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Attorneys for Boston Marathon bomber get 10 extra days to respond to government request for SCOTUS review of ruling tossing death penalty

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. (FBI via AP, File)Associated Press

Lawyers for Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev on Tuesday were granted 10 extra days to respond to the government’s request to have the Supreme Court review an appellate ruling that vacated his death sentence.

The extension means lawyers for Tsarnaev, 27, now have until Dec. 17 to file their response to the government’s request, known as a petition for a writ of certiorari, legal filings show.

Tsarnaev’s team had sought to push the deadline back to Jan. 6.

If the Supreme Court agrees to take up the matter, it could reinstate Tsarnaev’s death sentence or affirm the July appeals court ruling that tossed it. Either way, Tsarnaev will remain behind bars for life, court records show.


The potential showdown before the high court comes after the US Court of Appeals for the First Circuit ruled that Tsarnaev’s entitled to a re-trial for the penalty phase only, citing factors including revelations that two of the 12 jurors didn’t fully disclose what they knew about the case, or discussed it on social media before they were chosen to decide Tsarnaev’s fate.

He was convicted in 2015 and sentenced to death for his role in the April 15, 2013 bombings, which killed three people including an 8-year-old boy and wounded hundreds more people. Tsarnaev and his older brother, Tamerlan, also killed an MIT police officer while they were on the run. Tamerlan Tsarnaev died in a confrontation with police in Watertown days after the blasts.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is currently incarcerated at a federal supermax prison in Colorado.

Travis Andersen can be reached at