The Washington Times:
A federal appeals court on Friday overturned the death sentence for Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.
The U.S. 1st Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston ordered a lower court to hold a new trial on the issue of what penalty Tsarnaev should receive. It said the trial court did not hold proper juror inquiries about the impact of pretrial publicity.
The appeals court upheld much of his conviction for the 2013 attack, which killed three people and wounded more than 260 others.
Tsarnaev and his older brother, Tamerlan, radical Islamist Jihadists, detonated two homemade bombs near the finish line of the historic race, causing that the court said was “battlefield-like carnage.” They also killed local campus police officer Sean Collier later.
Tamerlan was killed during a shootout with police several days after the bombing.
The First Circuit Court said the trial judge had to ascertain not just the degree but the “kind” of exposure that prospective jurors had to publicity about the case.
“But as to 9 of the 12 seated jurors, the judge fell short on this front,” the court said.
The ruling was written by Judge Ojetta Rogerlee Thompson, an Obama appointee. Judge William Kayatta Jr., also an Obama appointee, concurred in the ruling and Judge Juan Torruella, a Reagan appointee, agreed with the majority’s overall ruling but disagreed with “its handling and tentative conclusion of Tsarnaev’s claim that he could not receive a fair trial by an impartial jury in this venue.”
The judges said that regardless of whether Tsarnaev receives a new death sentence, he will never be released from federal prison. He also was sentenced to 20 life terms, which remain in effect.