News & Action

Statement of Ralph Dellapiana, Director, Utahns for Alternatives to the Death Penalty, on failed repeal of death penalty in Utah (3/10/16) “The death penalty is being eliminated everywhere around the country and the progress made on the bill this year shows that it will soon be repealed here in Utah too.  The death penalty wastes millions of dollars and almost never results in executions. And, it harms the families of victims when cases drag on for decades because their wounds are re-opened again and again and they never have closure.” 


ACLU of Utah Reactions: No Death Penalty Repeal this year (3/10/16)

Responses from Coalition Member Organizations to Failed Repeal of Death Penalty in Utah (3/10/16)

Salt Lake Tribune: Death penalty survives in Utah (3/11/16)

Washington Post: Utah will keep the death penalty after all (3/11/16)

Yahoo News: Utah legislator abandons push to end death penalty, but attempt is telling (3/11/16)


VICTORY! Utah Senate gives initial OK to death penalty repeal (3/1/16)


TAKE ACTION: It’s Time to End the Death Penalty in Utah! (3/1/16)


Trib Talk: Senate to debate capital punishment (2/29/16) Anna Brower of the ACLU of Utah and Utah Eagle Forum's Maryann Christensen join Jennifer Napier-Pearce to discuss Sen. Steve Urquhart's bill to end capital punishment, which cleared a Senate committee last week.

Op-ed: Utah should shine its moral light and end the death penalty (2/25/16)

The Washington Post: Why one Utah Republican changed his mind on the death penalty — and is leading the effort to abolish it (2/26/16)


Libertas Institute: The High Price of Retribution: A Case for Repealing the Death Penalty in Utah (1/8/16)

SL Tribune: Sen. Urquhart wants to abolish Utah's 'broken' death penalty (2/9/16)


Utah is the only state to allow execution by firing squad

(3/16/15) Despite a close vote in the House, the Utah legislature passed HB 11, the “firing squad” bill, by a nearly 2/3 majority. There was a surge of letters, emails, and signatures on petitions (including a petition with over 6,000 signatures that UTADP delivered to the Governors office on March 19,) asking Governor Herbert to veto the bill. Instead, on March 23, he signed it into law bring Utah, once again, into the international spotlight. This law will allow Utah to revert back to using the firing squad as a method of carrying out state-sponsored murder, should lethal injection drugs prove unavailable when we next carry out an execution in the state. While  it could be at least two years before the next possible execution, Utahns for Alternatives to the Death Penalty will continue to educate and advocate on behalf of an abolition to capitol punishment. UTADP letter to Governor Herbert asking him to Veto HB 11 (3/16/15)

PRESS RELEASE: Utahns Say No to the Firing Squad (1/23/15) >>


Sister Helen Prejean Calls on People of Utah to Challenge the Death Penalty (3/25/15)


Ogden Standard Examiner: Anti-death penalty protest takes aim at Ray's firing squad bill (1/27/15) >>

Deseret News: Anti-capital punishment group protests firing squad bill (1/27/15) >>

San Francisco Chronicle: Anti-death-penalty groups protests Utah firing squad bill (1/27/15) >>

ABC 4: Protesters take aim at bill to bring back the firing squad in Utah (1/27/15) >>

FOX 13: Group against capital punishment protests firing squad bill (1/27/15) >>

KSL: Anti-capital punishment group protests firing squad bill (1/27/15) >>

PRESS RELEASE: Utahns Say No to the Firing Squad (1/23/15) >>

National support for death penalty at 40-year low (1/6/14) >>

U.S. Counties Killing The Most People Are Good At Getting Death Penalty, Not So Good At Justice (11/19/13) >>

Jimmy Carter calls for fresh moratorium on death penalty (11/11/13) >>

Victory! An Innocent Man's Journey from Death Row to Freedom (7/26/13) >>

6/29/12 - Forty Years after Furman: Still "Fastened to the Obsolete"

The ACLU discuses the 40th anniversary of the Supreme Court's ruling which declared  the death penalty                  unconstitutional. 

Read more >>>

6/25/12 - Arkansas Supreme Court Rules Execution Law Unconstitutional
The Arkansas Supreme Court struck down the state's lethal execution law is unconstitutional.

Read more >>> 

6/24/12 - Starvin' For Justice Begins on June 28th in Washington DC
The annual four day Fast and Vigil takes place on the steps of the Supreme Court. 
6/14/12 - Episcopal Leaders Push to Abolish Death Penalty Across the Country 

Utahns for Alternatives to the Death Penalty (UTADP) began in 2010 to bring attention to the problems associated with the death penalty and to open a dialog with the diverse parties regarding this important issue.  Our membership quickly grew to include several professional and civil rights organizations, the leaders of ten distinct religious denominations, and hundreds of individuals including a former Chief Justice of the Utah Supreme Court, a long-time Salt Lake County District Attorney, and several murder victim family members.  

In 2011, UTADP continued to widen our presence by purchasing a booth at the Democratic Convention, reaching out to community members and speaking at local universities.  UTADP has also presented our concerns regarding the death penalty in op-ed pieces in local newspapers and in television and radio interviews.  Our focus at this time is to widen awareness of this important issue in Utah and to increase our grassroots membership.  In March, UTADP Director Ralph Dellapiana was a panel member in BYU’s Anmnesty International’s National Week of Student Action Death Penalty Campaign. Later in 2012, we will seek to broaden our support by working with both leaders from both the Republican and Democratic parties.

It is an exciting time for the movement to end the death penalty.  Practically all nations in the Western World have ended the use of the death penalty. And, in the United States public support for the death penalty is waning.  Connecticut’s legislature just voted to repeal its death penalty, making five states in the last five years that have ended the use of the death penalty.  Plus, Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber declared a moratorium on the death penalty in his state, and there will be a referendum on the ballot this fall in California to save a billion dollars by repealing the death penalty.


Last year was a time of transition for many, including Utahns for Alternatives to the Death Penalty (UTADP).  Rocky Anderson closed his organization High Road for Human Rights, to pursue other opportunities to make a change on the national level.  Since donations to UTADP were submitted through High Road for Human Rights, this required us to find another non-profit organization so that donations to UTADP could remain tax-deductible.  Brian Barnard, a prominent civil rights attorney in Salt Lake City, has provided a home in through his organization, Utah Civil Rights & Liberties Foundation, Inc. (UCR&LF), until we are able to incorporate into our own 501(c)(3).  

Further, in 2011, our web presence has had to change locations.  We were able to keep our name and can still be found here:  However, we lost a great deal of our web content in making this move.  Realizing the importance of social media, UTADP has expanded our internet presence through a facebook page!/groups/120204731330310. See the front page for details about an opportunity to be UTADP’s new Webmaster.

In Utah, UTADP recognizes our most persuasive arguments will be backed by hard facts.  We wholeheartedly support the completion of a Utah public opinion poll regarding the death penalty to be conducted by UVU students and the production of a poll of Utah police chiefs regarding sentencing alternatives conducted by Weber State University.  Additionally, the University of Utah is conducting a cost study analysis of the Death Penalty.  Each of these important studies will provide our legislators and supporters with the opinions and data from Utah citizens as a basis for making smart policy decisions.


We are eager to receive suggestions and support.  Of course we are always appreciative of monetary donations.  Donations to UTADP will be used directly in funding our presence in local events, as well as signage and materials.  Donations made in April will go to pay for our table and supplies at this month’s Republican State Convention.  We also have ongoing expenses related to our website that we need to fund.  We are all volunteers at UTADP so 100% of your donation goes directly to costs.  And, your donations are 100% tax deductible.  If you wish to donate to support this important cause, you may write a check to our fiscal sponsor UTAH CIVIL RIGHTS AND LEGAL FOUNDATION (UCR&LF) and note on the check that it is for “Anti-Death Penalty Work” and mail the check to: UTADP, PO BOX 1941, Salt Lake City, Utah 84110.  

We have accomplished a great deal since our inception just two years ago.  With your help and continued support we will continue to bring awareness to this important issue and advocate for Utah to adopt alternatives to the death penalty which are faster, cheaper, and better for the families of crime victims.  And the money saved can be used on more efficacious public safety investments such as putting more officers on the street.



Originally published as an Opinion Piece in the Deseret News on October 12, 2011

Oct. 10 is celebrated as World Day Against the Death Penalty, and the good news is that the death penalty is being abolished both around the world and in our nation.

In 1977, only 16 countries had outlawed the procedure for all crimes. As of December 2009, 134 countries have ended the death penalty in law or in practice. In the U.S. the trend toward abolition is also continuing. Four states in the last four years have ended the use of the death penalty by judicial or legislative action, including New York and New Jersey in 2007, New Mexico in 2009 and Illinois in 2011. Presently three other states also have legislation pending to repeal their death penalty statutes.

Utahns favor abolition of the death penalty for a variety of reasons. Faith communities oppose the practice based on their belief that killing is immoral and violates the sanctity of life. Others with experience in the criminal justice system know that the death penalty costs taxpayers far more than having life without parole as the maximum sentence. Many in the criminal justice system also oppose capital punishment because it is so rarely effective in achieving executions and because it diverts limited resources from more effective crime prevention and detection activities such as having more officers on the street and funding drug abuse prevention and treatment efforts.

Capital punishment costs too much and takes too long. Life without the possibility of parole is the best alternative to the death penalty. It works effectively both to punish offenders and to protect society at a fraction of the cost of the death penalty system. It is faster, cheaper and serves the needs of victims' families better than the death penalty because cases are resolved much more quickly and without lengthy appeals.

It is time for our state to join the world in ending this ineffective and costly practice.

Ralph Dellapiana, Director of UTADP


Utah Valley University Symposium on Restorative Justice and the Death Penalty

Death Penalty Information Center -

National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty -

Alternatives to Death Penalty

Troy Davis case points out death penalty flaws

RadioActive! Aug 8, 2009 -  Rebuilding the American Dream: Rocky Anderson explores the morality of the death penalty with Ralph Dellapiana.!.Aug.Rebuilding.the.American.Dream

Those who wish to volunteer to help by serving on committees, helping at events, or writing Op/Eds should contact our Director, Ralph Dellapiana, at, or by calling him at 801-819-3244, or 801-933-8743.
5/14/12 - Texas Executed Wrong Boy
Report finds that 14 year old was executed for a crime he did not commit. 
4/24/12 - Jimmy Carter, Former President, Calls for End to Death Penalty 
4/14/12 - Fight Against Death Penalty Gains Momentum in States
The high cost to taxpayers is increasingly a factor. 
4/3/12 - Firing Squad Execution Halted for Utah Inmate
U.S. District Court Judge Tena Campbell granted a stay of execution for Michael Archuleta, a Utah man on death row. 
3/29/12 - ACLU: Foreign Lethal Injection Drugs Must Meet FDA Standards 
2/08/12 - US Suprem Court Confirms Ohio Can't Be Trusted to Carry Out Executions 
12/02/11 - Death Penalty Needs To Go
Retired Judge LaDorris Cordell mostly penalizes taxpayers and crime victims. 
11/22/11 - Gov. John Kitzhaber Stops Executions in Oregon
Gov. Kitzhaber calls system "compromised and inequitable" and announced he will not allow any executions to take place while he is in office. 



Contact Us Today!