Federalism and Capital Punishment
posted by Gerard Magliocca
I want to add one aside to the capture of the suspect in Boston last night. It is possible that he will be charged with federal crimes related to terrorism. If so, then he could be eligible for the death penalty. Massachusetts, on the other hand, does not have the death penalty for state crimes.
I’ve posted before about the federalism issue presented by this sort of situation. Of course the U.S. Attorney can seek the death penalty, but is that the right thing to do when the state where the prosecution will occur opposes the death penalty? Will a Massachusetts jury even apply the death penalty? Long way to go before those decisions get made, of course, but it’s worth thinking about.