Utah lawmakers will likely not deal with a change in Utah’s murderer execution
method during the 2012 Legislature.
“The issue has been discussed,” said Ric Cantrell, chief of staff of the Utah
“But there is no bill file for it, there is no sponsor, there is no immediate
need,” said Cantrell.
The bill filing deadline has passed for the 45-day general session, which ends
March 8. A death penalty bill could be filed, but only with a majority vote of
either the House or Senate.
Cantrell and Sen. Lyle Hillyard, R-Logan, an attorney who often carries bills
desired by state court personnel and prosecutors, told UtahPolicy that the
governor’s Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice has recently discussed
Utah’s death penalty problems.
Like other states, Utah law says that murderers sentenced to death should be
killed with an injection of a combination of lethal drugs. However, one of
those drugs is no longer manufactured in the U.S.
That means states must get that drug from outside of the country, if they no
longer have stocks of it here.
Accordingly, Utah officials say, CCJJ officials have talked to leading
legislators about whether state law should be changed to have a firing squad
execution as a fall back procedure if the lethal drugs can’t be obtained.
The issue comes up at the same time as a Utah judge has decided to honor the
request of death row inmate Michael Archuleta who has chosen the firing squad.
Archuleta is sentenced to die April 5 for a 1988 murder.
When Archuleta was originally sentenced, Utah had the option of a firing squad
– and indeed a Utah inmate was shot to death in 2010 under the same
grandfathered in fire squad clause.
Reinstating the firing squad may be dealt with in a future legislative session,
said Cantrell. “But we don’t see the need to do so now.
(source: Utah Pulse)