ReutersLegal Posts, "Prosecutors face tough call on death penalty in Boston case." It's by Jessica Dye.
Federal prosecutors may seek the death penalty for the surviving suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings, legal experts said on Sunday, though they cautioned that much will hinge on what emerges in the weeks ahead about him and his role in the attacks.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, is in custody and in serious condition at a Boston hospital. Authorities are preparing to file charges against him in a case that has riveted national attention and that presents legal and political challenges.
Tsarnaev and his brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, are suspected of setting off bombs at the crowded finish line of the marathon on Monday, killing three people and injuring 176. Tamerlan died early Friday after a shootout with police.
On television talk shows on Sunday, two Democratic senators, Dianne Feinstein of California and Charles Schumer of New York, advocated for federal prosecutors to seek the death penalty.
The decision on whether to do that or not could take weeks, experts said, as both prosecutors and defense attorneys present factors in favor of and against it.
"Just because it's a notorious case, doesn't mean they'll end up seeking the death penalty," said Peter Quijano, a criminal defense lawyer in New York City with extensive experience in capital cases.
"Boston Bombing’s Brutality No Guarantee of Death Penalty," is by Patricia Hurtado and David McLaughlin for Bloomberg News.
Federal death penalty prosecutions, unlike many state cases, require a rigorous vetting at the highest levels of the Justice Department -- a months-long process that often results in a decision to seek only a life sentence.
Any cases that include potential capital punishment crimes will be reviewed by local federal prosecutors and eventually by the U.S. attorney general and his deputies. They also hear from defense lawyers before making the final determination to seek death, said Morris Fodeman, a former federal prosecutor who persuaded a Brooklyn, New York, jury to vote to execute Ronell Wilson, a New York man convicted of killing a New York City police detective.
Additionally, all death penalty cases require a second trial, a so-called penalty phase, where jurors are asked to decide on whether a convicted defendant deserves life in prison or death, by weighing mitigating and aggravating factors.
On April 19, Boston U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz declined to say after the capture of Tsarnaev whether she would seek the death penalty, alluding to the complex process by which U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder makes the final decision.
Another factor in such a decision is often whether a defendant decides to plead guilty rather than force a trial.
There is also:
"Boston bombing suspect could face death penalty," by Kevin McCoy and Brad Heath at USA Today.
"Dzhokhar Tsarnaev Capture Reignites Death Penalty Debate," by Rebekah Metzler for US News & World Report.
"Boston Bomb Case Merits Death Penalty, Senators Say," by Alan Zibel for the Wall Street Journal Washington Wire.
Related posts are in the federal death penalty category index.