Utah Legislature Votes To Revive Firing Squad

Mar 11, 2015

"It's replacing a cruel method with a cruel method," said John Mejia.
Credit Associated Press

Utah’s Republican-controlled state legislature voted Tuesday to bring back executions by firing squad.

It is being called the most dramatic illustration yet of the nationwide frustration over botched executions and shortages of the drugs used in lethal injections. The bill would allow firing squads if there is a deficiency of these drugs.

American Civil Liberties Union of Utah Legal Director John Mejia says the bill has already brought negative attention to the state.

“I think that time and experience have shown that all of the methods that we’ve tried have failed because they’ve cause people pain and unnecessary suffering,” Mejia said. “It’s—in my mind—not replacing a humane method with a humane method. It’s replacing a cruel method with another cruel method.”

Utah and several other states are scrambling to modify their laws after a botched Oklahoma lethal injection last year, and one in Arizona in which the condemned man took nearly two hours to die.

Gov. Gary Herbert has declined to say if he will sign or veto the firing-squad bill.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.