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A federal appeals court on Thursday ordered the case of the Boston Marathon bomber to be returned to a lower court to probe for juror bias.

The Boston-based 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals found that the trial judge did not adequately probe juror claims from Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's defense team. 

The defense had pushed for the court to throw out Tsarnaev’s death sentence while claiming bias by two people who sat on the jury that convicted him for his role in the bombing that killed three people and injured hundreds near the marathon's finish line in 2013. 

Oral arguments before the three-judge 1st Circuit panel more than a year ago focused on those two jurors who Tsarnaev's lawyers have alleged were dishonest during the lengthy jury selection process.


Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev

FILE: Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, convicted and sentenced to death for carrying out the Boston Marathon bombing attack on April 15, 2013, that killed three people and injured more than 260, is pictured in this photograph released by the Federal Bureau of Investigation on April 19, 2013.  (FBI via AP)

Tsarnaev's attorneys said one juror had retweeted a post calling Tsarnaev a "piece of garbage," despite having said she had not commented about the case online.

Another juror said none of his Facebook friends had commented on the trial, even though one had urged him to "play the part" so he could get on the jury and send Tsarnaev to "jail where he will be taken care of," defense attorneys said. 


Tsarnaev's lawyers raised these concerns during jury selection, but said the judge chose not to look into them further.

William Glaser, a Justice Department lawyer, acknowledged during oral arguments before the 1st Circuit appeals court that the jurors made inaccurate statements, but said other disclosures suggested they misremembered rather than lied. 

The appeals court has said the trial judge should hold a new penalty-phase trial to determine whether Tsarnaev should be sentenced to death if it is found that either juror should have been disqualified. 

Regardless of the outcome of the jury bias investigation, the three-judge panel of the appeals court emphasized that the only question would be whether Tsarnaev’s death sentence should stand. 

"[R]egardless of the outcome, he will spend the rest of his life in prison," a three-judge panel of the appeals court said.

The case has already been argued in front of the U.S. Supreme Court once. The high court in 2022 reinstated the death sentence imposed on 30-year-old Tsarnaev after the 1st Circuit threw out the sentence in 2020. 

Boston Marathon bomber wearing headphones

FILE: Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, arrested in the Boston Marathon bombing, is pictured in this handout photo presented as evidence by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Boston, Massachusetts on March 23, 2015.  R (REUTERS/U.S. Attorney's Office in Boston/Handout via Reuters)

Tsarnaev's is convicted in the deaths of Lingzi Lu, a 23-year-old Boston University graduate student from China; Krystle Campbell, a 29-year-old restaurant manager from Medford, Massachusetts; and 8-year-old Martin Richard, of Boston.

Defense lawyers argued that Tsarnaev had fallen under the influence of his older brother, Tamerlan, who died in a gun battle with police a few days after the April 15, 2013, bombing.


Tsarnaev was convicted of all 30 charges against him, including conspiracy and use of a weapon of mass destruction and the killing of Massachusetts Institute of Technology Police Officer Sean Collier during the Tsarnaev brothers' getaway attempt.

Fox News Digital has reached out to Tsarnaev's attorney and the U.S. attorney's office in Massachusetts for comment. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.