Utah Death Row Inmates Succeed in Massive Jailbreak!

No they didn’t really break out of the state pen. But those who support an amendment to the Utah Constitution to allow the legislature to limit the number of appeals of death row inmates are apparently afraid that such an event is likely to occur. There are better ways to solve this problem than the "now I'm really REALLY mad" approach.

The Deseret News reported recently that
"Our current justice system is broken. The death penalty in Utah has become a myth. Death row inmates are winning a war of attrition," [Utah Attorney General Mark] Shurtleff wrote Tuesday in his personal blog on the attorney general's Web site.
Oh? Which war is that? Are they back on the street so they can

If Utah judicial officers really ARE ignoring the law, then don’t you think they should be impeached?

Okay, then. Let’s not clutter up our constitution with unnecessary refuse.

murder again?

I haven’t had to experience the murder of a family member by someone who is still on death row, so perhaps my observations here are callous. I would probably have a much more difficult time not hating my family member’s accused murderer than those who already have to suffer this ignominy. But what are the chances that I will stop hating them after they are dead?

I support the death penalty, and I think that the Attorney General may have a point when he says
The Utah courts' refusal to follow the law contrasts sharply with the position of most other states and the U.S. Supreme Court, which has long recognized that such judgments about the extent of post-conviction appeals are for the legislative branch to make.
But I’m seeing in a constitutional amendment nothing more than a “now I’m really REALLY mad!!”

what will we do if the courts fail to follow the law when it has the force of a constitutional amendment—seek a federal constitutional amendment?

solution.

What will we do if the courts fail to follow the law when it has the force of a constitutional amendment—seek a federal constitutional amendment?

There is a more elegant solution, which, at the same time would, instead of passing the “really REALLY mad” test, would have to pass the “really REALLY sure” test.

Article 77-5-1 of the Utah State Code says
77-5-1. Officers liable to impeachment.
The governor and other state and judicial officers, except justices of the peace, shall be liable to impeachment for high crimes and misdemeanors or malfeasance in office. (Emphasis added.)
This law has been in place since 1980. If Utah judicial officers really ARE ignoring the law, then don’t you think they should be impeached?

Okay, then. Let’s not clutter up our constitution with unnecessary refuse.





Comments

  1. Frank,

    That's an interesting solution. I support the idea that those who have a death sentence should not be allowed a perpetual appeal process and that tax payers should not be paying for their perpetual incarceration (it's a different story when we choose perpetual incarceration by giving them a life sentence).

    That being said, impeachment is the right approach if the members of the judicial system are clearly ignoring or twisting the existing law. Pursuing impeachment might also help alert more people to the fact that our state judicial system is flawed in the way we give virtual life appointments to most judges.

    ReplyDelete

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