ACLU responds to decision to seek death penalty against Dzhokhar Tsarnaev

Massachusetts has repeatedly rejected the death penalty, and we must stay true to our values even—and especially—in a case like this.

The following statement may be attributed to ACLU of Massachusetts executive director Carol Rose:

"The ACLU is disappointed that Attorney General Holder has authorized prosecutors to seek the death penalty against Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. The ACLU opposes the death penalty in all cases, because it is discriminatory and arbitrary, and because it inherently violates the Constitutional ban against cruel and unusual punishment.

"In this case, it is important to keep in mind that the people of Massachusetts, through their elected representatives, have repeatedly rejected the death penalty. Even shortly after the horrible Boston Marathon bombing, a Boston Globe poll found that the people of Boston said two-to-one that they would prefer a sentence of life without parole for Tsarnaev, if he is convicted.

"After the Marathon attack, this community rallied around the slogan "Boston Strong." Even—and especially—in case like this, that means not letting terrorists or anyone else shake us from our values."

Read Carol's piece, Vengeance Is Not Justice: Some Thoughts On Tsarnaev And The Death Penalty, at WBUR's Cognoscenti.

For additional media coverage of the ACLU's involvement in issues raised by the Boston Marathon bombings, go to: