James Alan Fox offers insight on Boston bombing suspect’s fate

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Boston bombing suspect’s fate: Column

By James Alan Fox | USA Today

Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is scheduled to appear in federal court today for his arraignment, and some victims and their families are expected to attend. When the 30-count indictment against him was announced last month, U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz indicated that the 19-year-old defendant, if convicted of murdering three spectators during the race and an MIT police officer days later, would face life in prison or the death penalty. Consistent with Justice Department procedure, Ortiz would consult with the victims’ families before making a recommendation of whether the federal government should seek to execute Tsarnaev.

Hopefully, this stage of the decision-making process is more about political correctness than public policy. It is certainly appropriate for the victims to be kept informed about important developments in the case. However, the preferences of victims should not guide either prosecutorial strategy or sentencing decisions.

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Lessons from crime lab scandal

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By James Alan Fox | Boston.com | September 25, 2012

The third time will be anything but a charm for a 48-year-old Texas inmate who will return to the state’s execution chamber after twice before coming within hours of getting the needle. Cleve Foster, a former army recruiter who was convicted a decade ago of murdering a Ft. Worth woman, will repeat today a bizarre death ritual that has become all too familiar.

One again, Foster will be escorted by van the hour-long trip from his prison cell in West Livingston to the lethal injection chamber in Huntsville. Once again he will sit in silent solitude awaiting his fate and praying that the U.S. Supreme Court will intercede as it had twice before. Once again he will be served a last meal, whether or not justice will be served afterwards. Only this time, Foster will not have his choice of menu, as this long-practice gesture of mercy was banned last year by order of Texas Department of Criminal Justice.
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