Letter opposing death penalty released by county attorneys from Salt Lake, Summit, Utah, Grand counties

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UTAH, Sept. 14, 2021 (Gephardt Daily) — County attorneys elected to serve in four of Utah’s 29 counties have drafted and sent a letter opposing the death penalty, addressing it to Gov. Spencer Cox and the Utah Legislature.

Signing the document are Sim Gill, Salt Lake County District Attorney; Margaret Olson, Summit County District Attorney; Christina Sloan, Grand County District Attorney; and David Leavitt, Utah County District Attorney, who last week announced his intent to stop seeking the death penalty in his county’s cases.

“As attorneys and duly elected public prosecutors, we have sworn to support, obey, and defend the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of Utah,” the joint letter begins.

“We also have a statutory duty to call to the State Legislature’s attention any defect in the operation of the law. In fulfillment of that oath and responsibility, we alert legislators and the people of a grave defect that creates a liability for victims of violent crime, defendants’ due process rights, and for the public good. The defect which we urge the Legislature to repeal is the death penalty.”

The letter goes on to cite the death penalty as “a permanent and irreversible sentence within an imperfect system. It fails to deter crime. It retraumatizes victims.”

The letter also says the death penalty is given more often to minorities than to Caucasians; is expensive to taxpayers; and is “inherently coercive,” saying it “gives already powerful prosecutors too much power to avoid trial by threatening death.”

Find the full letter below.

Open Letter on Death Penalty 20210914


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