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Utah Senate Votes In Favor Of Ending Death Penalty

Brian Grimmett
File: Sen. Steve Urquhart, R-St. Geoge, presents a bill on the floor of the Senate.

A bill doing away with the Death Penalty in Utah has cleared its first hurdle in the Utah Senate.

Republican Senator Steve Urquhart says he used to be in favor of the death penalty, but that was before coming to the realization that the theoretical death penalty doesn’t match the one that happens in reality.

“If it’s carried out decades after the crime, after the sentence, there isn’t a deterrence effect," Urquhart said. "All it does is it makes them famous and it further victimizes the families.”

Urquhart also argued that the death penalty is more expensive than life without parole, and that it is applied imperfectly by the government.

Surprisingly, not one Senator asked Urquhart a question about SB189 before they voted. But, during the vote, Republican Sen. Daniel Thatcher did explain his position.

“I do believe that there should be an ultimate punishment for those who have done the most egregious and heinous crimes," Thatcher said. "I wish that I could find any fault at all with in the presentation and the position of the good senator from St. George, but the reality is he’s right.”

It passed by a vote of 20 – 9. The Senate will take a final vote on the bill in the next few days

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