United States v. Tsarnaev, No. 16-6001 (1st Cir. 2020)Annotate this Case
In this case involving the bombing at the 2013 Boston Marathon, the First Circuit vacated Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's death sentences and reversed his three convictions for carrying a firearm during crimes of violence, holding that the judge did not meet the standard set by Patriarca v. United States, 402 F.2d 314, 318 (1st Cir. 1968), and erred in denying Tsarnaev's post-trial motion for judgments of acquittal.
A jury convicted Tsarnaev of all charges for which he was indicted arising from the Boston Marathon bombing. The district judge imposed a sentence of death on six of the death-eligible counts. On appeal, Tsarnaev argued, among other things, that the judge erred in the way he handled Tsarnaev's venue-change motions and the jury-selection process. The First Circuit held (1) the trial judge in this high-profile case did not fully comply with Patriarca by running a voir dire sufficient to identify prejudice, which provided a sufficient ground to vacate Tsarnaev's death sentences; and (2) because not each of the underlying offenses constituted a crime of violence, three of Defendant's convictions for carrying a firearm for crimes of violence are reversed.
The court issued a subsequent related opinion or order on August 7, 2020.