Boston bomber Tsarnaev’s death sentence appeal to be heard by Supreme Court

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The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday agreed to hear the federal government's bid to reinstate Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's death sentence for helping carry out the 2013 attack that killed three people and wounded more than 260 others.

In Barr's final days as attorney general, the government began federal executions for the first time in decades, executing 13 inmates in his last six months in office.

While prosecution under former President Barack Obama chose to seek a death sentence, President Joe Biden publicly committed to ending capital punishment in the US during his initial run for the 2020 Democrat presidential nomination.

The case won't be heard until the springtime (NZ), and it's unclear how the new administration will approach Tsarnaev's case.

The appeals panel said the judge who presided over Tsarnaev's trial had rejected the defense team's request for a more distant trial venue, where prospective jurors might be less likely to be biased against Tsarnaev.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters Biden "has grave concerns about whether capital punishment as now implemented is consistent with the values that are fundamental to our sense of justice and fairness", and "has also expressed his horror at the events of that day and Tsarnaev's actions".

Tsarnaev, now 27 years old, and his older brother, Tamerlan, precipitated five days of panic in Boston when they detonated two homemade pressure-cooker bombs at the marathon's finish line on April 15, 2013, and then tried to flee the city.

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On the run, the two also killed a policeman.

The 2013 bombing, which Tsarnaev carried out with his brother Tamerlan, killed three people and injured 264 others. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is in federal prison in Colorado.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit in July held that Judge George O'Toole of the U.S. District Court in MA did not properly vet whether Tsarnaev's jury - which sat less than 20 miles away from the site where the bombs went off - was tainted by pre-trial news reporting about the case. Restaurant manager Krystle Campbell, 29, was also killed.

The case was appealed on issues of alleged trial irregularities including in the jury.

According to Thompson, the trial court's error stemmed from the voir dire questions asked of the potential jurors, by not having them elaborate on what they already knew about the case.

Prosecutors said that if the ruling stands, it would have to retry the death penalty phase of the case and "victims will have to once again take the stand to describe the horrors that respondent inflicted on them".

The Justice Department moved quickly to appeal, asking the Supreme Court to hear and decide the case by the end of its current term, in early summer. The appeals court upheld all but a few of his convictions.

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