Last year, President Joe Biden sent $1400 checks to eligible Americans, including convicted Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. Whoops.
Previously, Biden has spoken out against the death penalty. Now the Biden administration wants to put Tsarnaev on death row and let the money go wherever it may.
Meanwhile, federal prosecutors are less interested in re-sentencing Tsarnaev. Instead, they are focusing on allocating that money to Tsarnaev’s victims, regardless of Tsarnaev’s sentence.
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Since 1973, over 160 individuals in this country have been sentenced to death and were later exonerated. Because we can’t ensure that we get these cases right every time, we must eliminate the death penalty. https://t.co/o9LQHWwmt7
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) July 25, 2019
Federal prosecutors have pointed out that Tsarnaev was ordered to pay several million dollars to his victims and remains in debt.
In a filing Wednesday, the U.S. attorney’s office in Boston asked a judge to order the federal Bureau of Prisons to turn the money over to the Clerk of the Court “as payment towards his outstanding criminal monetary penalties, including unpaid special assessment and restitution.”
In addition to the stimulus payment, Tsarnaev, who’s being held at a maximum security prison in Florence, Colorado, has received money from dozens of sources during his incarceration, including the federal public defender’s office and regular payments from individuals living in Indiana, New Jersey and Maryland, according to the filing by acting U.S. Attorney for Massachusetts, Nathaniel Mendell.
As of Dec. 22, Tsarnaev had $3,885 and change in his account.
He was convicted in 2015 of 30 charges in connection with the 2013 bombing at the Boston Marathon finish line that killed three spectators and injured more than 260 others. In 2016 he was ordered to pay a $3,000 special assessment and more than $101 million in criminal restitution.
So far, Tsarnaev has paid a little more than $2,200 of that, all toward the assessment, according to the filing.
And although he has not paid a penny in restitution, Tsarnaev has used his inmate account to pay his siblings for items such as “gifts,” “support,” and “books,” according to the filing.
“The United States submits that the requested relief is reasonable and appropriate in this instance, especially in light of the defendant prioritizing payments to his siblings over the victims of his crimes,” prosecutors wrote.
An email seeking comment was left with Tsarnaev’s attorneys.
Tsarnaev was originally sentenced to death, but the federal appeals court in Boston threw out the death sentence in July 2020 because, it said, the judge at his trial did not do enough to ensure the jury would not be biased against him. He is currently serving a life sentence.
The Biden administration has asked the Supreme Court to reinstate Tsarnaev’s death sentence. The high court heard arguments in October but has yet to rule.
However, President Joe Biden — a former public defender — has previously expressed opposition to the death penalty. In fact, he has become the first and only U.S. president to openly oppose the death penalty.
Last year, Attorney General Merrick Garland paused all federal executions, in order to perform a review.
In August, Biden was pressed on this issue by 17 Senate Democrats, most notably Majority Whip Dick Durbin of Illinois.
Those 17 senators called on the Biden administration to stop adding names to death row, due to concerns about race, double standards, and wrongful convictions.
“There are serious concerns about arbitrariness in the application of the death penalty, its disparate impact on people of color, and the alarming number of exonerations in capital cases,” the Senators wrote.
“These concerns justify not only a review of the procedures for carrying out the death penalty, but also support halting its use—including prohibiting federal prosecutors from seeking the death penalty—during the review process.”
The senators made no mention of crime in their letter.
The administration of former President Donald Trump renewed the federal death penalty in 2020, amid a reported uptick in violent crime.
The Associated Press contributed to this article.