Criminal Justice

Boston Bar opposes federal death penalty, cites 'inevitability of error'


The Boston Bar Association has taken a stand against capital punishment at the federal level as prosecutors consider whether to seek the death penalty against the suspected Boston Marathon bomber, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

The Boston bar announced its position on Tuesday in a press release, saying the stance is based on a study (PDF) by the bar’s Death Penalty Working Group. The Boston Globe has coverage.

The Boston bar group already opposes the death penalty in Massachusetts, which does not impose capital punishment. The study cited these concerns:

• The “inevitability of error” in criminal cases.

• The death penalty’s disproportionate impact on racial and ethnic minorities.

• The expense and prolonged delays of death penalty prosecutions.

The ABA does not take a stance on the death penalty per se. Its Death Penalty Due Process Review Project promotes fairness in the system of capital punishment and encourages adoption of ABA protocols for fair administration of the death penalty.

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