Utah proposal to end death penalty falls one vote short

Utah lawmakers rejected to repeal the death penalty on Monday, Feb. 14 as the Republican-led state house fell one vote short of abolishing the state’s death penalty. 

In the House committee, five justices favored the proposal while six opposed. Among those who supported the repeal proposal was Rep. Lowry Snow. 

Snow, a Republican Representative of District 74, has argued that the death penalty has caused fiscal problems in some states like Utah. 

The Salt Lake Tribune found that Utah taxpayers had spent nearly $40 million in 165 death-penalty cases throughout the last two decades where only two criminals had their death sentences carried out. 

“How much better would it be to redirect that to helping the victims and the victims’ families?” Snow asked.

Utah was the first state to execute someone after the U.S. Supreme Court lifted its moratorium in the Gregg v Georgia decision in 1976. 

The death penalty is currently authorized in 27 states. States with Democratic-party control like Connecticut, Maryland, New Hampshire, Colorado and Virginia have abolished the death penalty within the last decade. 

Lethal injection is the primary method of execution. However, Arizona, Kentucky, Tennessee, Utah and Wyoming have secondary execution methods if the criminal was sentenced before lethal injection was introduced. 

The Common Ground podcast will discuss the death penalty in their episode the week of Monday, Feb. 21. 

Article by: Lexi Hamel


Photo courtesy of Maria Oswalt on Unsplash