Dzhokhar Tsarnaev Convicted On All Charges In Boston Marathon Bombing Trial

An unsurprising outcome as we approach the second anniversary of the bombing at the Boston Marathon.

Tsarnaev Trial

In an outcome that ranks among the least suspenseful legal outcome in recent history, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was convicted on all charges related to the 2013 bombing at the Boston Marathon carried out by him and his brother Tamerlan:

BOSTON — After 11 hours of deliberations over two days, a federal jury on Wednesday found Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, a failing college student and the youngest child in a dispersed Russian immigrant family, guilty of the 2013 bombings at the Boston Marathon, the worst act of terrorism on American soil since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

The bombings almost two years ago transformed one of the world’s most prestigious road races on a glorious spring afternoon into a scene of carnage with bodies strewn across Boylston Street, giving the nation a horrifying glimpse into the consequences of homegrown, self-taught terrorism. The bombs, planted in retaliation for American-led wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, killed three spectators, blew the limbs off 17 others and wounded 240 more, leaving many with life-altering injuries.

Still, in the first phase of the trial, the defense laid the groundwork for the sentencing phase, casting their client as subordinate to his older brother, Tamerlan, and less culpable for the crimes. The defense team’s goal now is to explain mitigating factors in hopes that jurors will sentence Mr. Tsarnaev to life in prison.

Prosecutors said that Mr. Tsarnaev, then 19, was a full and equal partner with his older brother, Tamerlan, 26, in carrying out the attack. Dzhokhar, repeatedly faced with choices, never went back on the plan, prosecutors said, even when Tamerlan was not around. This was especially evident when Dzhokhar was hiding in a boat by himself and scrawled jihadist messages. “These were deliberate choices, these were political choices,” Aloke Chakravarty, an assistant United States attorney, told the jurors in his closing arguments on Monday said. “An eye for eye, you kill us, we kill you, that’s what he said and that’s what he did.”

“This was a cold, calculated terrorist act,” Mr. Chakravarty said. “This was intentional. It was bloodthirsty. It was to make a point. It was to tell America that ‘We will not be terrorized by you anymore — we will terrorize you.’ ”

The defense, while conceding Mr. Tsarnaev involvement, cast him as a misguided adolescent led by the domineering and malevolent Tamerlan, who was obsessed with violent jihad and who died after a shoot-out with police.

We don’t deny that Jahar fully participated in the events,” Ms. Clarke, told the jury in her closing arguments, using his Americanized nickname. “But if not for Tamerlan, it would not have happened.”

(…)

The defense hopes to present mitigating circumstances that show him as less culpable than his brother. It will flesh out details of Mr. Tsarnaev’s life and family history, which includes his forebears being expelled by Stalin from Chechnya in 1944 and ending up in Kyrgyzstan. His family settled in Cambridge, Mass., in 2002. As his parents divorced and returned to Russia, Mr. Tsarnaev, who became an American citizen on Sept. 11, 2012, fell increasingly under the sway of his older brother.

As I said, the outcome of the guilt phase of this trial has never really been in doubt. Not only was the evidence that the prosecution presented against Tsarnaev overwhelming and largely irrefutable, but his attorney’s didn’t really make an effort to argue that he was not legally responsible for what happened two years ago in Boston. Whereas the Federal Government’s case lasted nearly six weeks or so, the defense’s case lasted less than a day and didn’t really focus on trying to undermine the prosecution’s case. In the same vein, the cross-examination of the government’s witnesses was not, according to reporters that were present for the trial, especially harsh in most cases. Indeed, in her closing argument Tsarnaev’s attorney essentially admitted her client’s guilt while setting the jury up for the arguments that she would be making during the penalty phase of the trial in an effort to spare her client from the death penalty.

While this might not sound like how one might expect a defense attorney to handle a criminal trial, it’s one that has worked for this attorney in previous cases, such as when she represented the Unabomber and spared him from the death penalty, and it makes sense when you realize that acquittal was never a viable option in this case given the overwhelming volume of evidence. In that type of situation, a defense attorney risks insulting the jury’s intelligence if they try to rebut evidence that can’t really be rebutted, and that would potentially damage whatever chance might exist that one of those jurors would be willing to stand against the death penalty when it came time for that decision to be made. It may not work in this particular case, and many legal observers who have followed the trial have been skeptical that anything can spare Tsarnaev’s life given the nature of this case and the evidence against him, but it’s certainly the best option that the defense has at this point.

From here, the case will now proceed to the penalty phase, where the jury will be asked to decide if Tsarnaev will be put to death, a process that could last nearly as long as the guilt phase has lasted. During this part of the trial, the prosecution will likely re-present much of the same evidence it did during the first part of the trial, along with victim impact testimony from people who were maimed by the bombs that Tsarnaev and his brother planted and the family members of those who were killed. The defense, on the other hand, will most likely attempt to present Tsarnaev as someone who was swept up into a horrible criminal conspiracy by his domineering older brother, and argue to the jury that he should be sentenced to life in prison rather than put to death because of this. Ordinarily, part of a defense case during this part of a death penalty case would include testimony from the defendant’s family members and possibly the defendant himself. However, it’s not at all clear that this will happen here given the fact that Tsarnaev’s living relatives seem likely to testify in a manner that would be detrimental to him and that putting Tsarnaev himself on the stand means that he would be subject to cross-examination by the prosecution. All the defense needs is one juror who does not believe that the death penalty is appropriate in this case, but given the fact that all of these jurors had said during voir dire that they would be willing to impose a death sentence if the evidence supported it, it seems pretty clear that the odds are decidedly in favor of the government on the penalty phase as well.

FILED UNDER: Crime, Law and the Courts, National Security, Terrorism, ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020.

Comments

  1. C. Clavin says:

    It’s Obama’s fault.

  2. T says:

    McVeigh comes to mind. They wanted him gone. They got it done, quickly.

  3. Argon says:

    The simple part is done. Now the barbarism phase begins. Let’s see how thin the veneer of civilization truly is.

  4. michael reynolds says:

    @Argon:
    You know, I’m against the death penalty on the grounds that it is too easy to make mistakes – permanent ones.

    But I don’t see anything especially barbaric in executing this little sh!t. Barbaric would be an eye-for-an-eye: blow his legs off and perforate his intestines with shrapnel. That would be barbaric. Deserved, but yeah, over-the-top. Or maybe we could go really old-school barbaric and crucify him. Or skin him alive. Or bury him up to his neck and let the fire ants loose. Or blind him and brand the word “terrorist” on his forehead and release him out into the world. Barbaric.

    Shooting him full of deadly chemicals? Definitely unpleasant, but hardly barbaric.

    Like I said: I’m against the death penalty. But if and when they execute this guy I won’t shed a tear. I won’t open a bottle of Champagne like I did when we “executed” Osama Bin Laden (Man, that was a good day) but I won’t weep either.

  5. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @michael reynolds:

    I’d lock him up in solitary in a cell papered with photos of his victims – for life.

  6. michael reynolds says:

    @HarvardLaw92:
    Too bad there’s no federal maximum security in Massachusetts. You could just release him into the general population. Between the Bay State lifers and the guards you’d see some real “barbarism.”

    If he escapes the death penalty he goes to Florence, Colorado, I’d imagine. I’m sure he’ll have a great time there. Lovely place.

  7. Pinky says:

    @HarvardLaw92: Don’t you think he’s rather proud of his accomplishments?

  8. CSK says:

    To my knowledge, Tsarnaev is the first of Clarke’s high-profile clients to go to trial. She negotiated plea deals for Buford Furrow, Jared Lee Loughner, Eric Rudolph, and the Unabomber, as well as Zacarias Moussaoui (he ended up pleading guilty, anyway).

    I am not sure if Tsarnaev refused to plead guilty, or if the prosecution had such an overwhelming case against him they saw no need to negotiate.

  9. @michael reynolds:

    Yea, I’m opposed to the death penalty too but I don’t see myself spending much time feeling sorry for this guy.

  10. CSK says:

    @Pinky:

    Indeed. Anyone–which includes the jury–who saw the surveillance video of Tsarnaev planting the backpack directly by 8-year-old Martin Richard and then walking away smirking is likely to conclude that he knew exactly what he was doing and enjoyed the prospect of it.

  11. C. Clavin says:

    His brother was the “master-mind”…this kid is just a confused, pathetic, little lemming. That was pretty clear from the time he was caught cowering in that boat.
    I’m against the Death Penalty. The lemming still deserves life.

  12. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Pinky:

    You would be surprised what 60+ years of looking at nothing 23 hours per day other than the deaths one caused can accomplish. I didn’t suggest it because I thought it was a kinder alternative.

    I’m a New Yorker who worked within sight of the towers. Knew a lot of people in them who aren’t here any longer because some fanatic thought his cause justified killing them, so I’m not as empathetic or gentle these days when it comes to how terrorists are treated.

  13. michael reynolds says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    It was certainly helpful that his lawyers essentially agreed to the underlying facts and basically argued, “Yeah, but it was brother’s fault.” It’s nice when there’s no reasonable doubt.

  14. Another Mike says:

    Tsarnaev, exercising his free will, planned and acted to kill as many innocent people as he could. To withhold the death penalty would be to deny him justice. Were he to acknowledge his crime and beg for forgiveness, perhaps mercy could be shown and he be allowed to live.

  15. Pinky says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    I didn’t suggest it because I thought it was a kinder alternative.

    Yeah, I get that. You think I’d be surprised how it would affect him; I think you’d be surprised how it would affect him. Remember, serial killers keep trophies precisely so that they can relive the experience. They never tire of talking about their crimes. I don’t know this guy’s thought patterns, but I wouldn’t bet either way. Who knows? He might even be a reasonable kid who did get swept up in his brother’s obsession. He may genuinely be sorry about what he did. It’s also possible that his memory of those flying limbs is going to be the only thing that brings him comfort in 60 years.

  16. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Pinky:

    Few people survive 2 year in Supermax solitary without ending up, to varying degrees, insane.

    If he doesn’t, he doesn’t, but he’s still faced with the hell of spending 23 hours a day locked in a silent box with no human contact. Compared to that, the death penalty is a kindness.

  17. PJ says:

    He’s almost 23, if he lives for another 50 years, he’ll have spent about 420,000 hours in solitary.

  18. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @michael reynolds:

    If he escapes the death penalty he goes to Florence, Colorado, I’d imagine. I’m sure he’ll have a great time there. Lovely place.

    I’d say better than a 99% chance. He has already been under pretrial SAMs for a year and a half now, which would convert to post-conviction SAMs, and he’s a terrorist. That’s Florence Supermax.

    He doesn’t get the death penalty, then the SAMs become worse. Up until now, while he has been denied sending / receiving mail altogether, he has been allowed once per week supervised visits and a (recorded & monitored by the FBI) phone call to immediate family members – which has to be conducted in English. If he goes to Florence, that all stops. No mail, ever. No phone calls, ever. No visitors, ever. No physical contact with other prisoners, ever. The prisoners there can’t even hear, see or communicate with each other via tapping, etc.

    His life would consist of 23 hours a day in a silent concrete box with a tiny window too high up for him to be able to see out of it, and 1 hour per day of solitary walking around in a small, concrete walled courtyard. His sole physical contact or interaction of any sort with another human being, for the rest of his life, would be the guard who leads him to and from his outdoors period – and they are trained not to interact with the inmates in any way. It’s, by far, the most brutal tool available in the federal penal universe.

  19. grumpy realist says:

    @HarvardLaw92: Which I think is just about right for this individual.

    I’m against the death penalty in this case because of the possibility of making him into a martyr for other lunatics. Vanishing him into a box for life? Perfect.

  20. Tillman says:

    Let him rot in prison, life without parole. Maybe some young woman fifty years in the future will want to inherit his bones.

    Solitary confinement? No. That’s torture, and we don’t like torture, remember? As human beings? No, let him read in prison, let him develop a moral dimension. Let him come to terms with what he’s done. That’s the worst punishment that isn’t torture.

    And if he doesn’t develop a moral dimension, he’s still slowly decaying in prison for a long time.

  21. Jack says:

    @C. Clavin:

    His brother was the “master-mind”…this kid is just a confused, pathetic, little lemming. That was pretty clear from the time he was caught cowering in that boat.
    I’m against the Death Penalty. The lemming still deserves life.

    To paraphrase comedian Ron White, spiritually [Dzhokhar] might be willing to die for Islam, but I guarantee you, spiritually [Dzhokhar] is ill prepared to lick jelly out of Thunderdick’s butt crack for the rest of his life.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=voxu0eGjKFo

  22. michael reynolds says:

    @HarvardLaw92:
    I agree with you that I’d rather they just gave me the bye-bye shot. That really is a fate worse than death.

  23. Argon says:

    You may not lose sleep over him being executed, but like potato chips, we seldom stop at with just one. And we should lose sleep about many others. He’s got a long life to live, forever incarcerated behind iron, stone and barbed wire. That’s perfectly fine for me.

    Execution will serve no use as a deterrence or corrective. It will bring none of the dead back nor heal the injured. The state, having no need for execution, shouldn’t for those full under its control.

  24. gVOR08 says:

    @michael reynolds: Nor will I weep. But I like the thought of Tsarnaev twenty years from now sitting alone in a cell contemplating his life.

  25. James Pearce says:

    @Tillman:

    No, let him read in prison, let him develop a moral dimension. Let him come to terms with what he’s done.

    I like the idea, but is this really what happens in American prisons?

    They’re going to treat him horribly for the rest of his life. An execution would almost be merciful.

    (Although Florence is actually a cool town. If you’re not in prison.)

  26. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @C. Clavin: His brother was the “master-mind”…this kid is just a confused, pathetic, little lemming. That was pretty clear from the time he was caught cowering in that boat.
    I’m against the Death Penalty. The lemming still deserves life.

    You’re more sympathetic to him than you’ve ever been towards me.

    I guess that means that “making Cliffy look like the idiot he is” is a greater offense than blowing up an 8-year-old boy?

    The guy was a legal adult. He made his choices. Put him down like the rabid animal he is.

  27. Tillman says:

    @James Pearce: I’m also a big fan of prison reform. 🙂

    You know, I’ve heard pedophiles are given no respect in prisons, but I have to wonder what the code is regarding terrorists.

  28. anjin-san says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    You’re more sympathetic to him than you’ve ever been towards me.

    Your a bit like that character in The Phantom of the Opera… you know “Prima Donna, first lady of the stage.”

  29. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @anjin-san: You say the sweetest things, you make me blush.

  30. Gavrilo says:

    The idiocy of the left is on full display. As it usually is surrounding the death penalty. Did any of you even read the post? Tsarnaev’s entire legal strategy has been focused on sparing him from the death penalty. Do you not think he understands what the alternative is? Do you not think his lawyers understand that success means he spends 23 hours a day in a federal supermax prison for the rest of his life? And, should he receive the death penalty anyway, I guarantee he will exhaust every appeal. He will use every available legal means to delay his death sentence for as long as he possibly can.

    And yet, we still get the old, lefty drivel that life in prison is actually a harsher punishment than the death penalty.

  31. Tillman says:

    @Gavrilo: Life in prison is certainly less expensive to the state than all those frickin’ appeals he’s going to make if they sentence him to death. (Court costs, lawyer fees, etc., they all add up.) Fiscal conservatism, dude.

    Also, the reasoning goes that it’s harsher because everyone is going to die, but not everyone will spend their life in prison before that. Prison, in case you haven’t heard, isn’t a nice place.

  32. Gavrilo says:

    @Tillman:

    Also, the reasoning goes that it’s harsher because everyone is going to die, but not everyone will spend their life in prison before that. Prison, in case you haven’t heard, isn’t a nice place.

    That’s not reasoning. That’s drivel. People on death row know all about prison, and the vast, vast majority of them fight tooth and nail to get their death sentences commuted to life in prison. If life in prison was the harsher punishment, they wouldn’t do that.

  33. grumpy realist says:

    @Gavrilo: Um, the fact is that a lot of the appeal process in death sentences is automatic. There have been cases where people against the death penalty have fought bitterly for delay even against the expressed wishes of the individual involved.

    Also, it’s one thing to say you desire life in prison without appeal vs. death at the very beginning of the process. It’s another thing to say that 20 years onwards.

  34. Mikey says:

    Tsarnaev is on video placing a bomb next to an eight-year-old boy, and the bomb detonates within a couple minutes, killing the boy, killing and maiming others. I can think of very few instances I’d consider the death penalty appropriate, but I sure as hell do this one.

  35. Pinky says:

    @Tillman:

    Fiscal conservatism, dude.

    Really? If you support the reduction of appeals for convicts due to their costs, then by all means, play the “fiscal conservatism dude” card. But do you? A judicial system which prioritized cost-cutting would look very different.

  36. Loviatar says:

    We have had repeated instances of innocent men exonerated while on death row, we have a 1/3 to 1/2 of the population and 1 of the two governing parties believe “the nine most terrifying words in the English language are: I’m from the Government, and I’m here to help.” Yet they are willing to give that government the ultimate power to take a life. Why?

    Life Without Parole (LWP) is punishment, LWP in solitary confinement is cruel. It says more about some of you as humans that you seem to think cruelly punishing this young man is not enough.

  37. Gavrilo says:

    @grumpy realist:

    That’s very rare. According to the Death Penalty Information Center, only 141 of the 1401 inmates executed since 1976 have chosen to waive appeals and be executed. The vast majority appeal beyond the automatic trial appeal. The vast majority appeal the death sentence when the best they can hope for is that a judge commutes it to life without parole. The vast majority appeal to the Governor for clemency when the best they can hope for is a commutation to life in prison.

    There is ample real-world evidence the vast majority of inmates convicted of capital murder would rather spend their lives in prison than be executed. Why is it so hard for lefties to grasp this?

  38. humanoid.panda says:

    He doesn’t get the death penalty, then the SAMs become worse. Up until now, while he has been denied sending / receiving mail altogether, he has been allowed once per week supervised visits and a (recorded & monitored by the FBI) phone call to immediate family members – which has to be conducted in English. If he goes to Florence, that all stops. No mail, ever. No phone calls, ever. No visitors, ever. No physical contact with other prisoners, ever. The prisoners there can’t even hear, see or communicate with each other via tapping, etc.

    His life would consist of 23 hours a day in a silent concrete box with a tiny window too high up for him to be able to see out of it, and 1 hour per day of solitary walking around in a small, concrete walled courtyard. His sole physical contact or interaction of any sort with another human being, for the rest of his life, would be the guard who leads him to and from his outdoors period – and they are trained not to interact with the inmates in any way. It’s, by far, the most brutal tool available in the federal penal universe.

    I think there is a very strong case to be made that this, far more than the death penalty is cruel and unusual punishment, as defined in the constitution.

  39. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Gavrilo:

    Life in a typical prison? Sure, but life in supermax? Nah. You’re comparing apples and oranges. It might as well be life on the moon. I’ve seen hardened lifetime criminals who would view the suggestion of a sentence in a typical prison with something like disinterest reduced to blubbering tears when Florence got introduced into the situation. They know what it means, and they’re terrified of it.

    This guy’s lawyers might know what supermax entails, and still consider that preferable to a death sentence, but I doubt he really grasps it. There are things worse than death. Florence is one of them.

  40. Pinky says:

    @humanoid.panda: I’ve heard contradictory things about the availability of reading material, radio, and TV in supermax facilities. Does anyone here know?

  41. humanoid.panda says:

    @Gavrilo:

    And yet, we still get the old, lefty drivel that life in prison is actually a harsher punishment than the death penalty.

    Yep, nothing says “we are terrorist loving bleeding hearts” like throwing someone into a torture box for the next sixty or so years.

  42. humanoid.panda says:

    @Pinky: I don’t know either, but I don know that studies show that life without human interaction, but with some other sensory input will still inevitably drive one to insanity.

  43. humanoid.panda says:

    I have to say that I just read the Wikipedia entry for Florence, and there is something, for the lack of a different word, evil about the place. Yes, security is important , but the place is clearly designed to drive people insane via mental torture. There is clearly something profoundly wrong about a society in which something like that gets built, and then shown to the media who gets awfully impressed about how efficient and safe it is.

    [For an additional flourish, the money to purchase the land for the facility was gathered by local residents via donations, as they were interested in the jobs the prison brings. There is something amazingly dystopiana about, no?]

  44. Loviatar says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    One of the worst experiences I had in the military was when they sent us out to Saudi Arabia to prepare to invade Iraq during the first Gulf War. After the first few weeks of getting settled in we had nothing to do for about 6 months, I almost went crazy. Other than limited daily activities and interaction with your fellow soldiers you were isolated, you couldn’t contact your family and unless you brought it with you you had nothing to read. Most people don’t get that this young man of 23 will probably be insane by 50, if that isn’t cruel and unusual punishment I don’t know what is, yet that isn’t enough for some.

    They should just come out and say it, they want vengeance not justice.

  45. humanoid.panda says:

    Like seriously, some of the people in the Supermax are spies for China and Russia. They are not violent, and all the information they had is obscolete. What other reason is there to keep them in Florence, rather than torture?

  46. Loviatar says:

    @humanoid.panda:

    [For an additional flourish, the money to purchase the land for the facility was gathered by local residents via donations, as they were interested in the jobs the prison brings. There is something amazingly dystopiana about, no?]

    I’ve come to the realization that Americans are abnormally, incredibly selfish. This has led them to be cruel in unusual ways.

  47. Mikey says:

    @Loviatar: We played cards. A lot of cards. Like hours and hours a day.

    Sometimes packages would show up with books. We read them and then passed them to other guys who passed us the ones they’d just read. By the time we redeployed back to Germany we’d all read the same books.

    One huge thing we had as the Air Force TACP was an HF radio set (well, we had two, but only one would push 400 watts). We used it to radio back to Germany and get the MARS (Military Affiliate Radio Station) operators to set up phone patches. We could call home that way. We also set it up so the battalion’s soldiers could sign up for time slots. Now everyone in the battalion could call home.

    At that point we became the most popular Air Force guys the Army had ever known…LOL…or at least it seemed that way to us. It’s amazing what enabling guys who hadn’t spoken to their wives and kids in months to do so will do for one’s reputation.

  48. Gavrilo says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    I’ve seen hardened lifetime criminals who would view the suggestion of a sentence in a typical prison with something like disinterest reduced to blubbering tears when Florence got introduced into the situation. They know what it means, and they’re terrified of it.

    We got a badass over here!

  49. Pinky says:

    You don’t know what information a spy might know. You don’t know what impact a statement by a convicted terrorist might have. Criminals have run organizations from inside prison. Isolation can be necessary. If I recall the Wikipedia article correctly, supermax facilities were first created because of prisoners attacking guards. The sterile efficiency is better than the filthy brutality that you might expect.

    And you shouldn’t assume that people are thinking in terms of vengeance rather than justice, or that people online are making any meaningful distinctions between the concepts. Remember that in most countries throughout history, these people would have been dealt with much more cruelly. We’re talking about whether we should pay for sex change operations for our prisoners. In most societies, the worst criminals would be dumped in a mud pit and left to (literally) rot.

    All that said, we do probably think too readily that “efficient” is the opposite of “cruel”.

  50. Tillman says:

    @Pinky: It’s not even that, and I didn’t mean to imply I’d endorse such. I’m against the death penalty for moral reasons. The cut costs you’d get from abolishing it is just icing on the cake for me, and Gavrilo seems like the type open to that sort of argument.

    Although we do have what looks like from the outside an inefficient justice system, not touching its other issues.

  51. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Gavrilo:

    Nah, just a former prosecutor, but thank you for you commentary. It adds SO much to the quality of the discussion around here … 😀

  52. Tillman says:

    @Gavrilo: People disagree on what constitutes “the worst punishment.” Our culture is predisposed to think the finality of death is worse than a lifetime lacking essential freedoms. I disagree.

  53. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Pinky:

    They can be earned as privileges, but it’s selected (targeted) reading material. The TV and radio are closed circuit and intended to be therapeutic / calming in nature, i.e. Classical music on the radio and black & white TV programming in the self-help / psychological vein. It’s not broadcast / outside world programming.

  54. C. Clavin says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    You’re more sympathetic to him than you’ve ever been towards me.

    And rightly so.

  55. Pinky says:

    @Tillman: I didn’t think you’d take that position for the cost reduction. That was my problem with it, actually. I can accept an anti-death penalty position based on ethics. I can’t accept one based on cost savings.

    I’ve heard the argument that in order to put someone to death, we have to go through a lot of legal steps which take time and money. Well, there are two ways to resolve that (three, if the state is allowed to sell the deceased prisoner’s organs).

  56. C. Clavin says:

    @Pinky:
    Selling organs????
    Now there’s an idea I can get behind.
    Although my liver may not be worth what it should be.
    Who needs a kidney? I’ve got an extra.

  57. Gavrilo says:

    @Tillman:

    Yes, but as I demonstrated, the vast majority of people who actually face that situation prefer a life in prison to a state execution. I have evidence on my side. You have your opinion on yours.

  58. Tillman says:

    @Gavrilo: Certainly. I did say the culture’s predisposed to thinking death is worse, didn’t I? 🙂

    However, the evidence doesn’t completely vindicate you. As this makes clear:

    [While on death row], they are generally isolated from other prisoners, excluded from prison educational and employment programs, and sharply restricted in terms of visitation and exercise, spending as much as 23 hours a day alone in their cells.

    This raises the question of whether death row prisoners are receiving two distinct punishments: the death sentence itself, and the years of living in conditions tantamount to solitary confinement – a severe form of punishment that may be used only for very limited periods for general-population prisoners.

    Moreover, unlike general-population prisoners, even in solitary confinement, death-row inmates live in a state of constant uncertainty over when they will be executed. For some death row inmates, this isolation and anxiety results in a sharp deterioration in their mental status.

    So we come back to what HL92’s been saying about prisoners trying to avoid solitary confinement on top of a death sentence. The link notes the typical death row inmate spends at least a decade in such status. This muddies the clarity you claim to have about the punishment the “death” part of “death sentence” carries.

  59. Tillman says:

    @Pinky:

    (three, if the state is allowed to sell the deceased prisoner’s organs).

    That would probably depend on how you’d go about killing an inmate. I don’t imagine lethal injection leaves…okay, I know nothing about the mechanism of lethal injection, but I speculate it would ruin some organs.

  60. Pinky says:

    @Tillman: I might be hitting this point unnecessarily, but again, the cost (in time and money) of the current system is only an argument against the current system; the possible changes to the system may not necessarily be more morally acceptable to you.

  61. C. Clavin says:

    @James P:
    That’s just utter nonsense…both of those things are proven to be counter-productive to fighting terrorism.
    I thought you and your phony PhD were asked to not comment here?
    So you’re a liar and a douche-bag?
    Go away, troll.

  62. Ken says:

    Folks, PLEASE IGNORE James P. He’s been banned by Joyner, and since this guy is too rude to take the hint, Joyner has been deleting his comments. So responding to him in any way is likely to leave you looking like you’re talking to air.

  63. C. Clavin says:

    @Ken:
    Yeah, yeah, yeah.
    If he’s banned block his IP address.

  64. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @C. Clavin:

    Obtaining a new IP address is no more difficult than putting one’s iPhone into airplane mode for a few seconds. Unfortunately, the only tactics that really work in dislodging trolls are 1) completely and totally ignoring them and 2) management removing their comments ASAP.

  65. James P says:

    @C. Clavin: The only person who asked me not to comment was the fraud using the HL92 handle. I don’t care what that poster thinks.

    I understand you libs don’t like your echo chamber disrupted because you can’t counter conservative points.

  66. HarvardLaw92 says:

    You have to admire, on some pathetic level anyway, the persistence of a troll. Even when they get overwhelmingly ignored, and their comments get deleted by the site owner, they keep coming back for more.

  67. James P says:

    @HarvardLaw92: Referencing me is not ignoring me, Sparky.