BOSTON (AP) — A federal appeals court in Boston will consider whether Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev received a fair trial in the city where the bombs exploded.

Oral arguments before the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals are scheduled for Thursday, according to The Boston Globe.

Tsarnaev was convicted and sentenced to death in 2015 for carrying out the April 15, 2013, attack at the marathon finish line with his older brother Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who was killed by authorities.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev at his sentencing on June 24, 2015. (Sketch credit Jane Rosenberg)

Three people died and more than 260 were wounded.

Tsarnaev’s lawyers argue it was impossible to find a fair jury in Boston because the explosions traumatized the region. They’re trying to get his death sentence overturned.

Prosecutors maintain that an impartial jury was carefully selected. They wrote in a filing in June that exposure to high levels of pretrial publicity does not necessarily render a community unable to convene an impartial jury, otherwise no venue would be acceptable in the most nationally significant cases.

Tsarnaev isn’t expected to attend the hearing. He was convicted of all 30 charges against him, including conspiracy and use of a weapon of mass destruction.

His lawyers admitted at the beginning of his trial that he and his older brother set off the two bombs, but they argued Tsarnaev is less culpable than his brother. They’re challenging the judge’s refusal to allow the defense to introduce evidence tying Tamerlan Tsarnaev to the killings of three people in the Boston suburb of Waltham in 2011.

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Comments (2)
  1. Butch Goodwin says:

    This is a very difficult case. In order to be a fair trial. You have to have an impartial jury. The pool of jurors in the Boston area would never be impartial due to the news saturation. The several days the metropolitan area was on lockdown. It would be hard to answer truthfully as a jury member you had not made up your mind as to a verdict. I don’t know if the verdict would be much changed given the climate of domestic terrorism.

    This was a very heinous crime that is not in question

    What I do think though is that his sentence of death was extreme. I believe the level of security incarceration at ADX Florence, designed for violent career criminals is extremely harsh for Mr.Tsarnaev. One of the things I found disconcerting through my reading of the trial transcripts and reporting was the lack of psychological information. The discounting of the influence his brother had over him. All the statements I read from him did not use the first-person singular. He never used the word “I”. He always referred to his brother first. Unless I missed something this demonstrates his brother’s influence.

    I believe for these reasons an appeals court may rule that his trial may have been unfair. I believe the question of his Miranda rights might be put to the test. I do not believe when he made his initial statements he knew exactly what was going on. I also believe the Judge in the trial, by not allowing the evidence of the murders his brother had done previously as an aspect. However, the outcome of a retrial probably would have the same result no matter the jurisdiction. I am not certain that sentencing a 20 yo to death serves a purpose in this case.

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