Today the Supreme Court agreed to hear a case from the Department of Justice to reinstate the death penalty for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the 2013 Boston Marathon bomber. The high court’s next term begins in October and continues until late June or early July.

The pressure cooker bombs Tsarnaev set with his brother killed three people and injured hundreds of others, including 17 people who lost limbs. He was found guilty on 30 charges and sentenced to death in 2015,
and is being held in federal prison in Florence, Colorado.

However, in July 2020, a federal appeals court threw out the death sentence saying the judge who oversaw the case didn’t adequately screen jurors for potential biases.

The mother of Krystle Campbell, one of the victims in the attack, was outraged by the court’s decision at the time.

“I just don’t understand it,” Patricia Campbell told The Boston Globe. “It’s just terrible that he’s allowed to live his life. It’s unfair. He didn’t wake up one morning and decide to do what he did. He planned it out. He did a vicious, ugly thing.”

But in 2020, we had a different president, and a different justice department.

In October 2020, the Trump administration asked the Supreme Court to step in, arguing the bombs “caused devastating injuries that left the street with a ravaged, combat-zone look” with “blood and body parts everywhere, littered among BB’s, nails, metal scraps and glass fragments.”

Former Attorney General Bill Barr vowed “We will do whatever’s necessary. We will take it up to the Supreme Court and we will continue to pursue the death penalty.”

Then-acting Solicitor General Jeff Wall urged the justices to take up the case this term, arguing the “victims, the potential jurors, the district court, the government and the nation” should not have to bear the burdens associated with having to reinstate the capital sentence.

Even if Tsarnaev’s death penalty is reinstated, he might still not actually be put to death, given the current administration’s opposition to the federal death penalty. But first it has to be ruled on by the Supreme Court.

Tsarnaev is keeping the court system busy.

In January of this year, he sued the federal government for $250,000 over his treatment in prison.

In a handwritten suit, the 26-year-old called his treatment “unlawful, unreasonable and discriminatory.” In his complaint, he cited the confiscation of a white baseball cap and bandana that he bought at the prison commissary and a limit of three showers per week as contributing to his “mental and physical decline.”

Yeah, those 17 people who lost limbs in his bombing attack probably also experienced some “mental and physical decline.”

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