The Supreme Court has reinstated the death sentence for Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. The 6-3 ruling overturns a decision of a federal court to vacate the death sentence and order a new sentencing hearing.
The lower court determined that U.S. District Judge George O’Toole Jr. did not allow defense lawyers to properly question potential jurors about how closely they followed the news coverage of the bombing, in which three people were killed, and 260 were injured. The court also said that Tsarnaev’s defense lawyers should have been allowed to bring up a 2011 triple homicide that was believed to be committed by Tsarnaev’s older brother Tamerlan.
The Supreme Court rejected those determinations and ruled that Tsarnaev was granted a fair trial.
“Dzhokhar Tsarnaev committed heinous crimes,” Justice Clarence Thomas wrote. “The Sixth Amendment nonetheless guaranteed him a fair trial before an impartial jury. He received one.”
It is unclear if Tsarnaev will be executed because of the current moratorium on federal executions. For now, the 28-year-old will remain on death row at a federal supermax prison in Colorado.