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Letter: Keep the death penalty on Utah's books

Letter to the editor
Letter to the editor
Deseret News

Chutzpah notwithstanding, our legislators seem quite serious about outlawing the death penalty in Utah, the rationale being that a sentence of life without parole is just as effective, more humane and far less expensive. If they do so, I expect that the very next day will see the beginning of a long campaign to declare any sentence of life without parole as cruel and unusual punishment. Such a campaign may take 30 years, but it will begin by having certain classifications of offenders declared as ineligible for such punishment. With each success, more and more types of offenders will be eliminated. The campaign will be relentless. The main tactic will be obstruction to drive up expense, and the drivers of the campaign will be the same groups and persons who have opposed the death penalty for so long and so effectively.

I would think that it would be far more effective to leave the death penalty on the books, even if it is never used again in the state of Utah. Just having the death penalty in the background makes it a very effective anvil for hammering out plea bargains.

Thomas Brown