TAKE ACTION: The death penalty is expensive, ineffective and unconstitutional. It's time for REPEAL.
Today (Feb. 23) the Senate Judiciary Committee will hear a bill to REPEAL THE DEATH PENALTY IN UTAH. Sen. Steve Urquhart, a Republican from Saint George, is running this long-overdue bill in partnership with a broad coalition of anti-death penalty advocates, including the ACLU of Utah.
The ACLU of Utah believes that it is long past time to retire the unjust and ineffective practice of government-sanctioned killing. We also believe that this could be the year to see the end of the death penalty in Utah - but we need your help!
While we would prefer a death penalty repeal that is retroactive, we are in full support of SB189, "Death Penalty Amendments," which would prevent the application of the death penalty in all cases charged on and after May 10, 2016. Such a change to Utah law would ensure that we waste NO MORE money trying expensive, drawn-out capital cases that provide little closure or justice.
Please take a moment today to contact the members of the Senate Judiciary, Law Enforcement & Criminal Justice Committee and ask them to vote to ADVANCE SB189 to the Senate Floor for a full vote. The Committee members are:
You can use the following talking points, along with your own thoughts on the issue, to express your desire to see this bill moved forward! The ACLU of Utah supports a repeal of the death penalty in Utah for the following reasons:
- The primary features of the death penalty, in pracitce, are that it is EXPENSIVE, INEFFECTIVE and ARBITRARILY APPLIED. Decisions about who lives and who dies are largely dependent upon how much money the defendants have, the skill of their attorneys, the race of their victim and where the crime took place. Regardless of how you feel about the death penalty in theory, its application is plagued with systemic injustices.
- The Legislative Fiscal Analyst Office reports that it costs the state of Utah about $1.6 million MORE per inmate, from trial to execution, than it costs for Life Without Parole. We can put this funding toward better use in a variety of places throughout Utah's criminal justice system: reforming our state's indigent defense system, fully funding the Justice Reinvestment Initiative, improving County Jail conditions, and more! It is just too expensive to maintain a death penalty system with no public safety benefit.
- Permanent imprisonment is a far better alternative to the death penalty. Permanent imprisonment is a severe sentence that both keeps us safe and protects against wrongful convictions. It is a swift sentence which is often preferred by victims' families over the years of mandatory appeals associated with death sentences
Here are a few additional tips for your ACTION EMAIL:
- Put "Vote YES on SB189, Death Penalty Amendments!" as your email subject heading, so this is the first thing the legislator sees.
- If you LIVE in the Senator's district, let him or her know that you are a VOTING CONSTITUENT. Legislators want to hear from their own consituents most of all. (If you're not sure who is your Senator, check here!)
- Be polite, be clear, be respectful and be BRIEF. Please, do not use rude or abusive language with our elected officials. They will ignore your emails if you are not respectful and brief.
Your emails will help inform our legislators that many Utahns do not support this pointless exercise in government power. We want REAL criminal justice solutions, not expensive and ineffective executions that create embarrassing media attention for our state.