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Boston Bar Association against death penalty

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BOSTON (MyFoxBoston.com) – The oldest bar association in the United States is publicly speaking out against capital punishment as feds consider pursuing the death penalty in two high-profile local cases.

The Boston Bar Association released a study Tuesday expressing what the Boston Globe describes as the organization's strongest opposition to federal capital punishment in its history.

The organization released the announcement as federal prosecutors are deciding whether to pursue the death penalty against alleged Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. Prosecutors also continue to seek capital punishment for admitted serial killer Gary Lee Sampson, the Globe reported.

"Without equivocation, the death penalty has no place in the fair administration of justice and makes no sense on a practical level," Bar Association President Paul T. Dacier said in a Globe article.

Dacier authorized the review of the bar's standpoint on the death penalty this past summer. Dacier said that, regardless of the crime, the bar is strongly against the death penalty in federal and state cases.

They cited several arguments to back up their stance, including the "inevitability of error" in criminal cases; the fact that the death penalty has disproportionately affected minorities; and the costs related to death penalty cases are greater than other cases. The bar's research also found that the chances that a defendant would be given the death penalty were 4.3 times higher if the victim was white than if the victim was black.

Over the past 40 years, researchers found that more than 100 defendants given the death penalty were wrongfully convicted, the Globe reported.

For more: BostonGlobe.com.

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