Dialogue Set to Begin Tuesday On Abolishing Utah's Death Penalty
A Senate panel was poised Tuesday to begin discussing abolishing the death penalty in Utah.
The bill, introduced by Sen. Stephen Urquhart, R-St. George, SB 189, would eliminate the punishment after nine convicts currently on Utah’s Death Row are executed.
Jean Hill, who represents the Roman Catholic Diocese of Salt Lake City, says she doesn’t expect the legislation to pass this year but hopes it’s the beginning of a conversation.
“That’s exactly what we need to do is really start asking ourselves: is this a penalty that is having any positive impact on the state?” she said before the senate committee hearing began.
“And I think once we get into that discussion, more and more people are going to recognize that, no, it’s not. It really has no impact and actually has a very strong negative impact both fiscally and morally, and so let’s be done with this. We don’t need it.”
The Catholic Diocese planned to join the libertarian Libertas Institute, the group Utahns for an Alternative to the Death Penalty and the ACLU of Utah in testifying for the bill in a Tuesday afternoon hearing before the Senate Judiciary, Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Committee.