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

  • Kim Wall Murder: Peter Madsen - Mad Scientist or King of the Fetish

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Denmark's most sensational murder trial has yet to begin and the world media is ramping up its coverage on Peter Madsen, the Danish inventor who is currently held in the horrific dismemberment and murder of Swedish journalist Kim Wall.

     
  • The Confessions (Le Confessioni) Review - A Captivating International Murder Mystery

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    The Confessions, from Bobo Film TV and Uncork’d Entertainment, presents a thrilling whodunit, as the world titters on economic collapse a gathering of the G8 leaders at a luxurious seaside hotel becomes a murder mystery with all suspect.

     
  • PBS American Experience Presents The Chinese Exclusion Act

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    In the context of ongoing national debates over immigration, the timely new two-hour documentary The Chinese Exclusion Act, from Emmy® Award winning documentary filmmakers Ric Burns and Li-Shin Yu, will debut as a special presentation May 29, 2018.

     
  • New Horizons Spacecraft Completes Pluto Fly By

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    The National Aeronautics and Space Agency, (NASA), in an historic mission, released the first ever photos of Pluto’s surface culminating the nine year effort to bring to the world images and collect data from the furthest planet in the solar system.

     
  • Spring Into Style With New Additions To The Bentley Collection

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Bentley today announces its new additions to the Bentley Collection for spring. Leather jackets inspired by the world of driving, and a luxurious range of cashmere scarves, made their debut at Geneva Motor Show.

     
  • The Academy To Celebrate Oscar Night® New York at Daniel Boulud’s Iconic Restaurant Daniel

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    For the third consecutive year, Chef Daniel Boulud's highly acclaimed restaurant DANIEL will once again bring Hollywood to New York hosting members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.  As the only East Coast event officially hosted by The Academy, Oscar Night at DANIEL has become one of the most prestigious viewing parties in New York.  

  • US Markets Stay Strong; DOW Continues Climb; World Markets Shaky

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    The Dow Jones Industrial continued its upward trend throughout the recent week beginning slightly above 17,000 where it continued to rise from throughout the week, holding, the DOW never looked back closing strong setting a new record.

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.