Friday, June 20, 2014
Here is some immigration-related news from the Boston Marathon bomber case. A federal judge ruled on Wednesday that the oath of citizenship cannot be used against accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev at his coming trial.
When the government announced its intentio to seek the death penalty against Tsarnaev, it alleged a number of aggravating factors and described Tsarnaev’s actions as “especially heinous, cruel and depraved,” thus justifying the death penalty. The “aggravating factors” included the multiple killings, the death of a child, the large crowd that the Boston Marathon draws, the iconic event and the shootout that Tsarnaev allegedly engaged in with police several days after the bombings. Tsarnaev’s attorneys objected to the government’s listing of “betrayal of the United States” as another aggravating factor. It was, according to the government, a betrayal of the oath he took when he became a U.S. citizen: “I will bear true faith and allegiance.”
Tsarnaev, an ethnic Chechen whose family came from Dagestan, took that oath seven months before the bombings that killed three, injured 260 others and led to the shooting death of a police officer.
“He betrayed his allegiance to the United States by killing and maiming people,” the government asserted in January.
In a status conference Wednesday, Judge George O’Toole granted a defense motion and dismissed the government allegation as “unduly prejudicial.”“Drawing a distinction between naturalized and natural-born is highly inappropriate,” O’Toole said.