BOSTON — A federal judge has ruled that "betrayal of the United States" should not be a factor in considering if Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev gets the death penalty.
U.S. District Court Judge George O'Toole said Wednesday it was "highly inappropriate" for prosecutors to draw a distinction between a "naturalized" and "natural-born" U.S. citizen.
Federal prosecutors argue Tsarnaev deserves death, in part, because he betrayed his allegiance to the U.S. after it gave him and his Russian-born family asylum and citizenship more than a decade ago.
Tsarnaev's attorneys argued that the federal government has never cited a defendant's immigration history in nearly 500 previous death penalty cases.
O'Toole also issued a stern warning to prosecutors about current or former members of its team speaking to the media.