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Contact: Michael Avitzur
Director of Government Relations

Statement from BBA President Julia Huston on the Sentencing Decision in the Boston Marathon Bombing Trial

First and foremost, our thoughts are with the survivors and the families of the victims of the Boston Marathon bombing.

While the Boston Bar Association opposes use of the death penalty in any case, we respect that it was a difficult process for each juror and we respect the legal process that was so carefully followed in this case.  I'm proud of what the BBA has added to the public discourse on this issue.

For the last 40 years, the Boston Bar Association has argued that the death penalty system is fundamentally inconsistent with the fair administration of our system of justice.

• The inevitability of error in criminal cases makes it overwhelmingly likely that reliance on the death penalty will lead to the execution of innocent defendants.
• In practice, the death penalty has a disproportionate impact on members of racial and ethnic minorities.
• Pursuit of the death penalty is an inordinately expensive gesture, inconsistent with the sensible allocation of resources in a criminal justice system already laboring under great financial strain.

As such, we are – and will continue to be – compelled to speak openly against capital punishment, even when the facts of a specific case do not appear to raise questions about innocence or discrimination.

The Boston Bar Association traces its origins to meetings convened by John Adams, who provided pro bono representation to the British soldiers prosecuted for the Boston Massacre and went on to become the nation’s second president. Its mission is to advance the highest standards of excellence for the legal profession, facilitate access to justice, serve the community at large and promote diversity and inclusion.