United States prosecutors urged a federal judge to reject the immediate appeal of Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev to have his conviction and death sentence overturned, saying he had a fair trial by an impartial jury.
Such an immediate appeal of a conviction is routine in any criminal case, but Tsarnaev’s lawyers argued in their appeal that the conviction should be overturned because he never received a fair trial.
The lawyers argued that the local jury had been prejudiced by the overwhelming publicity in the case; They argued that there was no way for jurors to avoid seeing news about the case on social media, especially during significant events such as the second anniversary of the attacks.
Prosecutors urged US District Judge George A. O’Toole Jr. to reject the request in a court filing Wednesday, saying the judge has already found that the jury was impartial.
“His new allegations in support of that argument are unproved, unsupported, and incorrect, and imputing bias to sitting jurors without evidence of actual partiality is contrary to law, regardless of the factual circumstances,” prosecutors argued in the court filing
O’Toole said lawyers for Tsarnaev can respond to the government’s arguments by October 15.
Tsarnaev, now 22, was sentenced to death in June for his role in the April 15, 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, which killed three people and injured more than 260. He was also convicted of charges related to a police shootout in Watertown and the fatal shooting of MIT police officer Sean Collier, and he received separate sentences of life in prison for those crimes.
His older brother and only known accomplice, Tamerlan, was killed during the confrontation with police in Watertown.
Tsarnaev’s death sentence will subjected to an automatic appeal. He is being held at the federal Supermax prison in Colorado.
The federal appeals court in Boston will review Tsarnaev’s appeal, but first O’Toole must decide on Tsarnaev’s immediate request to overturn the conviction.
Milton J. Valencia can be reached at MValencia@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @MiltonValencia