Should Dzhokhar Tsarnaev get the death penalty? Some believe his crimes so grotesque that only capital punishment will suffice. Others oppose the death penalty in all circumstances. Still others would consider it, but have doubts, and think there might be mitigating circumstances that have not yet appeared, perhaps related to Dzhokhar's youth, or to the influence that may have been exerted by this older brother.
This is why we have juries. The correct answer in this case is for the Justice Department aggressively to seek the death penalty, and allow the defense fully to give its answer. Then let the jury decide.
This case has enormous significance to a county in a war with Jihadist terrorism. It has numbing moral stakes that were thrust before our unwilling eyes in the gruesome pictures we saw two weeks ago. Such a case should not be resolved by a backroom plea bargain. Seldom in our history has there been better reason to use what the Founders gave us -- a public trial before a jury.
Spell it all out, every awful thing Dzhokhar did, and everything that might counsel mercy. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is an American citizen and deserves an open, public judgment. More importantly, so do we.
I make the case in my op-ed published this morning in Forbes.