NEW YORK, May 2, 2013 – The alleged terrorist, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, accused of the Boston Marathon Bombings now has a dream team of ivy-league educated defense lawyers working hard to keep him alive and prevent the U.S. Government from imposing the death penalty.
Judy Clarke, former Unibomber and the Atlanta Olympic Bomber, joins other all-star attorneys such as Public Defender Miriam Conrad who defended the “shoe bomber” Richard Reid. Clarke has also represented Susan Smith, the mother who drowned her kids in her own minivan, Jared Lee Laughner whose shooting spree victims included US Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords,(D-AZ), and acarius Moussaoui “The 20th Hijacker” charged with plotting to blow up the US Capitol and Pentagon buildings.
Now that Tsarnaev has his dream team of top American defense lawyers, the probability of a death sentence upon conviction is slimmer that the public’s desire for it. A new poll by ABC News indicates that 70% of Americans surveyed favor the death penalty for Tsarnaev.
The poll also found that the differences in support and opposition varied by race and political party affiliation. However, despite some differences in each subgroup, all parties polled favored trying Tsarnaev by a Federal court trial (74%) over military tribunal (19%).
In fact, the US Supreme abolished the death penalty in 1972 citing a violation to the Fourth and 18th Amendments and considered it cruel and unusual punishment, only to overturn that ruling in 1976 with new federal guidelines. In 1977 the Court deemed executions as cruel and unusual punishment for mentally retarded persons and individuals less than 18 years of age.
The accused Boston Marathon Bombing suspect, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, is 19 years old and appears to not suffer from mental retardation. Should he escape the death penalty if found guilty? Is the death penalty “cruel and unusual punishment” that in some cases violates the equal protection clause of our Constitution; or is it a fitting punishment for the crime of murder that offers justice to the victims’ families while saving money and space in our over-crowded prison systems?
What’s your verdict?
About the author: Rich Valdes is a former official in New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s Administration and marketing professional who has managed projects for government agencies, educational institutions, and entertainment clients.
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