Utah House panel advances bill to end death penalty

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  • justclem Salt Lake City, UT
    March 16, 2018 12:49 p.m.

    We need to bring back public lynchings after a speedy trial, please. Twenty consecutive life sentences is joke, life is life. Lynch them and get it over with.

  • Creighton Portland, OR
    Feb. 24, 2018 1:24 a.m.

    I prosecuted over a dozen capital cases in Utah. Some murderers I prosecuted have been executed, and one is currently on death row. I am a member of an organization called “Public Safety Officials on the Death Penalty.” For those who might be interested in a first-hand account of how I went from a capital case prosecutor to one who opposes the death penalty, I have posted on their website an in-depth analysis of my experiences and my views, under the heading “Why We’re Concerned.”

  • Deadeye10 Bear River City, UT
    Feb. 22, 2018 3:40 p.m.

    I’m sorry, folks, but anyone who does not think that a properly administered death sentence would not deter some would be murderers and save countless lives in the process, doesn’t have the IQ of a turnip. Why do you think 99.9% of those sitting on death row fight so hard to stay alive?

    The answer is to have two levels of guilt: the first being guilty beyond any doubt, and the second being guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Those that commit a capital crime and are found guilty beyond any doubt should have no appeals and be executed within two weeks, and those found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt should be given a lifetime sentence with no possibility of parole and only given appeals with reasonable justification.

    With this lead to innocent people being executed? I don’t think so, but I know that scores of innocent lives would be saved, including lives that are taken inside the prison system. As an added bonus, hundreds of millions of dollars would also be saved to the taxpayer.

  • VIDAR Murray, UT
    Feb. 22, 2018 10:46 a.m.

    The work of the innocence project has led to 354 DNA exonerations and 152 alternative perpetrators identified. 20 of these were on death row. The average time served was 14 years. Our system has too many faults for the death penalty: Incentivized informants, inadequate defense, misapplication of forensic science, government misconduct, false confessions or admissions, eyewitness misidentification all are serious issues that have led to the conviction of innocent citizens. Some say the problem is the death penalty takes too long. I would ask would you be ok then with the 20 innocent citizens that would have been executed? This kind of “fast track” execution only covers up the mistakes of our system which cannot be remedied later.

  • Grandfather Ogden, UT
    Feb. 22, 2018 10:21 a.m.

    Slaughtering our children qualifies as conduct demanding the death penalty. We shoot rabid dogs. The tried and true trifecta in the Criminal Justice system is, "Justice is equity. Justice is mercy. Justice is what the judge says it is." In the mix of all choices, there should continue to exist all choices. There come times when "equity" or an "eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth" is the called for, extreme remedy for conduct abhorrent beyond human imagination and condition. Without that remedy, we don't have the full measure of justice choices upon which to rely. There are indeed circumstances and persons that dictate the necessity for the application of this absolute, extreme choice ... the death penalty. By abolishing the death penalty, are we admitting that we do not have a system or persons intellectually or humanely qualified or competent to appropriately and justly administer it? Lest we lose track of those victimized, closure is in fact humane.

  • VIDAR Murray, UT
    Feb. 22, 2018 10:17 a.m.

    kolob1 - Sandy, UT

    So serving 10-35 years in prison and then being released because someone proved you were innocent all along is justice? true some justice; but how to do restore all the lost years of life?

  • drich Green River, Utah
    Feb. 22, 2018 8:21 a.m.

    Change the judiciary system. Those that commit the crime and found guilty should get the death penalty especially murder. Forget plea deals like we have seen in the tragedy in Florida and appeals so lawyers can get rich off tax payers. Giving them life, whose going to pay for the criminal we room and board, we the tax payers. We are not saving any money.

  • I M LDS 2 Provo, UT
    Feb. 22, 2018 6:40 a.m.

    So let me see if I understand this:

    Opposing the death penalty is a liberal thing when you oppose it on principle

    Opposing the death penalty is a conservative thing when you oppose it on economic grounds

    What does that say about "conservative values"?

  • Diligent Dave Logan, UT
    Feb. 22, 2018 4:23 a.m.

    Much talk is again in the news about gun control. How about justly putting to death those convicted murderer and in a much briefer time frame than we have for decades?

    God commands us to do so, IMO, as much to make it a real deterrence, as to enact true justice. And by never doing so, and rightly using the death penalty against murder, we never make it a genuine deterrence against this heinous crime.

    If we say that it should only be used with people like Ted Bundy, or the Las Vegas shooter, among others guilty of multiple murders, are we not saying that the life of any murderer thereby is worth more than that of the victims? Why need there be multiple victims for a person to pay the same penalty they enact upon their victim, even if they do so against only one victim?

  • MGySgtUSMC St. George , UT
    Feb. 21, 2018 9:45 p.m.

    While in college one of my instructors was a former guard at the Utah State Prison. In a discussion, after class, the subject of the death penalty came up. Many were for it, some against it. Finally our instructor gave his opinion. He said that the Death Penalty was not the best punishment for death penalty candidates. If you really want to punish them give them life in prison without parole. After hearing his reasoning I changed my opinion. For me it is life without parole, a real death penalty.

  • utahute69 Laguna Niguel, CA
    Feb. 21, 2018 9:06 p.m.

    Before we argue life vs death for murder we should ask why there is such a great disparity when handing out penalties for the same crime. The punishment for murder is often a relatively short period of time especially with plea bargaining. How someone gets 10 to 25 for murder regardless of being a first or second degree event is difficult to understand. Why would someone that didn't murder anyone can get a 25 or 30 year sentence for a serious but not deadly crime? I am also disturbed that one person can get life in prison in one state but could be executed in another state. Just think about Ted Bundy. If anyone deserved the death penalty it was Ted. But he fled to Florida and was executed for his multiple murders in that state. Had he fled to California and committed multiple murders, he would be alive today, and living in a private cell with Direct TV. Personally, I am against the death penalty. But, I like having on the books for that exceptional case. Also, at some point, I am sure there will come a time when there will be those that will consider life in prison as cruel and unusual. Keep the death penalty on the books.

  • Little Andy Tremonton, UT
    Feb. 21, 2018 8:47 p.m.

    What is the difference anyway. It takes thirty years for them to carry out the death penalty anyway.

  • Gkwahlberg Taylorsville, UT
    Feb. 21, 2018 7:36 p.m.

    I am not in support of this. The death penalty should be rarely used but it needs to be on the table for horrendous crimes.

  • NeilT Ogden, UT
    Feb. 21, 2018 7:32 p.m.

    The death penalty is all about revenge and nothing to do with justice. Justice is administered by a higher power. Closure comes from forgiveness and relying on the savour not from taking a life. Many victims don't support the death penalty. Executions never brought a loved one back.

  • Harrison Bergeron Holladay , UT
    Feb. 21, 2018 5:16 p.m.

    Substituting a greater injustice for a lesser injustice does not equal justice.

    In layman's terms: two wrongs don't make a right. In trying to right potential handful of injustices, you would deny justice from the 99.9% who deserve it. You would rob justice from all of the murderers' victims, their families and society as a whole.

    On April 19, 2005 Timothy McVeigh attacked and killed 168 people (including 19 children) and injured over 600. Many of the survivors are left with permanent physical and emotional trauma; 219 children lost one or both parents.

    In just this one example, in order to prevent a handful of "greater" injustices, you would deny justice from Timothy McVeigh, the 168 people he killed, their families and society as a whole. Now multiply that by all of the terrible killers and their victims. It's like trading a car wreck for holocaust.

    Let's just try to improve our justice system to prevent wrongful convictions.

  • JLindow St George, UT
    Feb. 21, 2018 4:59 p.m.

    "There have been no innocent people executed in Utah under state law"

    With the possible exception of Joe Hill, executed in 1915. Which would be 1 out of 51 over a 150 year time span.

    The number of people killed in homicides per year in Utah is greater than the number of people lawfully* executed over its entire history.

    *Mountain Meadows Massacre not included.

  • kolob1 Sandy, UT
    Feb. 21, 2018 4:47 p.m.

    For those of you who like to use the word justice please note. Justice is the result of the legal process. Nowhere does it say justice is fair. A person who is released from death row through new DNA evidence has received justice . An innocent person who is executed after trial has received justice. Justice is not kool aid or a magic formulae. It is simply the end result, whether you like it or not. Justice is no more and no less. My law professor told me if you are looking for justice you'll find it in the dictionary, waiting. That is why Justice is blind. It should be fair and applied evenly but the result is still defined as justice.

  • kolob1 Sandy, UT
    Feb. 21, 2018 4:31 p.m.

    The Salt Lake Tribune published a statement from the Sponsor of the bill who claimed that abolishing the death penalty is a conservative cause. As a Liberal and an opponent of the death penalty I say "Quiet please". Let's not kill the goose if he is going to lay a golden egg that we favor. Besides only a conservative in Utah could pull it off. All of the conservative
    arguments would be worthless if they were uttered by a Liberal so "Quiet please."

  • furymouse Draper, UT
    Feb. 21, 2018 4:30 p.m.

    "There have been no innocent people executed in Utah under state law"

    That's great. Let's keep it that way. End the death penalty.

  • Occidentali Los Angeles, CA
    Feb. 21, 2018 3:51 p.m.

    Why would society choose to give up on of the greatest deterrents to premeditated murder? In case someone is wrongly convicted? "Proof beyond a reasonable doubt" should put everyone's mind at ease, or else society should give up on the administration of criminal justice. Waiting decades to carry out the sentence of the court is not justice.

  • No One Of Consequence West Jordan, UT
    Feb. 21, 2018 3:47 p.m.

    The problem with life without the possibly of parole is that there is the possibility of escape, and worse yet, the possibility of some future "enlightened" parties setting that person free.

  • BigLib Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 21, 2018 3:41 p.m.

    Very disappointed in Republican leadership for advancing this Bill. Death penalty is the ultimate deterrent to repeat offenders. It should not be abolished. People who are murdered deserve justice.

  • bamafone Salem, UT
    Feb. 21, 2018 3:39 p.m.

    There have been no innocent people executed in Utah under state law, so I take exception to your blanket statement. We are talking about Utah law. Those who have died here received what was deserved. Heinous behavior warrants justice. Misguided lawmakers, courts, and lawyers have perverted justice, and are in the process of doing it again. Shameful

  • Palmetto Bug Columbia, SC
    Feb. 21, 2018 3:31 p.m.

    "Andrew Peterson, the state's capital case coordinator, said none of the men on Utah's death row are innocent."

    I would certainly hope the state isn't housing innocent people on death row. If so, we should definitely stop doing that.

    The fact that there's even a remote possibility of executing an innocent person should be reason enough to end capital punishment. Death sentences are often discriminatory which suggests justice is not fairly or evenly administered for the equivalent crimes.

    I feel for the victims and survivors but don't think capital punishment is the right solution. I could see an exception for the most extreme of extreme circumstances but I don't know how to draw that line.

  • Alfred Springville, UT
    Feb. 21, 2018 3:23 p.m.

    The death penalty should be administered to people like the Las Vegas killer who shot and killed 58 and left many more wounded and the kid in Florida who shot and killed 17 high school students and left many more wounded. Yes! Definitely!

  • furymouse Draper, UT
    Feb. 21, 2018 3:14 p.m.

    Innocent people have been executed. That is enough for me to say abolish the death penalty.

  • Astoria Jim Mamaroneck, NY
    Feb. 21, 2018 3:06 p.m.

    Samuel Leibowitz, a judge in Brooklyn, New York in the 1940s, explained his support for the death penalty by recounting exchanges he had had with numerous prisoners he was sentencing for felonies in which they had used firearms. Judge Leibowitz often asked the perpetrators why they did not shoot it out with the officers who arrested them, and the answer was always the same: "I was afraid of the electric chair." If fear of the death penalty might prevent criminals from taking the lives of police officers who were pursuing them, wouldn't this alone be reason for retaining the death penalty in Utah...and bringing it back in my home state of New York?

  • Samson01 S. Jordan, UT
    Feb. 21, 2018 2:58 p.m.

    I will not accept the argument that the death penalty should be abolished for moral reasons. I accept the justice of the death penalty.

    However, I would accept the cost/economics arguments of abolishing the death penalty. The lag of decades and endless appeals and the continued suffering of the victims families are also good reasons for abolition. It seems odd to me that the cost of lifetime incarceration is less expensive than putting to death a killer. So be it.

    Please, don't assume moral objection. Make the case and then vote on it. I would love to see a citizen vote on this issue.

  • Rick for Truth Provo, UT
    Feb. 21, 2018 2:40 p.m.

    I believe in the death penalty. We need to streamline the endless appeal process and bring about the death sentence a lot faster than the typical 10+ years.
    I do not believe these despicable criminals deserve to live out their lives in the general prison population, possibly inflicting death on other inmates.
    I would accept a “Dearth Row”, where those given a death sentence were permanently placed in individual cells, only 1 hour a day in a exercise room, administrative segregation with no contact with other prisoners, with only privileges currently allowed those on death row such as law library.