(BOSTON) — Attorneys for accused Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev want the federal death penalty taken off the table.
They were in court Wednesday, arguing their reasons, which include the absence of capital punishment in Massachusetts as well as their contention that the federal death penalty violates the Eighth Amendment ban on “cruel and unusual punishment” since some people convicted of murder have later been exonerated.
Tsarnaev’s lawyers claim that the Eighth Amendment was meant to restrict the power of the federal government as well as protect the rights of individuals.
They also went on to argue that the grand jury that indicted Tsarnaev on 30 counts was not aware at the time that the Justice Department was seeking the death penalty against their client, and therefore, he should be exempt from that punishment if found guilty.
Prosecutors maintain that Tsarnaev and his brother, Tamerlan, left two bombs near the finish line of the marathon on April 15, 2013. The bombs killed three people and wounded more than 260 others. The brothers are also alleged to have shot an MIT police officer to death several days later. Tamerlan Tsarnaev died during a police shootout.
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