An Argument For Letting Tsarnaev “Drift Off Into The Obscurity” Of Prison


Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s conviction in the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing was no surprise. Criminologist James Alan Fox of Northeastern University writes in USA Today that “the federal government should have saved time and great expense by negotiating a guilty plea in exchange for a life sentence,” as it did in the case of Unabomber Theodore Kaczynski. Fox adds that persuading the jury to recommend the execution of Tsarnaev, which requires a unanimous vote, is not the “slam dunk that characterized the uncontested guilt portion of the trial.”

Despite the horror of the bombings and the terror-filled days before the massive manhunt ended, it is hard to argue that Tsarnaev, 21, qualifies as the “worst of the worst,” the criterion often used in deciding who should be executed, Fox says. Were it not for the influence of his late brother Tamerlan, Fox says, Dzhokhar “might still be just a struggling college student contend to smoke weed with his buddies in his dorm room.” Fox recommends not transforming “amateur terrorist” Tsarnaev into a martyr with an execution but letting him “drift off into the obscurity of some dark and distant prison cell without the continued news media focus that an execution would bring.”

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