Surprise: DOJ to seek death penalty against Dzhokhar Tsarnaev for Boston bombings

Richly deserved, although the jury will disagree.

The federal government has carried out only three executions since the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in the 1970s. One of them was Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh, put to death in 2001.

Attorney General Eric Holder said in a statement: “After consideration of the relevant facts, the applicable regulations and the submissions made by the defendant’s counsel, I have determined that the United States will seek the death penalty in this matter. The nature of the conduct at issue and the resultant harm compel this decision.”…

Legal experts have said that seeking the death penalty against Tsarnaev would give him an incentive to plead guilty to avoid being put to death.

I’m a bit surprised that card-carrying liberals like Obama and Holder would greenlight capital punishment in such a prominent case, but that goes to show you how much political pressure even a lame-duck president feels to prove that he’s tough on terrorism. Besides, if anyone deserves death, this turd does: Assuming earlier news reports are borne out by the facts at trial, there’s no question that he was a fully knowing participant. He planted his bomb five feet from an eight-year-old kid and then, according to his own friends, went to a dorm party two days later. Electrocution is too good for him. Lethal injection is way too good for him. Even Obama and Holder can’t deny it.

But it’s probably all for naught. According to a Boston Globe poll last September, 57 percent of Bostonians think Tsarnaev should get life versus just 33 percent who want death. Tsarnaev’s attorney, Judy Clarke, is a death-penalty specialist who’s secured life sentences for an all-star roster of degenerates, from terrorists like the Unabomber and Zacarias Moussaoui to child-killers like Susan Smith. Tsarnaev’s age and the influence of his brother make for an easy “he was a naif swayed by a violent older svengali” defense. I’ll be shocked if he gets the needle. In fact, as noted in the excerpt, Holder’s death-penalty play here is probably just a way to twist Tsarnaev’s and Clarke’s arms during plea-bargain negotiations. The DOJ likely wants life without parole while Tsarnaev may want to try for life with the possibility of parole in, say, 30 years. This is Holder’s way of making him cop to the tougher sentence. With good reason: The prospect of Dzhokhar walking free in middle age might be hard to swallow even for Massachusetts softies.

Silver lining of a life sentence, though: At least it’ll spare us the nonsense of the evergreen “we can’t kill terrorists or else we’ll make them martyrs!” argument. Or will it?

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