Attorney General Eric Holder is set to decide whether to pursue the death penalty for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, and the decision may not be as easy as some people think.

There is little argument about the strength of the case against Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, charged with 30 criminal counts in connection with the blasts that killed three and wounded more than 260 others. There are photographs of Tsarnaev allegedly planting explosives at the site of one of the bombings. Yet the government's record in carrying out the death penalty is mixed at best, and there are conflicting views about whether the often-delayed penalty is an appropriate punishment if the 20-year-old defendant is convicted in the bombing case, USA Today reports.

Since the federal death penalty was reinstated in 1988, only three offenders have been executed and none in the past 10 years.

In the case of Tsarnaev, there are other potentially complicating factors at play for the federal government in Massachusetts, a state long opposed to the death penalty.

 

 

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