Alleged Boston Marathon Bomber's "Betrayal" of Citizenship Oath Won't Be Considered At Trial

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
June 19 2014 1:57 PM

Alleged Boston Marathon Bomber's "Betrayal" of Citizenship Oath Won't Be Considered At Trial

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Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

Photo provided by FBI via Getty Images

On Wednesday a federal judge ruled that "betrayal of the United States" should not be considered as a factor in determining if Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, should he be convicted, should be executed.

Prosecutors argued that the 20-year-old Russian-born immigrant deserves the death penalty for betraying the oath of allegiance he took when he and his family were granted citizenship and asylum from the United States over a decade ago, but U.S. District Judge George O'Toole said he regarded the prosecution’s attempts to distinguish naturalized US citizens from natural-born ones as “highly inappropriate" and "unduly prejudicial."

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Tsarnaev has pleaded not guilty to the charges brought against him—conspiring with his brother Tamerlan Tsarnaev and planting two bombs that killed three people and injured 260 others during the Boston marathon in April 2013. Tamerlan, 26, died after a gun battle with police days after the blasts.

Tsarnaev​'s trial is scheduled to start in November and his lawyers also face a Wednesday deadline to make their case to have the trial moved outside Boston on the grounds that intense media coverage of the case may have prejudiced potential jurors.

Irene Chidinma Nwoye is a writer and former Slate intern in New York City. Follow her on Twitter.

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