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Marathon bomber got a federal Covid-19 relief payment; government wants it applied toward the restitution he owes

Federal prosecutors today asked a judge to order Dzokhar Tsarnaev to hand over a Covid-19 relief check he got last year - and donations he's received from people across the country - to help pay off some small portion of the $101.1 million in restitution he was ordered to pay for his role in the Boston Marathon bombings and the death of an MIT police officer in 2013.

In a filing in US District Court in Boston, prosecutors said Tsarnaev got a $1,400 Covid-19 payment on June 22, 2021 and that he has received $11,230 in donations between 2016 and June, 2021, some from three people who sent him monthly payments for several years.

The money went into his prison trust account, from which he spent $2,000 for gifts and books for family members, prosecutors say. He has paid roughly $2,200 towards restitution, they add.

In its motion, the US Attorney's office asked that all of the money he has received from the Covid relief program and outside sources be transferred from the commissary account to "the Clerk of Court as payment toward the outstanding criminal monetary penalties imposed against the Defendant."

Tsarnaev now lives in a 7x12 cell at a federal "supermax" prison in Colorado.

Tsarnaev's sentencing also included being put to death because the bombs he and his brother set off along Boylston Street in Copley Square killed Krystle Campbell, Lingzi Lu, and Martin Richard and injured hundreds more along Boylston Street - and for the ambush gunning down of MIT police officer Sean Collier as they later tried to escape. A federal appeals court ordered a new trial on whether he should die or spend the rest of his life in prison; the US Supreme Court is now considering the case.

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The fact that he got a federal Covid-19 relief payment is proof of how broken the system is. Where is congressional oversight when you need it? Warren, Markey, McGovern, Neal, et al?


The payment was lawful. We follow the rule of law in this country. The system did what it was supposed to do, follow the law.

Incarcerated citizens were eligible for all 3 COVID stimulus payments. Congress passed the bills, two different presidents signed the respective bills into law. In March, Sen. Tom Cotton made a big deal about it for the 3rd bill, even though he was cool with it when he voted for the first two. He even named Tsarnaev in his criticism.


It's the game that's faulty. It makes no sense that someone residing in a supermax prison, and has been residing there since at least 2016, was eligible for the stimulus. I'd bring it out to prisoners in general, but yes, there are some who are only serving relatively short sentences, but lifers really cannot stimulate the economy to the extent that those on the outside can. That was the point of these checks, to help keep the economy going.


figuring out every possible permutation of "someone could get this check who doesn't deserve it" is and was a lot harder and slower than just saying "let's just give these checks out right away to help those who need it right away, and we'll get it back at tax time or another time". You know, like we're doing right now.


There were so many comments about the stimulus checks along the lines of "I don't mind people getting them, but they should be limiting them to only those who need them."

My response was always to point out how many years it took to figure out the disbursement of the funds for 9/11 victim families and the gulf oil spill victims.

We were in a crisis situation so there was no time to try to filter current and specific need. The feds just had to use last year's income information to go off of because it was what was readily available.


and humanity is not destroyed, lifers will be among those that benefit. Too bad, I suppose, but I can't see putting the project on hold while we design a technology to let through only those bits that are on a trajectory to hit maximum-security prisons.

Due to the fact that this was based on income and not wealth in other forms, people like Elon Musk could have received stimulus checks. In fact, I bet he did. Sure, this would be lawful and following the system - but it's still wrong.

This infuriates me. He doesn't deserve the stimulus but I don't see a way it could have
been stopped.

I guess he was a taxpayer, the bastard.

And who the hell is sending donations!


There is a subculture of women who have a thing for men in prison. It could be them sending donations.

It could have been stopped if the 6th Amendment guarantee to a speedy trial had been honored. If it had been, then Tsarnaev's case would have been adjudicated and his sentence carried out in 2014 or 2015 and he would be long dead.

Yet here we are, nine years after the bombing, twiddling our thumbs waiting for the Supreme Court to write a lengthy decision over an open and shut case. Just imagine how many millions of dollars has been paid to his lawyers since 2013.


6th amendment is for the rights of the accused, not the convenience of the State.


It's a double edged sword.

It protects only the rights of the accused:

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial,


The 6th amendment is a single sentence. "the accused" is the subject of that sentence. Everything in it is about the rights of the accused.

And yet the same process requirement that protects people from languishing while eager to prove their innocence, would also ensure that people who commit capital crimes are swiftly punished. It's a double edged sword.

Taking time to make sure we're doing things right before we take an irreversible action doesn't seem like any kind of flaw to me.

process requirement that protects people from languishing while eager to prove their innocence

In what country does this happen?

invoked the 6th amendment to try to force an earlier trial date? I think that would provoke a stern response from the judge, probably expressing some doubt about whether the prosecutor ever actually attended law school.