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Legislator Wants to Bring Back the Firing Squad as Option for Death Penalty

Bryan William Jones |
Utah State Prison

A Utah legislator plans to run a bill that would bring back the firing squad as an option for Utah inmates sentenced to death. Since 2004 Utah inmates sentenced to death have had only one option for their execution: death by lethal injection. But Republican Representative Paul Ray says that could soon pose an issue for the state as it is becoming harder to obtain the specific drugs needed to create the injection and any new formula could be challenged in court.

“It’s obvious that as a government we need to be responsible and have a backup plan," Ray says. "Whether you like the death penalty or not the point is there’s a chance that we’re going to be challenged legally. There could be a real big expense and all kinds of headaches or we could have this backup.”

Utah Democratic Party Chairman Peter Corroon says instead of trying to find a work around potential problems with lethal injections, the conversation they should be having is about the need for the death penalty at all.

“Yes we all want the most egregious crimes to be punished accordingly, but it’s an expensive system and it delays justice for the families of those victims for many many years and ends up costing Utah taxpayers millions of dollars,” Corroon says.

There are eight inmates in Utah on death row. Three of them choose to be put to death by firing squad before the 2004 law went into place and will be allowed to keep that option. The state does not currently have on hand any lethal injection drugs. 

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