Boston Marathon bombing

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev Seeks Stay of Execution

Tsarnaev's attorneys are now asking the U.S. 1st Circuit Court of Appeals to stay his execution and consider four constitutional claims

FBI via AP, File

Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is once again seeking to delay his execution for his role in the bombing that killed three people near the finish line of the marathon in 2013.

The Supreme Court reinstated the death sentence for Tsarnaev last month. The justices, by a 6-3 vote, agreed with the Biden administration’s arguments that a federal appeals court was wrong to throw out the death sentence.

In a court filing Thursday, his attorneys asked the U.S. 1st Circuit Court of Appeals to stay his execution and consider four constitutional claims in his case that were not presented to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The attorneys argue that Tsarnaev was improperly forced to stand trial in Boston, denied his challenges to two jurors who allegedly lied in court, dismissed a juror who opposed the death penalty and that his confession was coerced. Tsarnaev is currently in federal prison in Colorado.

The U.S. 1st Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston ruled in 2020 that the trial judge improperly excluded evidence that could have shown Tsarnaev was deeply influenced by his older brother, Tamerlan, and was somehow less responsible for the carnage. Tamerlan Tsarnaev was killed in an exchange of gunfire with police several days after the explosions.

The appeals court also faulted the judge for not sufficiently questioning jurors about their exposure to extensive news coverage of the bombing.

The prospect that Tsarnaev, now 28, will be executed anytime soon is remote. The Justice Department halted federal executions last summer after the Trump administration carried out 13 executions in its final six months.

President Joe Biden has said he opposes the death penalty, but his administration was put in the position of defending Tsarnaev’s sentence at the Supreme Court.

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