April 22, 2015

"They had time to feel pain, they had time to feel scared — but they had no time to say goodbye. And that is the very essence of terror."

Said U.S. Attorney Nadine Pellegrini, arguing that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev deserves the death penalty.

ADDED: Here's the federal statute enumerating the factors to be considered. I think this was the factor Pellegrini was getting at:
(6) Heinous, cruel, or depraved manner of committing offense.— The defendant committed the offense in an especially heinous, cruel, or depraved manner in that it involved torture or serious physical abuse to the victim.

56 comments:

jr565 said...

So, we don't need any forensics to know,thst he's the 2nd bomber. I'm ok with his execution.

Curious George said...

Strap 'em in. Light 'em up.

khesanh0802 said...

I have very little sympathy for this guy. I have to go with the death penalty. A firing squad would be the best solution, say on the Common!

Eleanor said...

While neither one of them was hurt, my son and his wife were in the race that day and witnessed the mayhem. We've had a lot of family discussions about what we would like the sentence to be. The consensus is LWOP in a maximum security prison punishes him the most and leaves the least opportunity for martyrdom. But before he's carried away to be locked up, we'd like both of his legs blown off.

MayBee said...

I don't get the people who are basing their opinion on whether or not he thinks he wants martyrdom.
What he wants should have no bearing on the choice.

I'm not pro-death penalty. But we all know LWOP will end up providing him a tidy enough life, with his needs met. The idea that it is a worse punishment than death seems absurd to me.

SayAahh said...

The prosecution in this case has been highly effective.

A pity that the OJ prosecution was not.

Ann Althouse said...

I added the statutory text. We know the defendant is guilty. That's not the question for the jury right now.

Consider whether; "The defendant committed the offense in an especially heinous, cruel, or depraved manner in that it involved torture or serious physical abuse to the victim."

MayBee said...

Consider whether; "The defendant committed the offense in an especially heinous, cruel, or depraved manner in that it involved torture or serious physical abuse to the victim."

Yes, when he loaded the bombs with small projectiles, when he placed the bag near children, when he walked around casually in the aftermath.

n.n said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Brando said...

I'm not a big death penalty fan but I really don't see why a lack of remorse should have anything to do with whether he deserves the death penalty. The only things that should matter are:

1) Nature of the crime (how the murder(s) were committed)

2) Certainty of his guilt (any possibility this person isn't guilty?)

3) Whether there are any mitigating factors (e.g., was the killing a momentary unthinking action vs. pre-planned)

If all of those factors weigh in favor of the death penalty, it shouldn't matter if they repented and feel terrible, or are just such a model prisoner in the jail. Otherwise, we're executing people based not on their crime but on whether they're nice people.

n.n said...

If upon factual expert and evidentiary testimony, and following due process, his guilt is established beyond a reasonable doubt, then he should be executed by the State for the crime of premeditated murder [of human beings]. Otherwise, there are two credible choices: freedom or abortion, where the latter carries a lower or no burden of proof.

EDH said...

This case is one example of "moral certainty" beyond "any reasonable doubt" that should be the predicate for execution.

As for "especially heinous, cruel, or depraved manner" I would point to all those pieces of shrapnel deliberately placed in the device he left behind that were intended to maim and kill.

Peter said...

" The idea that it is a worse punishment than death seems absurd to me."

The assertion that LWOP is a worse punishment than death is contradicted by the reality that practically all defendants facing a potential death penalty are interested in bargaining to get Life Without instead.

cubanbob said...

The nature of the crime speaks for itself. Justice would be a hanging a fortnight after the sentencing.

AJ Lynch said...

I support the death penalty for him and for any attorney who dares to file an appeal on his behalf [I am not joking].

Christy said...

If he is executed, a progressive president cannot pardon him later.

Brando said...

"I support the death penalty for him and for any attorney who dares to file an appeal on his behalf [I am not joking]."

So if you are not joking, how exactly would your plan work? A lawyer files an appeal for this guy, and the prosecutor would move to give the death penalty to the lawyer? Are the grounds for such penalty the fact that the attorney has the gall to appeal the lower court's determination? Are you generally against the constitutional right to assistance of counsel, or just in this particular case?

Brando said...

"If he is executed, a progressive president cannot pardon him later."

If we have to worry about a future president actually pardoning him, I'd be far more concerned that we have a dangerously insane president at that point.

Although if he donated heavily to Hillary's campaign, then anything goes...

Eleanor said...

It's not a question of whether he wants to be a martyr or not. It's whether killing him will make him one. This young man has been given rock star treatment. He doesn't need to be made a "hero for the cause". Prisoners in a maximum security prison are only out of their cells for about an hour each day. We aren't talking about sending him to Club Fed.

jr565 said...

"I have very little sympathy for this guy. I have to go with the death penalty. A firing squad would be the best solution, say on the Common!"
Nah, just attach a bomb to his leg. If he lives, he gets time off of his sentence.

TosaGuy said...

Death penalty costs too much money and too many years.

Put him in the general population of the worst prison in the nation. He will find that his fellow prisoners will be extremely patriotic.

MayBee said...

It's not a question of whether he wants to be a martyr or not. It's whether killing him will make him one. This young man has been given rock star treatment. He doesn't need to be made a "hero for the cause".

He's been given rock star treatment because of his looks.

Is there some extremist group making him a hero for the cause? AlQaeda? ISIS? ISTM we are trying to make members of those groups martyrs every day, with drones and bombs. Should we stop, because they will become heroes to their cause?

MayBee said...

There are automatic appeals required. That's what makes the death penalty so expensive.

AJ Lynch said...

Brando - just for this case.

JPS said...

When I hear that this guy wants to be made a martyr, and that we'd be playing into his hands by executing him, I think of this awful scene in Inglourious Basterds, and I feel less for Tsarnaev than for the tough, honorable EPW in the movie:

"Donnie - got a German here wants t' die for his country. Oh-BLIGE him!"

Gahrie said...

Personally, I'd kill him as painfully as I could get the Supreme Court to allow (it is cruel and unusual that is banned, not painful) as a warning to others.

KK Kraska said...

This is all political theater on the government's part. No way is the little prick ever, ever, gonna be executed, and the US Atty knows it. Give him life, and let him rot.

chillblaine said...

I think looking at little Martin Richard and then placing the bag right next to him qualifies as "heinous and cruel."

Thorley Winston said...

I'm not pro-death penalty. But we all know LWOP will end up providing him a tidy enough life, with his needs met. The idea that it is a worse punishment than death seems absurd to me.

Agreed the fact that prisoners facing a death sentence so often plead down to LWOP or file appeals to try to stop or delay their execution suggests that they don’t consider it worse to be in prison than to be dead. Also I don’t trust that a future Supreme Court won’t decide that life sentences are “cruel and unusual” (as some European courts have done) or that decades later a cost-conscious governor or president might not agree to release prisoners who reach a certain age or infirmity as we’re seeing a push for now as the prison population ages. The only guaranteed way to make sure he can never harm another innocent person is to kill him and his actions show that he deserves it.

I Callahan said...

I'm not pro-death penalty. But we all know LWOP will end up providing him a tidy enough life, with his needs met. The idea that it is a worse punishment than death seems absurd to me.

I always thought that punishment assumes that one can learn from his/her mistakes. You can't learn anything if you're dead.

But then, the reason to punish someone is to minimize the chances of that person doing such an act again. When you execute them, they're not going to kill anyone ever again. You can't minimize those chances any more than that.

I guess you're correct then...

MaxedOutMama said...

I would say packing bombs with shrapnel does indeed fit the statutory definition. The effect is to shred tissue - unlike high explosive bombs, the victims do not vanish in a cloud of smoke and fire.

Looking down and realizing you've lost huge chunks of your legs is torture. It is also torture for those witnessing the victims.

I Callahan said...

The assertion that LWOP is a worse punishment than death is contradicted by the reality that practically all defendants facing a potential death penalty are interested in bargaining to get Life Without instead.

I agree with this in general, but once I saw on 20/20 (had to be 20 years ago) that an inmate who was convicted of murder and sentenced to death, wanted the appeals to stop. His attorney (and subsequent attorneys) refused, saying that if they didn't try to save his life, they wouldn't be affording the defendant a vigorous defense, and would be breaking their professional vows.

In other words, what the inmate (client) wanted (which would have saved the taxpayers a lot of money) was not considered in any way.

Brando said...

"Nah, just attach a bomb to his leg. If he lives, he gets time off of his sentence."

Force him to run a marathon in under 4 hours, then set a bomb off near him at the finish line so he has to run when already exhausted. This is what he put the actual runners through.

Brando said...

"Brando - just for this case."

I can't fault an attorney for defending a rotten and guilty person provided that the attorney does so ethically. We give such people a right to a legal defense not so much for the sake of the wicked but for the sake of our society. Israel gave Eichmann an attorney (a Jewish attorney, for extra irony) not because Eichmann deserved a fair and proper trial but because Israel held itself to a higher standard than the Nazis.

I don't know what I'd want for this Tsaranev cretin--he's certainly a wicked, horrible person as is his rotten mother who egged on his terrorism (though I guess they don't have evidence to support charges against her). What he really deserves (eaten alive by ants, watching a loved one tortured to death) and what American society should do to him are two different things.

Rusty said...



Blogger TosaGuy said...
Death penalty costs too much money and too many years.

Put him in the general population of the worst prison in the nation. He will find that his fellow prisoners will be extremely patriotic.


I have to disagree.
He has forfeited his right to exist on this planet under any conditions. Once he is gone there is absolutely no chance that he could somehow escape and commit other murders.
He threw his life away.

Richard Dolan said...

"The defendant committed the offense in an especially heinous, cruel, or depraved manner in that it involved torture or serious physical abuse to the victim."

The purpose of these statutory factors is to separate out the murder cases that merit a death penalty from those that don't. But as the US Atty's argument here shows, the factors are a failure at that -- by definition, every person who is murdered is deprived of the ability to say good-bye to someone. If that qualifies as "especially cruel," it's hard to see why the same argument wouldn't work in every murder case.

The reality in all of these cases is that it comes down to the jury's assessment of the defendant and the crime. The 'factors' are supposed to guide the jury's consideration, but they are so vague and emotionally loaded that I strongly doubt that they do. The real function of these death penalty factors is that they provide a handy vehicle for appellate courts to intervene whenever they think the jury got it wrong.

TosaGuy said...

"I have to disagree.
He has forfeited his right to exist on this planet under any conditions. Once he is gone there is absolutely no chance that he could somehow escape and commit other murders.
He threw his life away."

I don't think some of you understand that he will die a quicker and more tortuous death in general population of our worst prison than he will sitting alone on death row for 15 years.

traditionalguy said...

The young jihadists are always proud of killing Jews and christians that occupy the earth that belongs to the moon god allah. They plan to exterminate us so there will be peace. That's why Obama says they are a religion of peace.

ken in tx said...

Better for him to be a dead myrter that a live hero. As long as he is alive, his fellow travelers will be kidnapping and committing other crimes to get him released. Plus, as mentioned, no future misguided or weak executive could pardon him.

However, the prosecution's showing of him giving the finger to the security camera might result in some stupid set aside of whatever sentence he gets.

Big Mike said...

If he's alive he can be pardoned by a sufficiently brain-dead politician. Give him his 72 houris and tell him on the way to the cruciform gurney that he should be grateful for the 8th amendment.

Jason said...

As a Catholic, I believe all life is precious, and should not be deliberately snuffed out by the state in the name of justice. I also do not trust the state to have good processes in place. Sure, this seems like an easy case. But you cannot give the DA's power over life and death in easy cases without also involving the hard cases.

Due process is vital, but it's still a ring in the snout of a swine. I will not be advocating the death penalty.

This little shit makes it difficult, though.

virgil xenophon said...

What we also affirm by choosing the death penalty is the moral right of the State to execute those who transgress against it. When Hermann Goering was sentenced to death by hanging at the Nuremburg Trials, he committed suicide by cyanide pill smuggled into his cell. The newspaper headlines read: "Goering cheats death by committing suicide!" i.e., he died in a manner of his own choosing, NOT that of the court. This must not be allowed to happen again..

Michael said...

TosaGuy is correct. Release him into the general population of the worst prison up there. With fanfare. Announcements.

Good looking guy like that will make out fine.

Brando said...

"I will not be advocating the death penalty.

This little shit makes it difficult, though."

That's the problem I have--I don't trust the state enough to give it power like that, particularly when you consider how botched so many prosecutions, investigations and trials are. But it's hard to see a case where there's no question of guilt, the crime was heinous, and the perp is such an abhorrent human being and not want to see them not just executed, but executed in the most horrifying way imaginable.

Jason said...

I think this little shit's a horrible scumbag.

However, just as a commitment to freedom of speech must include even the most hateful speech or it's not really free, then a belief in the preciousness of life FOR ITS OWN SAKE must include the most disgusting and heinous individuals, or it's not a commitment.

Justice can he served and the aims of the state achieved without killing a prisoner.

This does not mean I'm a pacifist, although it would be nice. The Catholics also came up with Jus in bellum and jus ad bello (or is it jus in bello and jus ad bellum?) Whatever. All good and useful concepts to know - and created centuries ago so that Christians need not be hamstrung by pacifism that they presented themselves to convenient slaughter by Muslims.

285exp said...

I'm for LWOP.

After they blow his legs off with a pressure cooker full of nails and ball bearings, and let him lie there for a while to think about it.

Jason said...

Be careful about being too confident about "what we know."

We knew those five kids were responsible for the attack on the Central Park Jogger until they weren't.

Nothing causes the hair on my neck to stand up faster than "fuck it! We know he's guilty!"

Michael said...

Jason;

But, then, they actually were.

JCCamp said...

The moral questions are complex and without resolution. But the statute remains. If we ignore the law, then what good is it?

I agree wtih MayBee and others. We should render unto Caesar and execute this man for what he did. If it makes him a martyr in some eyes, so what? All that matters if that he has been held responsible for crimes against our society and punished according to custom and law. If it takes a few years, that's OK. He doesn't have anywhere to be.

In other word, Goodbye trash.

RecChief said...

know what would be a good companion story to this one? The story about the Ivy League professor who thinks disabled babies should be killed under the auspices of Obamacare. seeing as how Althouse voted for Obama and seems to support abortion (one of those social issues she holds up as a reason why she can't be conservative)

Jason said...

Michael:

No, they weren't. A sixth individual , Matias Reyes, confessed, DNA evidence confirmed it, and he said he did it alone.

All five kids who were originally convicted were released, their convictions vacated in 2002.

You didn't know that?

As I said... be careful about what you think you know. This is especially true of death penalty cases.

The City of New York settled the case of false arrest and malicious prosecution against the kids for $41 million, and it could cost the state taxpayers $52 million more.

RecChief said...

electrocution?

a firing squad, or better yet, a noose.

traditionalguy said...

I am reminded of the religious wars of the 1600s among Catholic Kings in Europe where a common sentence was that a man be drawn and quartered and his entrails burned in front of him, BUT then in an act of mercy his sentence was commuted to beheading.

Rusty said...

There is no gaurantee he'll be killed if released intothe general population. There he will have other opportunities to promote jihad.Alive he will be able to rally softheaded people outside of prisonto his cause.
Let the state take his life and be done with it.

Brando said...

"As I said... be careful about what you think you know. This is especially true of death penalty cases."

We frequently hear about DNA evidence overturning death penalty convictions years after the convicted were sent to death row. When you study more the factors that can lead to convictions (cops doing sloppy investigation when they're "sure" they have the right guy, unsophisticated or mentally challenged defendants confessing to things they didn't do, truly incompetent defense counsel, biased juries, mistaken or dishonest witnesses that go unchallenged) you realize how easy it is for the state to screw these things up.

It is possible, though, for there to be cases proven beyond a reasonable doubt, where the evidence is such that there's no possibility they have the wrong guy--like the Colin Ferguson shootings back in the '90s where the commuters caught him in the act.

Michael McClain said...

As long as he lives, all Americans are at risk of being taken captive for a hostage exchange. No reason to let him live while his targets are dead.