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Attorney General Authorizes Death Penalty Request for Boston Marathon Bomber

Terrorist Faces Death Penalty

Attorney General Eric Holder has authorized the Department of Justice to seek the death penalty in the case against Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. You may recall that Tsarnaev and his brother are alleged to be the terrorists that set the bombs during the Boston Marathon. Three people were murdered and 250 more were injured in the bombing.

Although Massachusetts has not had a death penalty for several decades, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is charged with 30 federal crimes rather than state crimes. Some people don’t understand that there is still a death penalty for certain federal crimes regardless of whether those crimes are committed in states that don’t themselves have a death penalty.

Because the government is asking for the death penalty does not mean that a judge must impose it. Further, it would not be uncommon during plea negotiations, for the government to take the death penalty off the table in exchange for a guilty plea and a life sentence. Overall, death penalty requests, even on the federal level, have been declining in the U. S. for decades.

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