Boston bomber’s appeal ‘could last a decade’

A court in Boston sentenced Dzhokar Tsarnaev to death, as the Boston Globe reports, “for detonating a bomb amid Boston Marathon spectators that left wounds — emotional and physical — that will persist across lifetimes.”

* Full coverage from the Boston Globe is here.

Among survivors of the attack, there were mixed feelings at the verdict, while some, like the parents of 8-year-old Martin Richard, who died in the blast, had called for a life sentence to avoid the constant reminder of their loss with each new twist in the appeal process.

Amy Davidson at The New Yorker writes

Massachusetts is a liberal place, where the death penalty is unpopular. Historically, it has been unevenly applied in this country, in ways affected by race (particularly the race of the victim), class, region, and blind chance. Its benefits are elusive. To sit on a jury in a capital case, one needs to be “death qualified”—to be willing to kill someone after voting to convict him. If you believe in the death penalty, the verdict form, with all its factors, may look as simple as a road map: How could it but lead to Tsarnaev’s execution? The ways in which death qualification can distort a pool are clear. But then the death penalty twists everything it touches.

At 21, Tsarnaev is to become the youngest inmate on federal death row, and as The Guardian reports, his fate “will take years to reach its conclusion: only three of 340 prisoners sentenced to federal death row have been executed in the last 50 years.”

Though the Justice Department could attempt to fast-track executions in the name of public interest, death penalty experts expect the very quickest timeframe from Friday’s sentence to Tsarnaev actually being put on a gurney and injected with lethal chemicals would be at least 10 years.

Here’s what happens now.

Nicky Woolf at The Guardian writes that 

Tsarnaev’s lawyers are the cream of American death penalty defenders. Clarke, probably the most famous of them all, successfully defended the Unabomber, Ted Kaczynski, from the death penalty, as well as Jared Loughner, the man who shot congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords in Tucson, Arizona.

But this is perhaps the hardest case she has ever tried – partly because the defendant remained such an enigma. There was little opportunity for them to graft a fully cohesive narrative to his actions.

martin(image: Huffington Post)

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