"National support for death penalty at 40-year low," is by Emiley Morgan in today's Deseret News. Here's the beginning:
Public defender Ralph Dellapiana remembers the first time he really grasped the consequences of the death penalty.
He had just been assigned to the case of Curtis Allgier, who was facing a possible death sentence for the 2007 killing of corrections officer Stephen Anderson, and was specifically responsible for the sentencing phase. As such, it would fall to him to try to convince a jury to not call for death.
"What was previous to that just an intellectual exercise became real," Dellapiana said. "I felt like I had another human being's life in my hands. If I didn't do my job, I would be part of the reason he was killed."
The realization prompted the now-director of Utahns for Alternatives to the Death Penalty to believe "the death penalty was something that should be questioned."
A recently released report from the Death Penalty Information Center indicated that not only did a Gallup poll show nationwide support for the death penalty at a 40-year low, but it also found that there were 39 executions in 2013 — only the second time in 19 years that the number has been below 40. The report also states that there were 80 death sentences handed down in 2013, which is "near the lowest number since 1973."
Earlier coverage of the DPIC 2013 Year End Report begins at the link.
The Death Penalty Information Center's The Death Penalty in 2013: Year End Report is available at the link. You can also find a news release, infographic, and a video at the link.