Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was convicted on all 30 counts brought against him. Seventeen of those counts are punishable by death.
But if the jury votes for death, their verdict may not be the end. Since the late 1960s, despite pursuing hundreds of capital cases, the federal government has only executed three people. And with a nationwide shortage of injection drugs caused by an international boycott by pharmaceutical companies – pushing the issue to the political fore – Tsarnaev’s fate would likely remain uncertain. And even if execution drugs could be procured, the case could easily be tied up in appeals for decades.
Apparently, even if Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is sentenced to death; it will be a long time before the survivors of the attack receive closure.
Experts in the federal death penalty predict that complex and prolonged appeals lie ahead which, together with the crisis in the system of lethal injections, mean that it might be years before he enters a death chamber – if he gets there at all.
“The question is how will Tsarnaev die in prison. Will he die of a heart attack in his cell aged 60, of old age at 80, or will he be executed? The only thing that’s certain is that he will never breathe free air again,” said George Kendall, a New York lawyer who has been involved in capital cases for the past 30 years.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is a young man. Even if he isn't sentenced to death, he will die in prison butt will NOT live to see his 60th birthday.
A dearth of lethal injection medicines has propelled states such as Oklahoma and Arizona to take increasingly extreme measures in using experimental drug combinations – the subject of oral hearings at the US supreme court on Wednesday. Following a challenge from three inmates of federal death row, the US government has effectively put all executions on hold since 2006, and is currently involved in a lengthy review of its death penalty protocols. Some states have sought alternatives, like firing squads in Utah or nitrogen gas in Oklahoma.
This article, while it presents a plethora of information about how the death penalty works (but usually fails), is an interesting academic assessment of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's future in the system of justice.
However, I have a slightly more realistic view of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's future. Long before the appeal process has ended it will become a moot point. When a inmate has committed a famous heinous crime, like Jeffery Dahlmer, it makes no difference whether the sentence is life in prison or death.
It's impossible to protect inmates from their fellow inmates indefinitely. Eventually an inmate will murder Dzhokhar Tsarnaev in prison. I certainly won't shed a tear for him, butt it is indickative of a failed system of justice. The death sentence should be carried out lawfully, not by an outlaw.
I just hope that other terrorists don't take hostages to demand Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's release. That may be a problem because justice is not swift. Once Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is dead, that particular problem becomes irrelevant.