[JURIST] The Utah House of Representatives [official website] on Friday narrowly approved House Bill 11 [text, PDF], which would allow for executions by firing squad. The goal of the legislation is to provide an alternative execution method to lethal injection, as supplies of the traditional drugs have become scarce. HB 11, which was sponsored by Utah representative Paul Ray [official website], passed by six votes with two representatives abstaining. The bill now moves to the Utah Senate for further consideration.
Throughout the US, the death penalty remains a controversial issue with many states seeking to end the practice or institute reforms. In January the Washington state legislature [official website] proposed bills to eliminate [JURIST report] the death penalty. Also in January the US Supreme Court granted certiorari to determine [JURIST report] whether Oklahoma’s lethal injection protocol is unconstitutional under the Eighth Amendment. Last month an Indiana state senator introduced legislation to end the death penalty [JURIST report] in the state. Four Ohio death row inmates filed a complaint [JURIST report] in December challenging a measure providing for the confidentiality of entities involved in the manufacture of drugs for use in capital punishment by lethal injection, and of the persons involved in executing a sentence of capital punishment.