Login Form

Boston Bomber Sentencing: Hank Brennan, Boston Legal Scholar, Explains the Death Penalty Phase

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is set to begin the sentencing phase of his trial. To understand the jury's responsibilities, Hank Brennan, former Boston prosecutor and current defense attorney in the appeal for notorious mobster James "Whitey" Bulger agreed to explain.

Federal Death Penalty Act

The next phase of the United States v. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev trial is what is commonly called the "death penalty phase." In Federal Court the procedure has been codified and is known as the Federal Death Penalty Act (FDPA). This statue can be found at U.S. Code Title 18, Part II c.228.  

The jury will consider both aggravating and mitigating circumstances relative to the qualifying convictions.

A qualifying conviction is an indictment (often called a charge) that the defendant was found guilty for which qualifies for the penalty of death. Not all convictions qualify for the death penalty.  

The prosecution will call witnesses, primarily victims or family members of victims.  The witnesses have an opportunity to emote and may testify to the impact inflicted upon them by the defendant's acts or they may read pre-written impact statements describing the physical, emotional, and financial impact caused by the defendant's crimes.

The defense may also introduce witnesses to attempt to demonstrate any relevant mitigating factor on behalf of the defendant. After considering the evidence the jury decides whether death should be imposed. If the jury chooses that death should not be imposed, the judge will impose a sentence that will inevitably be a life sentence without parole.  

Aggravating and Mitigating Factors

Aggravating and Mitigating Factors are found in U.S. Code Title 18, Part II c.228  § 3592.

Mitigating factors include impaired capacity, duress, being a minor participant, no prior criminal record, equally or more culpable co-defendant, and other factors including the defendant's past character.  

Aggravating factors are numerous and include whether death occurred during the commission of another crime, a grave risk of death to additional persons, if the offense was committed in an especially heinous, cruel, or depraved manner in that it involved torture or serious physical abuse to the victim, substantial planning and premeditation to cause the death of a person or commit an act of terrorism, the particular vulnerability of the victim due to old age, youth, or infirmity, and whether the defendant intentionally killed or attempted to kill more than one person in a single criminal episode.

Jury Determines Aggravating and Mitigating Factors

The jury's must return special finding identifying any aggravating factors. All jurors must unanimously agree for any aggravating factor to be deemed established.

A finding of any mitigating factor, however, may be made by 1 or more members of the jury. Upon a finding of a mitigating factor by at least one member of the jury, the factor is deemed established.

The jury will consider whether all the aggravating factor or factors found to exist sufficiently outweigh all the mitigating factor or factors found to exist to justify a sentence of death, or, in the absence of a mitigating factor, whether the aggravating factor or factors alone are sufficient to justify a sentence of death. The jury will then recommend whether the defendant should be sentenced to death, to life imprisonment without possibility of release or some other lesser sentence.

A recommendation to sentence to death must be by a unanimous vote.

 

Haute Tease

  • The Annual NYC “Join The Voices! Run/Walk” in Central Park

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Voices Against Brain Cancer, in partnership with New York Road Runners, will host its annual “Join the Voices! Run/Walk” on Sunday, December 2, 2012 in Central Park, New York at 8:15am.

     
  • LUXE Sunset Boulevard and YogaWorks Partner to Assist Travelers Maintain Zen

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    A recent survey conducted by the Luxe Sunset Boulevard Hotel in partnership with YogaWorks, a leading provider of yoga and fitness programs, revealed that many business travelers are saying “Argh” instead of “Om” when attempting to keep up with their fitness routines while on work trips.

     
  • London Technology Week 2016 Set To Showcase Best Of British Fashion Tech

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    This year’s launch event of London Technology Week, Europe’s largest festival of technology, is set to bring together some of the UK’s leading fashion technology designers for a first of its kind fashion technology showcase. 

     
  • Redwood Highway Review – Taking an Unforgettable Walk Through a Life Well Lived

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Redwood Highway,” from Ageless Cinema and Redwood Highway Productions, presents a road film, full of wonder, awe, drama, symbolic of life’s journey where dreams are the driver, roadside stops pleasant and detours awakening.

     
  • Money News: North American Markets Down; European, Asian Markets Split

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    The DOW Jones Industrial Average, wrestling the Bear fell for the fifth straight week, closed down with the North American Markets following with the Shanghai Composite and Germany’s DAX also closing down.

     
  • Alpine High School Active Shooter Story Unfolds Differently; Officer Involved Shooting Wounds One

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    A freshman girl in West Texas committed suicide with a single self-inflicted gunshot this week after wounding a fellow female student at Alpine High School after the directed incident escalated resulting in an officer involved shooting of a fellow first responder.

     
  • Conservancy's Summer Naturalists Educate Public and Support Island Tourism with Information about Catalina and Conservation

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    AVALON - Four college students from across the country have been greeting visitors in Avalon and Two Harbors this summer, educating them about conservation on the Island and encouraging them to explore and experience Catalina.

Donate Elite

It's the desire at Haute-Lifestyle.com to keep journalism free. Running a business, however, dictates what is now a common dilemma; a paywall, subscription or donation. Thank you for your donation.