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The case for and against the death penalty on Wednesday's Access Utah

A wooden gavel sits next to a thick book titled, "Capital Punishment."
Nick Youngson
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Pix4free

HB 147, sponsored by Rep. Lowry Snow, R-St. George, which would have repealed the death penalty in Utah and replaced it with a possible sentence of 45 years to life, was defeated in committee. The debate will go on, however, today on Access Utah.

We’ll talk with the Senate sponsor Sen. Dan McKay, R-Riverton; and Utah Assistant Solicitor General Andrew Peterson. Mr. Peterson is capital case coordinator for the state and lead counsel on death penalty cases. We’ll review arguments for and against the death penalty and you’re invited to send us your thoughts by email to upraccess@gmail.com.

Unedited transcript:

Tom Williams 0:04

Welcome to access Utah. I'm Tom Williams, House Bill 147, sponsored by Representative Lowry snow Republican from St. George, which would have repealed the death penalty in Utah and replaced it with a possible sentence of 45 years to live, was defeated earlier this weekend committee. The debate will go on. However, today on ACCESS Utah, and we're going to be talking with the Senate sponsor Senator Dan McKay, Republican from Riverton and with Utah assistant Solicitor General Andrew Peterson. Mr. Peterson is capital case coordinator for state lead counsel in death penalty cases, or view arguments for and against the death penalty. And you can send us your thoughts through the hour by email to up our access@gmail.com up our axis@gmail.com. We're talking with Senator John Mackay. He think you're the Senate sponsor for House Bill 147, which, like failed in committee, we still want to talk about this. What would 147 do I understand this would repeal the death penalty?

Dan McCay 1:08

Yeah, the original plan for SB one, four, or sorry, HB 147 was to take the death penalty. And you know, the death row component off of the table from a sentencing standpoint and then implement a new sentencing standard to allow, you know, basically three positions. One, it was life without parole, then there was life for the possibility of parole after 45 years. And then there's life with the possibility of parole after 25 years. And so the thought was that we could still provide prosecutors the ability to negotiate and, you know, work through some of the issues, you know, related to the death penalty, and these aggravated murder cases, and still provide them some negotiation with it with additional terms for license.

Tom Williams 2:02

So, what's the biggest reason? The two of you are running this this bill?

Unknown Speaker 2:08

Well, I think in concept, I think we can all agree, there are some crimes that are so heinous, that, you know, a death sentence is the only punishment that's fitting for it. Unfortunately, the death sentence, really in the country, but in Utah specifically is broken. We, we have more people that die of natural causes. And we have victims families who think that they're anxiously waiting for the sense to be carried out and any day and it just doesn't happen. More people die of natural causes. And so you take that you couple that with the fact that it is more expensive to have someone on death row and deal with the appeals and all the other, you know, specific issues that come along with it. And then, you know, last but not least, you know, we're asking ourselves, the question of are, you know, is this still an appropriate measure, for us to be carrying out in the state is a criminal penalty. In the last, you know, I think 40 years, we've had two people sentenced to death in the state of Utah. It just isn't used very frequently, by juries. And it's more, really the only thing that's really left of it is the negotiating tool.

Tom Williams 3:25

So one things that families seem to be split, there's some families who say we just want to move on, right. And the other families, including several families, who, who were there at the hearing on Monday night seemed very, very emotional about this, the only way we can get justice is if the perpetrator is executed.

Unknown Speaker 3:46

Yeah, and that is, you know, that's the hard part about all about the policy is, the law in its perfect form is dispassionate and blind, right? We talk about that all the time. But it really isn't that way. Because when the boots hit the ground, and rubber rubber meets the road, I guess, you know, it is not that cut and dry. There are emotions, and there are horrible, horrible experiences, and stories behind what many of these people are what all of these people have done. And you you look at that, you know, you look at their, their families and what they've suffered, and just in the, you know, since the commission of the crime, they suffer. And it really, you saw that last night in the hearing. And, you know, my heart goes out to those families. I'm, I'm grateful that in my life, I can talk about this as a hypothetical and in a lot of ways, be focused more on the policy than I am on the emotion of it.

Tom Williams 4:49

Are you concerned about the irreversibility of this, you know, this is a penalty that can't be taken back, right. Is that a concern of yours?

Unknown Speaker 4:56

Yeah, that's you know, and that's that's another great point. Sorry. That's another great point when you think about this, right? We just had a gentleman who's been on on death row here in Utah, almost 40 years. And the Supreme Court is now ordering a new trial for the individual. Because the two witnesses that placed him with the victim are, you know, are recanting their testimony and they're being told, you know, there are lots of reasons for why they're recanting. But, you know, there's some nefarious actions by by prosecutors and by law enforcement. And the problem with a death sentence is its final. And, you know, we know since the 70s, that, you know, there are over 180 people have been exonerated, like, factually innocent. Not like, you know, they, they, you know, got off on a technicality, you know, factually innocent of the crime. And so, you know, the idea that we punish somebody with the death sentence, once it's carried out, we can't undo it, and there's no fixing.

Tom Williams 6:01

You said, won't talk first about deterrence. Proponents of death penalty say this is a strong deterrent, and that life without parole isn't as much of a deterrent, what do you say?

Unknown Speaker 6:12

You know, I don't know, I, I look at the living conditions of somebody who's living on who's living in the prison, in life without parole. And I would argue, in a lot of ways that is much worse than having the certainty of a death rotting away in a prison in anonymity. Because most people, you know, recognize a murderers name, who's been sentenced to death row because they become, you know, enigmatic in some ways and get a kind of celebrity status. The alternative, though, is that somebody gets life without parole, they just kind of disappear in the history. And and, you know, the victims are the ones who are celebrated, as opposed to when somebody gets the death penalty. It's the opposite the person you know, who committed the heinous crime is the one who's remembered, the one who's talked about the one that makes all the news stories. Every time there's a, you know, a story. And it's, you know, it's tragic, the way that happens in a lot of the families, sorry, the families who testified last night, some testified to the difficulty of being in and out of every hearing. And on every time the person makes the news. And the tragedy of the murder recurs, and it's something they suffer over and over and over again, with every hearing every trial.

Tom Williams 7:44

What do you said earlier in our conversation here, and that you and reps of snow have talked about his death penalty is is broken, at least in Utah? If we could fix it, whatever that would mean, if we could fix the death penalty, would you be in favor of it?

Unknown Speaker 7:59

If I can fix the death penalty, what you'd have to do is the only I think the only way that I could probably support a death penalty moving forward is in controversy incontrovertible evidence. And, and, you know, and a confession of the individual. And once you have those two things, and it's not a coerced testimony, or coerced confession, I think once you have those two things, if you could move it quicker, and avoid, you know, the the do the, you know, still protect due process, but avoid the length of time that goes into it. I'd say, you know, better off moving forward and going that direction. I just there is not a path for that to happen.

Tom Williams 8:45

Just know, just have might have been a minute or so left with you. Seems to be you know, this this has been up until low, you know, recent times. pretty stark liberal, a conservative divide, but it seems like there's more and more conservatives adopting this position of opposing the death penalty. I wonder why you think that is?

Unknown Speaker 9:06

You know, I don't I don't know. In some ways, I think that the penalties that we have, as a society, say more about us than they do necessarily about the criminal. And, and, you know, my own personal evolution on the topic, you know, has been long. I've studied, read quite a bit about it, and, and spent a lot of time just kind of contemplating, I guess, the universe and whether or not this is the government's proper role. You think about, you know, all the things that go into the death penalty. And you ask ourselves, Is this who we are? Are we the kind of people as a country as a state? Are we the kind of people that you know, insist on AI for not, and if that's the case, then you know, then it's the right policy and if we are Then then maybe we ought to be doing differently. I think that's the question that Representative snow and I are asking is, is who are we?

Tom Williams 10:08

Just for a quick question at the end here, Will Yun represent snowbee? Back with this next session?

Unknown Speaker 10:14

You know, repentance, no has already said that he's retiring. So I think it's fall on my lap. I think there's going to be a lot of conversations over the interim. And we're hoping to do some study, so that we've got some background and support on the issue. And then, you know, and then if it's appropriate, we might consider bringing it back.

Tom Williams 10:35

So Dan, okay, thanks so much for taking some time this. Appreciate it.

Unknown Speaker 10:39

You're welcome. Thanks for having me.

Tom Williams 10:41

Thanks. Bye now. You're listening to access you Tom Tom Williams. We're only to get about 10 minutes or so out of Senator Mackay with his busy schedule. I record the conversation yesterday, but to appreciate Senator McCain taking some time we're talking about House Bill 147, which was sponsored by Representative Lowry snow Republican from St. George. And the the Senate sponsor is Senator McCain. This bill would have repealed the death penalty in Utah and replaced it with a possible sense of 45 years to live that was defeated in committee on Monday. Well, the debate goes on here on the program today very important topic obviously and worth the talking about. And coming up following a break we're going to turn to the other side, the arguments for the other side. A proponent of the death penalty, Utah assistant Solicitor General Andrew Peterson will, will join us. We'd love to get your thoughts on this important topic up our access@gmail.com is the place to send those if you'd like to up our access@gmail.com More following this break.

Emily Colby 11:45

Support for 2022 Utah legislative coverage on Utah public radio is made possible in part by our members, and the USU Institute for Disability research, policy and practice Utah's University Center for Excellence and developmental disabilities. More information at ID rpp.usu.edu.

Unknown Speaker 12:07

This week in This American Life a woman goes into a casino plays Blackjack, loses a ton of money and then sues the casino, which of course raises the question What Why is she not liable? It seems like if you go to a casino that's like you know what you're doing? Because at the time of those losses, she does stories about blackjack this week.

Emily Colby 12:31

Tune in for This American Life Saturday mornings at 10 o'clock on Utah Public Radio.

Sheri Quinn 12:39

The Utah legislative session is well underway. Governor Spencer Cox has signed at least nine bills into law high up on lawmakers priority lists our air quality education programs, tax cuts, infrastructure, water, clean energy and affordable housing. Join Utah public radio for coverage of the 2022 legislative session from the EPR newsroom.

Shireen Ghorbani 13:09

Hello, listeners I'm Shireen Ghorbani. Salt Lake County Councilwoman join us for both sides of the aisle. This is a weekly debate over politics policy and big issues facing the state of Utah. Featuring voices on the right in the center and on the left. That's me, both sides of the aisle attempts to help you understand the important questions facing the residents of this state. We prove that you can still put Republicans and Democrats in a small room and have meaningful dialogue. Thursday mornings at 10am on Utah public radio

Tom Williams 13:45

thanks for listening to access you Tom Tom Williams, we're talking about the death penalty on the program today there was a bill House Bill 147 which would have repealed the death penalty replaced it with possible sense of 45 years to live that was defeated in committee earlier this week. Because it's important topic we're talking about it on the program today. We talked earlier in the program was Senator Dan McKay Republican from Riverton, he was the Senate sponsor for the bill. And coming up we're gonna be talking with Utah system Solicitor General Andrew Peterson. Just want to put this note in there in case you were wondering, last year, the Deseret News and Hinckley Institute of Politics, commissioned a poll about the death penalty among Utahns and shows that most Utahns still support keeping the death penalty. But the the margin of support is shrinking from past surveys 51% in that poll, opposed eliminating the death penalty 40% support doing away with the death penalty 8% didn't know some information there for you. So we turn next to to a conversation with Utah assistant Solicitor General Andrew Peterson. Mr. Peterson is Capitol case coordinator for the state and lead counsel on death penalty cases. And a reminder, you can get your thoughts to us by email to up our access to gmail.com. So you, you along with a colleague penned an op ed and the Deseret News recently responded to House Bill 147, which would have repealed the death penalty curse that was not passed out of committee may reappear next session. And the title of this op ed, this is no time to repeal the death penalty. Why why is it not the time to repeal the death penalty?

Andrew Peterson 15:36

Well, we didn't actually put that title on that title. I actually think there is no good time to repeal the death penalty, because I think it serves a legitimate and important role in the criminal justice system. And the primary role that I think it serves that many, many people agree with is that there are certain crimes that are so heinous, that are so evil, that the only proportional response is a like kind response, which is execution. There are many grades, many shades of murder. And when you get to the darker end of that spectrum, they they become very horrific. And once you start digging into the details of what some people have done, people's intuitions start to become a little bit more in favor of the the light kind response. And so we're not talking about an ordinary sort of murder. I mean, in Utah, we don't execute people for, you know, the 711, robbery gone bad, or the drive by shooting that, you know, kills an innocent bystander. In Utah, the death penalty really is reserved for the worst of the worst, which typically includes something like torture, or rape and murder, or, you know, kidnapping a woman from her own home or home invasions, that that turned very dark. So these are, these are the worst of the worst offenders. And the death penalty serves to provide something more like true justice, for those kinds of cases. In our view, life in prison is not proportional justice for those kinds of cases. Because then there are the inmate is essentially serving the same kind of sentence, as someone who committed a burglary or distributed drugs, or, you know, any number of less horrific crimes. And in my view, that's simply under punishing the worst of the worst. And justice means giving each person their due, giving each person what they deserve. And by that definition, under punishing someone is as unjust as over punishing someone.

Tom Williams 18:38

So those who want to abolish the death penalty, say that, you know, horrific crimes, right, that we're talking about just just horrible, horrible crimes, but that the state should not be involved in killing someone. What do you say to that?

Unknown Speaker 19:00

Well, the people have formed a government this is the nature of republicanism with a small are the people have delegated to the government, various functions of you know, public safety and criminal justice and all of the rest. And in a, in a republic, the people get to decide what justice means for them. And the people have decided that capital punishment is a a moral and just form of punishment. So I don't I don't think you can say that the government shouldn't be involved in executing the worst of the worst offenders when it's the people themselves, who have delegated that function to government. There's an additional layer of that as well, which is that typically, definitely instances are not handed out by bureaucrats. They're handed out by the people themselves through the jury system. That's the whole point of the jury system. The jury system is not designed primarily to benefit the defendant himself. It's designed to give control of the criminal justice system to the people. And the people can decide through jurors, what is just in any given case. And so essentially, the jury serves as the conscience of the community. And so when a jury having heard all of the evidence, unanimously decides that someone deserves to die. I think that is the best evidence of what is just in any given case.

Tom Williams 20:53

There's a very emotional hearing. Monday night, as this, this bill got hearing the committee, family members of victims of horrible crimes spoke and they talked about justice, right, preserve the death penalty, that's the only way we can get closure get justice. There are other families of course, who, who who say we just need to move on, can't be continued to be tied emotionally to the to this killer, right? For decades on end. So I guess maybe respond to that to is, is this the only way justice can be served? And how much voice do the families get? Or should they get these decisions?

Unknown Speaker 21:32

There's yes, there's a number of questions wrapped up in what you just said and all addressed one of them first, which is typically before a prosecutor seeks a death sentence in a case. In every case, I'm aware of the prosecutor consults with the family of the victim or victims, and tries their best to explain what the road ahead looks like and you know, the many hurdles and and the years of appeals and so on. And if a family is unable or unwilling to sit with that and be a part of that, for years or even decades. Typically, the prosecutor will not seek a death sentence. Nobody in the criminal justice system wants to inflict ongoing trauma on a crime victim's family unnecessarily. So if they're unwilling or unable to participate in that, typically a death sentence isn't even thought in the first place. But there's a there's a more disappointing answer to your question, which is that with or without the death penalty, families have to live with these cases on an ongoing basis. There isn't a good way to relieve the families have the burden of years or even decades of ongoing appeals. I head up a group of attorneys at the Attorney General's Office whose full time occupation it is to respond to the endless appeals. Retry, retrials, re, you know, reviews of non capital cases, brought years and decades after the fact. I did a trial just a few years ago, from a 2003 murder, where the man was convicted and sentenced not to death in I want to say 2004 2005. And more than a decade later, we had to have another trial on it and the victim's father and sister had to testify and relive the horrific experience. And they didn't have a death sentence to explain that ongoing trauma. And the reality is, non capital inmates have the same they have access to the same procedures and remedies that capital defendants do. And nobody said nobody's ever talked about how to how to alleviate that, how to relieve the families of that ongoing

Unknown Speaker 24:37

stress.

Unknown Speaker 24:38

And so the reality is repealing capital punishment would have done absolutely nothing to relieve the years and decades of stress and trauma that families have to go through that that was always a false promise inherent in the repeal bill.

Tom Williams 25:00

In your op ed piece you talked about one of the one of the reasons you bring forward for not to repealing the death penalty. You talked about justice we talked about that. That's that in some cases punishment less than death is is not true justice for for some of those murders. The other point you bring forward is an inmate convicted murder may pose an ongoing threat, I guess they could could commit murder could commit harm while in prison.

Unknown Speaker 25:33

Yes. The classic example of that in Utah is Troy Cal. Cal is a white supremacist who was convicted of capital murder in Nevada. He was not sentenced to death, he was given a life without parole sentence. And while serving that life without parole sentence in Nevada, he attempted to coerce a corrections officers into smuggling drugs into the prison for him. And when she refused, he threatened to decapitate her. And he said, What are they going to do? I'm already in for life, I've got nothing to lose. After that he was transferred to Utah to serve his life sentence here. And while he was here, he killed a black man by the name of Lonnie Blackman. In a race related murder. It was a very complex scheme that him and several cohorts managed to accomplish. As I say they were in maximum security and security was very tight. It took a very highly coordinated team effort to get Lonnie black men alone and killed murdered him, viciously and brutally. This is all captured on camera. He stabbed him with a shank 67 times including nine times in the eyes. And when you watch the video, he does it very coldly and mechanically, almost like a mechanic working on a engine. This was not a self defense sort of thing. This was not a heat of passion sort of thing. It was the most vicious kind of murder you could imagine. And this was all done under the watchful eyes of corrections officers who in that exact moment were helpless to stop it. The state actually ended up paying quite a large settlement to Mr. Blackmun's family for for his death. And the reason this matters is because the state takes very seriously its obligation to inmates to protect their civil rights. And someone like Mr. Kell, is a threat to everyone around him. It's impossible to protect other inmates are corrections officers from the likes of Mr. Cal. And it is simply impossible to make society safe, as long as Mr. Kelly is alive. That's one example the the other. The other useful example to think about is Ronnie Lee Gardner who was on escape from a previous crime and he committed a murder. And then he was arrested. And he was brought to the courthouse on that new murder charge. And he attempted escape again. And he murdered well, he shot he shot a fayliss and murdered an attorney in the courthouse in his attempt to escape. And he and that was the murder that he eventually was convicted of and sentenced to death and executed for. So the reality is, no matter how hard we try, no matter how clever we think we are in devising security schemes and protecting the public. No one can ever guarantee that a prisoner won't kill in prison or won't kill while they're attempting to escape or out on escape. And we have quite a number of examples of this where inmates have killed either in prison or out on escape. And that is just the the classic example of the need to have the death penalty because as as Cal said, he had nothing to lose what's to stop him from killing again.

Tom Williams 29:39

I'd like to run of a couple of arguments used by opponents of the death penalty by you have you respond? One is one is racial disparity. I'm looking at a report from the Death Penalty Information Center from last year or from 2020 I should say. The title, you know tells you what they found the reporting injustice, the persistence of racial discrimination and the US death penalty. What would you say about that?

Unknown Speaker 30:09

Well, first of all, it's important to keep in mind that the death penalty Death Penalty Information Center is not a nonpartisan clearing house of accurate information. They're a highly partisan anti death penalty group. So one must always take their publications with a grain of salt. The other thing, though, is I don't know if the death penalty nationwide is racist. Although the United States Supreme Court has considered the question on a couple of occasions, and they've looked at the data and deconstructed it and concluded that the at least the studies they looked at did not show racial disparity, what they showed was, at best, a disproportionate number of people on death row who were non whites, but that doesn't really answer the question, because the real question is what a white person having committed the same crime, and having the same background as the non white, a Fender would that person have received a sentence less than death. And so far, nobody's been able to demonstrate that what I can speak more intelligently about is Utah's death row. In the modern era, we've executed seven people in Utah. By modern era, I mean, since the death penalty was brought back by the Supreme Court in the 70s. And since that time, only two of the seven were non white, those were the Hi Fi killers. No, no, if you're familiar with the Hi Fi murders, they were really horrific and kicked in ears, that seems forced to drink drain now and then have their mouths taped, take shut. I believe there was a rape involved. It strains credulity to think that white offenders would not have gotten a death sentence for those same murders. And the reality is death sentences are handed out on an exquisitely individualized basis, based both on the circumstances of the crime, and based on the character and history of the defendant. And then, of course, after a death sentence is imposed, the Utah Supreme Court reviews the case automatically. And they do an exhaustive review of the case at hand, as well as comparing it to other similar crimes in Utah's history, to see if there's anything out of whack about that particular sentence. And they will only affirm the death sentence if they believe that the death sentence is proportional under the circumstances and does not stand out as something based on, you know, a prohibited characteristic like race. So I have not seen any evidence of racial discrimination in Utah's death sentences.

Tom Williams 33:31

And I perhaps didn't give them the argument justice by choosing Death Penalty Information Center. You know, there are many studies out there. But well, I want to go on to economic disparity. I don't have studies for this, but uh, you know, you see anecdotally, you know, defendants who are poor have, oftentimes don't get the defense that richer people do. And you can see, logically, I don't know if it if it follows into statistics. But, you know, if you get a better defense, maybe you get a sense that not that's not the death penalty. What's your response to that?

Unknown Speaker 34:12

Well, it simply isn't true. Capitol defenders in Utah are the best of the best. So for instance, Ralph Menzies, who's currently on death row was represented at trial by Brooke Wells, who was a capitol defender at the public defender's office, which may sound a little bit misleading people sometimes have the impression that our public defenders are overworked and underpaid. But Brooke Wells was highly regarded as one of the best trial lawyers on the defense side in the state. She then went on to become a federal magistrate highly, highly regarded attorney. Other other capital defense Indians have been represented by Steve McCoy and Ed brass, also the best that money can buy. And this is all paid for by tax dollars. So the reality is once a prosecutor gets notice of an intent to seek a death sentence, they are always provided with highly qualified defense attorneys. And I have not seen a problem in the state of Utah with substandard attorneys being being assigned to these cases. So they are given very robust, very extensive defenses.

Tom Williams 35:42

What about possibility of executing an innocent person? This is I don't know if we have any proof that that has been done. But this is a penalty you can't take back. Right? Do you it is Does that worry you?

Unknown Speaker 35:56

Yes. One has to acknowledge the possibility that an innocent person could be executed. There's no way of course to eliminate that possibility altogether. But it's also true that Utah has a very robust system for preventing that. There's a couple of ways that works. One is we have a much higher than required standard for imposing a death sentence in the first place. Our statutes require a much higher standard for imposing a death sentence than what the Constitution requires, or what many other sister states require. Under their statutes, we also have a very robust system for allowing any inmate to prove their innocence. If they can do so. Nationally, there hasn't been a single confirmed case, since the 70s. Of an innocent person having been executed. Again, not to say it's not possible, it could certainly happen. But what we are left with is a miniscule chance of executing an innocent person compared with a high chance of achieving something like true justice. For people who really do deserve the death penalty.

Tom Williams 37:25

Is the death penalty a deterrent?

Unknown Speaker 37:29

I don't know. The National Research Council, which is an arm of the National Academy of Sciences, did a meta study a few years ago, where they reviewed all of the scientific data on that question, and they concluded that there was not good science on either side of it. And they actually warned policymakers not to rely on deterrence to keep or abolish the death penalty. But ultimately, what they found was that there's no statistically significant proof of deterrence. But it's strange credulity to think that no one anywhere was deterred from committing murder based on their fear of getting a death sentence. Just what everything we know about psychology and human behavior, and suggests that at least some people are going to be deterred. There are some interesting anecdotes about this. So for instance, I, I believe it was Kansas back in the 30s, had had repealed the death penalty and reinstated it after it became apparent that people were bringing victims into the state of Kansas to commit their murders. Senator Feinstein from California, gave an anecdote where she had, she used to be on a on the California parole board, and she had a woman appear in front of her asking for parole who had committed an armed robbery. But the gun that the woman had brought with her to the robbery was not loaded, and said Senator Feinstein asked her about that, why why didn't you bring bullets? And she said, Well, if if I killed somebody during the robbery, that would have been a capital case. So there are certainly interesting and compelling anecdotes. And I think, just based on what we know about human nature, it seems likely that people, some people must be deterred, even if it isn't a statistically significant number, and if that's the case, if some people are deterred, then what is the value of those lives saved? And of course, how will we know who would have and murdered. But for the deaths, the death penalty, we'll never know. Just a

Tom Williams 40:05

couple of minutes left turn away. So we'd be, you know, I want to end this we began in the middle here, I've had you rebut some arguments used by opponents of the death penalty like to have you here at the end, you stay positive with a case for the death penalty, whatever you'd like to say on that?

Unknown Speaker 40:24

Well, it's just what I said earlier that there are some crimes that are so heinous, so horrific, that the only proportional response is death. Some people simply do not deserve to live after what they've done.

Unknown Speaker 40:44

There is

Unknown Speaker 40:45

more to it than though, which is that in a, in a system like ours, where the government is the property of the people, and the people demand a certain form of justice, if they ever believe if the people come to believe that the government is unable or unwilling to give the justice that the people believe they deserve, then that is the route of vigilantism and lynch law. This was recognized by the Supreme Court in great Greg versus Georgia back in the 70s. When they reinstated the death penalty. They they situated capital punishment in the people's moral intuitions and sense of justice. And if we are unwilling to impose what the people believe true justice involves, then the whole system can crumble. People will seek justice on their own terms rather than trusting an ineffectual government to do it for them. So there's both moral and Republican reasons for and I don't mean Republican in the sense of the Republican Party, I mean, in the sense of a republic, why the death penalty is a moral and justifiable form of criminal justice.

Tom Williams 42:20

Well, we'll leave it there. We've been talking with Andrew Peterson, Utah's assistant Solicitor General, and Mr. Peterson, you're involved with capital cases as well, what's your title

Unknown Speaker 42:30

there? I'm the capital case coordinator. So I am lead counsel on all of the current death penalty cases in Utah.

Tom Williams 42:38

All right. been giving us his perspective on the death penalty. We appreciate that. Thank you so much.

Unknown Speaker 42:44

All right. Thank you.

Tom Williams 42:47

You're listening to access Utah. And as you heard there, we were talking with Utah assistant Solicitor General Andrew Peterson, who's capital case coordinator for the state lead counsel and death penalty cases earlier in the program. We got the opposite viewpoint from the Senate sponsor of House Bill 147. Senator Dan Mackay, Republican from Riverton, House Bill 147. Sponsored by Representative Lowry snow Republican from St. George would have repealed the death penalty Newtown replaced it with possible sentence of 45 years to live. That was defeated in committee earlier this week. Senator Case as he may bring that back next year, of course, the the debate goes on, not only Utah, but around the country. An increasing number of conservatives are coming around to the idea of of repealing the death penalty. We've talked about that a little bit briefly with Senator McCain you can still get your comments to us by email to up our access@gmail.com up our access@gmail.com We'll take a break when we come back we'll have our regular Wednesday feature behind archive

Unknown Speaker 43:58

the next living on Earth with climate change busy beavers are moving into the Arctic

Unknown Speaker 44:02

are animals that move north because of our actions in warming the climate you know, are those invasive species I would argue not they're you know they're they're animals that are just, you know, sort of resourcefully adapting.

Unknown Speaker 44:15

I'm Steve Curwood nature's ecosystem engineers in the Arctic next time on living on Earth from PRX

Emily Colby 44:22

coming up this morning at 10 o'clock in on Utah public radio that's in 10 minutes.

Unknown Speaker 44:28

Peeler surprise winner Natasha Trethewey honors her mother and a civil war regiment in poetry and song.

Unknown Speaker 44:36

Here. The river changed its course turning away from the city as one turns forgetting from the past.

Unknown Speaker 44:45

The Alliance theatre production of native guard by Natasha truth away next time on La theater works.

Megan Weiss 44:54

Tune in Friday night at nine here on Utah public radio

Unknown Speaker 45:01

If you're a regular listener of undisciplined, you've probably noticed some changes lately. That's because Shauna bucks Baum, who took over as our lead host last year has accepted a new position with Science Friday. Yeah, Science Friday. We're tremendously excited for Shoshana even if we are really sad to see her go. But every change is an opportunity. And this change has given us a chance to work with some really great guest hosts. And I'm excited to tell you today that thanks to the support of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at Utah State University, we've hired a new lead host. I think you're going to love Nalini Nadkarni. She's an ecologist, teacher, and a really talented science communicator. And you'll start hearing her voice on undisciplined this month.

Megan Weiss 46:02

It's beehive archive on Utah Public Radio. I'm Meghan Weiss, Utah boasts the greatest snow on Earth, but the pristine powder isn't always nature made. The fake snow saves tourist seasons but at what cost? Find out more after this.

Jodi Graham 46:17

I'm Jody Graham, Director of Utah humanities beehive archive is brought to you on Utah public radio by Utah humanities with the generous support of the Lawrence T and Janet TD foundation. We're proud to partner with community organizations to tell Utah stories and hope you will tune in each week for the beehive archive.

Megan Weiss 46:36

Welcome to the beehive archive, a two minute look at some of the most pivotal and peculiar events in Utah's history. Skiing is big business in Utah. The state's geography allows for a light fluffy powder that tends to dump hard on the west side of the mountains. But warming winter temps and little to no snowfall can ruin an entire season of tourism for the slopes. As climate change threatened winter seasons, ski resorts began to look for ways to ensure their slopes could continue to get the greatest snow on Earth. Fortunately for ski bums, the adoption of snowmaking technology in the late 20th century allowed Utah resorts to make their own snow and save their ski season in the process. Iron counties Brian head resort took their artificial snow production seriously after struggling with unpredictable winter seasons. The small resort opened in 1965, hoping to take advantage of the rising popularity of skiing by developing a winter tourist economy. However, the average snowfall for the region consistently underperformed resorts in northern Utah. Facing warmer winters, the resort decided to invest in snowmaking equipment in the early 1990s. artificial snow is made by combining water and compressed air which is then sprayed out of a tube called a snow gun. One cubic meter of manmade snow requires over 100 gallons of water. Imagine how many 1000s of gallons are required for just one slope of snow. The thick layer of fake snow is no match for natural fluffy powder. But Snow for mccannon is more predictable. snowmaking ensures a reliable beginning to the tourist season and more money for the resort towns. Brian head wasn't Utah's only resort to embrace artificial snow by 1990 Park City had a snowmaking system capable of covering 400 acres making fake snow essential to the success of their ski season. As climate change threatens the future of Utah winters some experts are questioning the toll that fake snow takes on the environment, namely water use during drought years. Regardless, the demand remains in resorts continue to invest heavily in snow, guns and other equipment to supplement nature's bounty. With more fake snow on the slopes each year. Does Utah still have the greatest snow on Earth? Find sources and past episodes of the beehive archive at Utah communities.org. For the beehive archive, a production you talk humanities, I'm Megan Weiss.

Tom Williams 49:04

Thanks for joining us for access Utah today. Just wanted to give you a note on a couple of upcoming programs on Monday. That's University holiday and we'll have a special program in place of access Utah. On Monday, it's a special hour long edition of a witness history from the BBC World Service. Bringing together some interviews looking at the African American experience. So we'll hear about the Tuskegee syphilis study. American New Pioneer Dorothy Butler Gilliam, Nelson Mandela in Detroit, NASA is pioneering black women, the godfather of gospel music and what the Confederate flag represents in America's battle over race. So in this time on Monday, you can look forward to that hope will help you join us. Then we have a conversation scheduled with Representative John Curtis, who's a congressman of course from Utah. He is a member of the conservative Climate Committee caucus that will be the the main thrust of our conversation. Climate change from the conservative perspective. Conservative climate caucuses that the climate is changing decades of global industrial era has brought prosperity to the world has also contributed to that change. They say climate change is a global issue. China's greatest immediate obstacle to reducing world emissions and solutions should reduce global emissions not just be field good policies. So climate change from a conservative perspective, Congressman John Curtis on Tuesday, hope you join us for those programs. And thanks for listening today.

Unknown Speaker 50:39

This is the 15 things Utahns can't live without during a pandemic, on air addition, honest reflections from regular people about the objects and things that have mattered most the last two years.

Unknown Speaker 50:50

This is Jeannie Thomas, in my 15 Things were some tarot cards. And I know sometimes people think Oh, scary, spooky, but I'm a folklore. So I have an interest in all things folkloric and historical like that. And I know the history, the card started out as a form of really card play. And they were a precursor to bridge. So they were just a card game. And wealthy Italian families who had money had card decks commissioned and people painted things on them, like how fickle life was the fickle wheel of life, or fortunes wheel, or they had people and places that they knew painted on them. In the 1700s and 1800s. In France and England, they became associated with divination and trying to read the future, so to speak. So anyway, I have several decks of cards. And so periodically, I would just take them out. And what I like about them is they're basically if you know the deck, you know the storyline, it's a story. And then the pictures provide you with prompts to fill out the story. So it's basically a graphic novel, without the storyline, you provide the story. But when you're worried about something or have a problem, it can help you get out of your head a little bit, get out of your mental cage and think about the big, older patterns, and remind you that if you feel isolated, that's a universal thing that other people have gone through and what could be some things to help you through that. So I found that actually very helpful to get out of my head and get out of my just daily problems to think about those big, larger patterns when I would pull cards.

Unknown Speaker 52:34

To learn more about the project and to listen to the rest of the stories go to you. pr.org What are the 15 Things you can't live without? during a pandemic? We set out to find the answer to that question in 2021 Launching a photo storytelling project from cache arts, Utah Public Radio, and photographer Maria on Huebner you have an opportunity to see the results of that project right now at the Brigham City Museum of Art and History. The collection of images will be up from February 12 to June 18. and admission is free so we hope you'll check it out. For more details about the project go to you pr.org.

Unknown Speaker 53:19

Listening to Utah public radio statewide service if Utah State University and the College of Humanities and Social Sciences this is k usr Logan K us k Bernal K U S. l Richfield K U S T mo AB Pacey bu price a USU FM Logan and heard online@ucr.org

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Tom Williams worked as a part-time UPR announcer for a few years and joined Utah Public Radio full-time in 1996. He is a proud graduate of Uintah High School in Vernal and Utah State University (B. A. in Liberal Arts and Master of Business Administration.) He grew up in a family that regularly discussed everything from opera to religion to politics. He is interested in just about everything and loves to engage people in conversation, so you could say he has found the perfect job as host “Access Utah.” He and his wife Becky, live in Logan.