Letter: Death penalty cost considerations

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  • NoNamesAccepted St. George, UT
    March 21, 2018 9:36 p.m.


    "1. There is no evidence ...."

    No one executed has ever reoffended, included killing guards or fellow prisoners.

    "2. The death penalty is used disproportionately..."

    The wealthy--including OJ--can always afford a better defense than the poor. The poor and minorities end up prison more than wealthy whites. Shall we eliminate all penalties for crime?

    "3. The risk .. innocent person ..."

    Has never happened in Utah under modern rules. There is zero doubt about the guilt of any of the 7 men we've executed here. You cannot return years spent rotting in a cell. Avoid convicting innocent men, and there is no risk.

    "4. In some countries.."

    This has what to do with Utah laws?

    "5. It could be you ...."

    Only if we commit a capital offense.

    "6. It costs more taxpayer ..."

    It costs more to lock someone up than to let him roam free. It costs more to provide due process than to lynch someone. It often costs more to do the right thing.

    "7. Jesus wouldn't do it."

    You can't prove that. But if you want to bring religion into this public debate, will you accept me bringing religion into debates about abortion, the definition of marriage, or other issues?

  • bluecollar Kearns, UT
    March 21, 2018 8:24 p.m.

    1. There is no evidence the death penalty deters crime or increases public safety.
    2. The death penalty is used disproportionately against poor persons and persons of color.
    3. The risk of executing an innocent person can never be eliminated. Many innocent persons have been put to death and others have been executed despite serious doubt about their guilt.
    4. In some countries, the death penalty has been used by persons in power to punish their political opponents.
    5. It could be you or someone you love.
    6. It costs more taxpayer money to execute a prisoner than to keep him/her in prison for life.
    7. Jesus wouldn't do it.

    In no particular order.

  • barfolomew Tooele, UT
    March 21, 2018 9:24 a.m.

    @ Thomas Jefferson

    You decry the death penalty yet you advocate for elective abortion.

    You don't want to execute someone who egregiously murders people, yet you don't mind taking an innocent human life even before it has a chance to see the light of day.

    How do you reconcile these opposing thoughts?

  • barfolomew Tooele, UT
    March 21, 2018 8:40 a.m.

    @ ConservativeCommonTater

    "If the evidence against someone is mostly circumstantial, then the death penalty should not be used..."

    No one under our Constitution should be convicted of anything based on circumstantial evidence. That would indicate a reasonable doubt.

    That being said, I wholeheartedly agree with both you and @ Lia that the sentence should be carried out much more quickly than it is now. Our letter writer cites the millions of dollars it costs to have someone put to death. However, carrying out the execution is certainly not that costly. The cost incurred is the 30 years of incarceration and the myriad of appeals afforded to these animals.

    I also have an issue with this touchy-feely attitude about executing these people "nicely." A man who rapes and kills little girls, for example, should not be afforded the luxury of being, "put to sleep." Executions need to be done the old fashioned way: electric chair, firing squad, hanging. Their murderous actions were certainly cruel and unusual for their victims, so why are we supposed to feel any compassion for them?

  • Zabilde Riverdale, UT
    March 21, 2018 8:38 a.m.

    Good letter.

    The death penalty needs to remain on the books. Utah has been very careful with it's use of the penalty, there is no doubt about those we send to death row. So how do we control the cost. Cut down the appeals. Appeal questionable evidence and testimony once. Appeal on quality of representation, once. And one appeal on a possible insanity commutation. Once those are done, and it should take less than a decade. Then carry out the penalty. Cut the time and number of court trips and the cost drops.

  • Thomas Jefferson Cottonwood Heights, UT
    March 21, 2018 8:18 a.m.

    "Maybe the number of mass shootings would decrease if perpetrators were executed instead of pleading mentally ill."

    This simplistic argument is trotted out all the time but it is a super weak argument. It assumes that MURDERS think about the consequences of their actions beforehand and make some sort of cost-benefit analysis and then decide to commit murder.

    The death penalty is good for one thing, vengeance, and I get that. But I personally think life in prison would be worse than the death penalty.

  • Lia Sandy, UT
    March 21, 2018 7:55 a.m.

    But don't drag it out.
    If the death penalty is handed down, they should act quickly.

  • ConservativeCommonTater West Valley City, UT
    March 21, 2018 7:54 a.m.

    If there is absolutely no question about the egregious acts of a murderer, the death penalty should be on the line, with a limit of one appeal. Then, stick a needle in them in a timely period.

    If the evidence against someone is mostly circumstantial, then the death penalty should not be used, just in case future evidence turns up to show they didn't do the crime.