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Utah Capital Punishment Laws

Capital punishment, also known as “the death penalty,” is a legal sentence for a number of crimes under Utah’s criminal statutes. Utah has executed over 50 people in its history, but only seven since the Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1976. This is an introduction to capital punishment laws in Utah.

Capital Punishment Statutes in Utah

States capital punishment laws can vary. 32 states have death penalty laws in place while 18 states have banned capital punishment. The table below lists Utah’s capital punishment statutes.

Code Section

Utah Code 76-3-206, et seq.: Capital Felony - Penalties;

Utah Code 76-5-201, et seq.: Capital Homicide;

Utah Code 77-15-1: Incompetent Person;

Utah Code 77-18-5.5: Judgment of Death;

Utah Code 77-19-1, et seq.; The Execution

Is Capital Punishment Allowed?


Effect of Defendant's Incapacity

If defendant is found incompetent or pregnant, sentence is suspended until competency returns or person is no longer pregnant, at which time sentence is reimposed and to be carried out within 30-60 days

Minimum Age

No minimum age

Available for Crimes Other than Homicide?


Definition of Capital Homicide

Offender confined in jail or other correctional facility; multiple murders; knowingly creates great risk of death to person other than victim; in connection with aggravated robbery, robbery, rape, rape of child, object rape, object rape of child, forcible sodomy, sodomy upon child, sexual abuse of child, child abuse of child under 14, aggravated sex assault, aggravated arson, arson, burglary, kidnapping; avoiding lawful arrest; pecuniary or other personal gain; contracted; previously convicted of murder or felony involving use/threat of violence; purpose of preventing witness from testifying in criminal procedure or person from offering evidence or hindering lawful governmental function or enforcement of laws; official or candidate for public office, homicide based on/related to official position; firefighter, peace officer, law officer or anyone involved in criminal justice system; bombs; in connection with unlawful control of aircraft, train, other public conveyance; poison; hostage/ransom; homicide especially heinous, atrocious, cruel or depraved manner

Method of Execution

Defendant at time of execution may select either firing squad or lethal injection. If s/he does not select, then lethal injection

Capital punishment remains a very divisive topic in American politics and society, with the United State Supreme Court outlawing the death penalty in 1972 and then reinstating it in 1976. The most recent national polls show half of U.S. citizens in favor of the death penalty and while the other half prefer life imprisonment for those guilty of murder.

Related Resources for Utah Capital Punishment Laws

Criminal charges, especially those that might carry the death penalty, are serious. If you would like legal assistance regarding a death penalty matter, you can consult with a Utah criminal law attorney. You can also find additional articles and information by visiting FindLaw’s section on Capital Punishment and the Death Penalty.

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