UTAH (USA): GOVERNOR HERBERT APPROVES EXECUTIONS BY FIRING SQUAD
|Utah Governor Gary Herbert
March 23, 2015: Gov. Gary Herbert signed one of the 2015 Utah Legislatureâs most controversial bills on Monday to designate the firing squad as the stateâs backup execution method. HB11, which survived narrow votes in the House and Senate, would allow firing squad executions in the absence of lethal injection drugs.
Herbert signed the bill despite a 6,200-signature petition that anti-death penalty groups delivered to the governorâs office last week. While only 500 Utahns signed the petition, the rest of the signatures came from around the world, according to Ralph Dellapiana of Utahns for Alternatives to the Death Penalty. Â
âThose who voiced opposition to this bill are primarily arguing against capital punishment in general, and that decision has already been made in our state,â said Marty Carpenter, spokesman for Herbert. âWe regret anyone ever commits the heinous crime of aggravated murder to merit the death penalty, and we prefer to use our primary method of lethal injection when such sentence is issued. âHowever, when a jury makes the decision and a judge signs a death warrant, enforcing that lawful decision is the obligation of the executive branch,â Carpenter said.
Bill sponsor Rep. Paul Ray, R-Clearfield, has said Utah may need a backup execution method to lethal injections in wake of the nationâs inability to access the lethal injection drugs because European pharmaceutical companies that sell the drugs oppose the death penalty and refuse to sell to U.S. prisons. Carpenter said 34 states use capital punishment, and all of those states use lethal injection as their primary execution methods. He said of the states that have chosen a secondary method, eight use electrocution, four use the gas chamber, three use hanging and two use the firing squad. (Sources: Deseret News, 23/03/2015)