition to the death penalty during the primaries.

Left-wing groups, including the ACLU and Amnesty International, called on Biden to commute all federal death sentences. He has not done so.