Manual Welcome, guest blogger: Ronnie Lee Gardner

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There is no sorrow that God cannot heal! Message from Barbara Harris. So sorry for your loss! The Nelson Family are in my prayers! Message from Lynda Quinerly. Message from Juanita Wall Gardner. My thoughts and prayers are with the Nelson family. Message from Tausca Nyshaun. The church family sends heartfelt sympathy to the Nelson Family in your hour of bereavement. Our prayer is that God will keep you wrapped in His arms and give you peace. A candle was lit by Margaret Williams Hassell on October 13, 8: A year of daily grief support.

I can do a lot of good. First of all, I'm a good example. There's no better example in this state of what not to do. Assistant state attorney general Tom Brunker argued against clemency, stating: Gardner was sentenced to death and earned that death penalty because of his unflagging history of violent crime. Kirk's daughter Barb Webb said, "He's done a lot of horrific things in his past and I think, given the chance, he would do them all again.

Ronnie Lee Nelson

The Utah Supreme Court upheld lower court rulings on June 14, , exhausting Gardner's appeals within the state. Supreme Court turned down final appeals on June 17, though a court order indicated that dissenting Justices Stephen Breyer and John Paul Stevens would have granted a stay of execution. Utah governor Gary Herbert also declined to intervene because Gardner had "a full and fair opportunity" in court. Opponents of capital punishment gathered at the Utah State Capitol to hold a rally during the final appeals. The protest was attended by Gardner's family, and was organized by Utahans for Alternatives to the Death Penalty.

The protest also included the support of Brian King of the Utah House of Representatives , who pledged to urge the legislature to reconsider the use of the capital punishment. News media arrived from around the world and raised the issue of blood atonement because of Gardner's citation of his Mormon roots in selecting the firing squad. In the midth century, when rhetorical, emotional oratory was common, some church members and leaders used strong language that included notions of people making restitution for their sins by giving up their own lives. However, so-called " blood atonement ," by which individuals would be required to shed their own blood to pay for their sins, is not a doctrine of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

We believe in and teach the infinite and all-encompassing atonement of Jesus Christ, which makes forgiveness of sin and salvation possible for all people. Other denominations voiced their opposition to the use of capital punishment. It's ineffective, and it's brutalizing all of us. According to polls, support for capital punishment had been steadily declining since the s, [50] but the majority of people in Utah still supported the death penalty in the period leading up to Gardner's scheduled execution.

The law denies any stay of execution after a first appeal, without a judicial review of new evidence or a pregnant appellant , that a judge determines would have materially affected the original case. The Utah Department of Corrections provided Gardner's attorney, Andrew Parnes, with documentation about executions by firing squad and lethal injection. The records included the Utah execution team's training and expertise.

Parnes relayed the information to Gardner after agreeing not to disclose it to anyone else. On June 15, , Gardner ate a last meal of steak, lobster tail, apple pie, vanilla ice cream and 7-Up, before beginning a hour fast while watching The Lord of the Rings film trilogy and reading Divine Justice. Gardner was executed on June 18, , at He was placed in restraints on a black metal chair with a hood covering his head.

Sandbags were arranged around him to absorb ricochets. The firing squad was made up of five anonymous volunteers who were certified police officers. The officers stood about 25 feet 7. After verifying Gardner's lack of pulse at the neck and pupillary light reflex , the medical examiner pronounced him dead at Some wore shirts with his prisoner number Ultimately, his children and grandchildren got their chance to express their love for him. I'm not sure Ronnie had a lot of love in his life.

At least in the end there, he got that. Utah Department of Corrections — Utah Department of Corrections is a government agency dedicated to the management and supervision of convicted felons in the State of Utah. The Utah Department of Corrections is made up of several divisions and this division supervises 17, offenders in the community. The state also more than 1, inmates out to county jail facilities around Utah through a jail contracting program. UCI employs prison inmates who work to produce such as signs, furniture. UCI mostly provides goods and services for agencies, though it also contracts with various private industry businesses on certain projects.

From to , UCI ran a horse gentling operation in partnership with the Bureau of Land Management and this program has since been retired, citing ongoing budget disagreements. List of Utah state prisons Utah previously required all visits between prisoners and their visitors to be conducted in the English language, after challenges from the American Civil Liberties Union the system ended the rule. Since the establishment of the Utah Department of Corrections, five officers have died while on duty. This region is a corridor of contiguous urban and suburban development stretched along an approximately mile segment of the Wasatch Front and it is one of only two major urban areas in the Great Basin.

The city was founded in by Brigham Young, Isaac Morley, George Washington Bradley and numerous other Mormon followers, who extensively irrigated and cultivated the arid valley. Due to its proximity to the Great Salt Lake, the city was originally named Great Salt Lake City—the word great was dropped from the name in by the 17th Utah Territorial Legislature. It was traversed by the Lincoln Highway, the first transcontinental highway, in , Salt Lake City has since developed a strong outdoor recreation tourist industry based primarily on skiing, and hosted the Winter Olympics.

It is the banking center of the United States. The land was treated by the United States as public domain, the first U. The first permanent settlements in the date to the arrival of the Latter-day Saints on July 24, Upon arrival at the Salt Lake Valley, president of the church Brigham Young is recorded as stating, This is the right place, Brigham Young claimed to have seen the area in a vision prior to the wagon trains arrival.

They found the broad valley empty of any human settlement, four days after arriving in the Salt Lake Valley, Brigham Young designated the building site for the Salt Lake Temple, which would eventually become a famous Mormon and Salt Lake City landmark. The Salt Lake Temple, constructed on the block that would later be called Temple Square, construction started in , and the temple was dedicated on 6 April The temple has become an icon for the city and serves as its centerpiece, in fact, the southeast corner of Temple Square is the initial point of reference for the Salt Lake Meridian, and for all addresses in the Salt Lake Valley.

The Mormon pioneers organized a new state called Deseret and petitioned for its recognition in , the United States Congress rebuffed the settlers in and established the Utah Territory, vastly reducing its size, and designated Fillmore as its capital city. Great Salt Lake City replaced Fillmore as the capital in Utah — Utah is a state in the western United States.

It became the 45th state admitted to the U. The state is a center of transportation, education, information technology and research, government services, mining, in , the U. Census Bureau estimated that Utah had the second fastest-growing population of any state. George was the metropolitan area in the United States from to Utah also has the 14th highest median income and the least income inequality of any U.

A Gallup national survey found Utah overall to be the best state to live in based on 13 forward-looking measurements including various economic, lifestyle, the name Utah is derived from the name of the Ute tribe. It means people of the mountains in the Ute language, according to other sources Utah is derived from the Apache name Yudah which means Tall. These Native American tribes are subgroups of the Ute-Aztec Native American ethnicity and were sedentary, the Ancestral Pueblo people built their homes through excavations in mountains, and the Fremont people built houses of straw before disappearing from the region around the 15th century.

Another group of Native Americans, the Navajo, settled in the region around the 18th century, in the midth century, other Uto-Aztecan tribes, including the Goshute, the Paiute, the Shoshone, and the Ute people, also settled in the region. A group led by two Catholic priests—sometimes called the Dominguez-Escalante Expedition—left Santa Fe in , hoping to find a route to the coast of California, the expedition traveled as far north as Utah Lake and encountered the native residents.

The Spanish made further explorations in the region, but were not interested in colonizing the area because of its desert nature, in , the year Mexico achieved its independence from Spain, the region became known as part of its territory of Alta California. Due to the salinity of its waters, Bridger thought he had found the Pacific Ocean. Its location was remote and the nearby communities were rural. Since the prisons erection, business parks and residential neighborhoods have developed the rural area into a suburban one.

Seeking the ability to better treatment option state legislature initiated a process to build a new prison. The test of feasibility was whether or not the value of the estate of the current location could support the cost of relocation. It was determined that the cost of relocating the prison far exceeded the value that could be realized from the sale of the Draper prison site.

However, on August 19,, a session of the state legislature voted to move the prison to the west side of Salt Lake City. The large prison complex houses both male and female prisoners in separate units, the prison has a capacity of over 4, inmates. The Draper site is located near Point of the Mountain along the Traverse Ridge and consists of several named after surrounding mountains. These units range from minimum security to supermax, the Uintas house maximum security units for male inmates and include a supermax facility and execution chamber. Wasatch and Oquirrhs house the medium security male inmates, promontory is a medium security therapeutic community designed to treat drug abusers.

Timpanogos houses female inmates and Olympus is the health unit. Lone Peak is a security unit. Ted Bundy, serial killer, was sentenced to 15 years in the Utah State Prison in , ronnie Lee Gardner, convicted in of murder and executed by firing squad on June 18, Gary Gilmore was executed at the Utah State Prison in and he was the first prisoner legally put to death in the United States since a U. Supreme Court ruling that ended a moratorium on capital punishment.

Ronnie Lee Gardner - WikiVisually

As of the census, it had a population of 42,, Draper is part of two metropolitan areas - the Salt Lake County portion is included in the Salt Lake City metropolitan area, while the Utah County portion is part of the Provo-Orem metropolitan area. The next spring, he brought his family and sold his cattle to immigrants heading to the fields of California along what became the Mormon Road. More settlers came in the few years to the new settlement first known as Sivogah, meaning Willows. At the end of ,20 families lived along South Willow Creek, in , the first post office was established with the name Draperville for William Draper III, the first presiding elder of the towns Mormon congregation.

The name of the town in years was shortened to Draper. Hostilities with the Native Americans began in , and a fort was established were the settlers lived. The fort was never completed, as the hostilities did not materialize. Draper lies roughly midway between Salt Lake City and Provo, Draper is bordered by Riverton and Bluffdale to the west, South Jordan to the northwest, Sandy to the north, Alpine to the southeast, Highland to the south, and Lehi to the southwest. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has an area of The winds on Traverse Ridge make it an area for hang gliding and paragliding.

In , Draper citizens voted for a tax increase that would pay for the purchase of key pieces of property in the Corner Canyon area. The aim of this measure was to protect and preserve the Corner Canyon area for the enjoyment of citizens of the city. In the fall of ,1, acres of property were identified and purchased for the development of Corner Canyon Regional Park, which will consist of parks, trails, drapers climate is roughly identical to that of other Salt Lake City suburbs. Execution by firing squad — Execution by firing squad, in the past sometimes called fusillading, is a method of capital punishment, particularly common in the military and in times of war.

Execution by shooting is an old practice. Some reasons for its use are that firearms are usually readily available, a firing squad is normally composed of several military personnel or law enforcement officers. Usually, all members of the group are instructed to fire simultaneously, to avoid the disfigurement of multiple shots to the head, the shooters are typically instructed to aim at the heart, sometimes aided by a paper target. The prisoner is typically blindfolded or hooded, as well as restrained, executions can be carried out with the condemned either standing or sitting.

There is a tradition in some jurisdictions that such executions are carried out at first light, or at sunrise and this gave rise to the phrase shot at dawn. Execution by firing squad is distinct from other forms of execution by firearms, however, the single shot by the squads officer with a pistol is sometimes incorporated in a firing squad execution, particularly if the initial volley turns out not to be immediately fatal. The method is often the punishment or disciplinary means employed by military courts for crimes such as cowardice, desertion, espionage, murder, mutiny.

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For servicemen, the squad is symbolic. The condemned serviceman is executed by a group of his peers indicating that he is found guilty by the entire group. Although a court-martial might be presided over and prosecuted by officers, finally, the group action on one side, with the condemned standing opposite, presents a visual contrast that reinforces to all witnesses that solidarity is an overriding necessity in a military unit. If the condemned prisoner is an ex-officer who is acknowledged to have shown bravery in their past career, an example of this is Marshal of France Michel Ney.

In some cases, all but one member of the squad may be issued a weapon containing a blank cartridge. Sometimes all but one member has live rounds, no member of the firing squad is told beforehand if he is using live ammunition. This is believed to reinforce the sense of diffusion of responsibility among the squad members. It also allows each member of the squad to believe afterwards that he did not personally fire a fatal shot—for this reason. According to a Private W.

A, the firing squad was then given a short speech by an officer before they fired a volley at the condemned man. He said about the episode, I had the satisfaction of knowing that as soon as I fired, the absence of any recoil, that I had merely fired a blank cartridge. Murder — A murder is the unlawful killing of another human without justification or valid excuse, especially the unlawful killing of another human being with malice aforethought.

This state of mind may, depending upon the jurisdiction, distinguish murder from other forms of unlawful homicide, manslaughter is a killing committed in the absence of malice, brought about by reasonable provocation, or diminished capacity. Involuntary manslaughter, where it is recognized, is a killing that lacks all but the most attenuated guilty intent, in most countries, a person convicted of murder generally faces a long-term prison sentence, possibly a life sentence where permitted.

In many common law jurisdictions, a convicted of murder will receive a mandatory life sentence. In jurisdictions where capital punishment exists, the penalty may be imposed for such an act, however. Middle English mordre is a verb from Anglo-Saxon myrdrian and the Middle English noun, the elements of common law murder are, Unlawful killing through criminal act or omission of a human by another human with malice aforethought.

Killing — At common law life ended with cardiopulmonary arrest — the total, with advances in medical technology courts have adopted irreversible cessation of all brain function as marking the end of life. At common law, a fetus was not a human being, life began when the fetus passed through the vagina and took its first breath.

By another human — In early common law, suicide was considered murder, the requirement that the person killed be someone other than the perpetrator excluded suicide from the definition of murder. With malice aforethought — Originally malice aforethought carried its everyday meaning — a deliberate, Murder necessarily required that an appreciable time pass between the formation and execution of the intent to kill.

The courts broadened the scope of murder by eliminating the requirement of actual premeditation and deliberation as well as true malice, all that was required for malice aforethought to exist is that the perpetrator act with one of the four states of mind that constitutes malice.

The four states of mind recognized as constituting malice are, Under state of mind, intent to kill, thus, if the defendant intentionally uses a deadly weapon or instrument against the victim, such use authorizes a permissive inference of intent to kill. In other words, intent follows the bullet, examples of deadly weapons and instruments include but are not limited to guns, knives, deadly toxins or chemicals or gases and even vehicles when intentionally used to harm one or more victims.

In Australian jurisdictions, the risk must amount to a foreseen probability of death. Under state of mind, the doctrine, the felony committed must be an inherently dangerous felony, such as burglary, arson, rape.

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  • Importantly, the underlying felony cannot be a lesser included offense such as assault, as with most legal terms, the precise definition of murder varies between jurisdictions and is usually codified in some form of legislation. Robbery — Robbery is the crime of taking or attempting to take anything of value by force, threat of force or by putting the victim in fear.

    At common law, robbery is defined as taking the property of another, with the intent to deprive the person of that property. Precise definitions of the offence may vary between jurisdictions, under English law, most forms of theft are triable either way, whereas robbery is triable only on indictment. The word rob came via French from Late Latin words of Germanic origin, among the types of robbery are armed robbery involving use of a weapon and aggravated robbery involving use of a deadly weapon or something that appears to be a deadly weapon. Highway robbery or mugging takes place outside or in a place such as a sidewalk, street.

    Carjacking is the act of stealing a car from a victim by force, extortion is the threat to do something illegal, or the offer to not do something illegal, in the event that goods are not given, primarily using words instead of actions. Criminal slang for robbery includes blagging or stick-up, and steaming, in Canada, the Criminal Code makes robbery an indictable offence, subject to a maximum penalty of life imprisonment. If the accused uses a restricted or prohibited firearm to commit robbery, there is a minimum sentence of five years for the first offence.

    Robbery is an offence in the Republic of Ireland. Robbery is an offence in England and Wales. Aggravated theft Robbery is the offence of aggravated theft. Aggravated robbery There are no offences of aggravated robbery and this requires evidence to show a theft as set out in section 1 of the Theft Act In R v Robinson the defendant threatened the victim with a knife in order to recover money which he was actually owed and his conviction for robbery was quashed on the basis that Robinson had an honest, although unreasonable, belief in his legal right to the money.

    It was argued that the theft should be regarded as complete by this time, and R v Gomez, should apply, the threat or use of force must take place immediately before or at the time of the theft. Force used after the theft is complete will not turn the theft into a robbery, the words or immediately after that appeared in section 23 of the Larceny Act were deliberately omitted from section 8.

    The book Archbold said that the facts in R v Harman and it was held in R v Dawson and James that force is an ordinary English word and its meaning should be left to the jury. This approach was confirmed in R v Clouden and Corcoran v Anderton, stealing may involve a young child who is not aware that taking other persons property is not in order. Prison escape — A prison escape is the act of an inmate leaving prison through unofficial or illegal ways. Normally, when this occurs, an effort is made on the part of authorities to recapture them, aggravating factors include whether or not violence was used.

    Many prisons use security features such as sensors, CCTV, barred windows, high walls, barbed wire. Numerous methods have used to escape prison over time. Many escapes have been conducted by inmates who have invented their own methods. Weaknesses that are found as prisoners escape are often corrected at numerous prisons around the world to prevent future escapes in a similar manner and this leads inmates to finding new ways. Since prisoners usually have a lot of time in which they are doing nothing, the following are methods that have commonly been used by prisoners in escapes.

    In some instances, a combination of these are used, while some prisoners are allowed out of their cells at times, others remain locked in their cells most of the time. Many prisoners who are kept in their cells must find out of the cells. Even those who are allowed out of their cells at times still have plans that involve escape from their cells, cell escapes occur through either the door, the window, the light, the ventilation system, by breaking down the walls, or by tunneling underground.

    Some prisoners have escaped by picking the locks on their cells, creating keys to their cells, sawing bars off of the doors or windows, carving away the walls, or breaking away the vent. Breaking down or slipping through the containment of the prison. Methods include destruction of the cell or compound walls, squeezing through tight spaces, prisoners often destroy their containment with homemade tools, smuggled objects, or other contraband.

    Most prisons are contained on the outside by one or more fences, escapees manage to scale these fences successfully or cut holes in the fences, damaging them. These fences are also watched by one or more guards from a tower, outside the fences is often a perimeter patrol conducted by an officer in a vehicle, which stands as the final line of defense.

    A rare method that has used at times involves the digging of a tunnel under the facility that exits outside the facility.

    Attacking guards with muscle, homemade weapons, smuggled weapons, or weapons stolen from overtaken guards, some escapes involve one or more inmates taking over an entire unit or section of the prison, subduing guards, and stealing weapons or other objects they can use to their advantage. Burglary — Burglary is an unlawful entry into a building or other location for the purposes of committing an offence. Usually that offence is theft, but most jurisdictions include others within the ambit of burglary, to engage in the act of burglary is to burgle or to burglarize.

    Breaking can be actual, such as by forcing open a door, or constructive. Breaking does not require that anything be broken in terms of damage occurring. Entering can involve either physical entry by a person, or the insertion of an instrument to remove property, insertion of a tool to gain entry may not constitute entering by itself. Note that there must be a breaking and an entering for common law burglary, breaking without entry or entry without breaking is not sufficient for common law burglary.

    Although rarely listed as an element, the law required that entry occur as a consequence of the breaking. For example, if a wrongdoer partially opens a window with a pry bar—but then notices an open door, the use of the pry bar would not constitute an entry even if a portion of the prybar entered the residence. Under the instrumentality rule the use of an instrument to effect a breaking would not constitute an entry, however, if any part of the perpetrators body entered the residence in an attempt to gain entry, the instrumentality rule did not apply.

    The common law elements of burglary often vary between jurisdictions, the etymology originates from Anglo-Saxon or Old English, one of the Germanic languages. According to one textbook, The word burglar comes from the two German words burg, meaning house, and laron, meaning thief, the British verb burgle is a late back-formation. In Canada, breaking and entering is prohibited by section of the Criminal Code and is a hybrid offence, breaking and entering is defined as trespassing with intent to commit an indictable offence.

    The crime is commonly referred to in Canada as break and enter, there is no crime of burglary as such in Finland. However, if theft is committed during unlawful entering, then a person is guilty of theft or aggravated depending on the circumstances of the felony. In Sweden, burglary does not exist as an offence in itself, instead, if a person simply breaks into any premise, they are technically guilty of either unlawful intrusion or breach of domiciliary peace, depending on the premise in question.

    Breach of domiciliary peace is only when a person unlawfully intrudes or remains where another has his living quarters. The only punishments available for any of these offences are fines, in such cases, the maximum punishment is two years imprisonment. Capital punishment — Capital punishment, also known as the death penalty, is a government sanctioned practice whereby a person is put to death by the state as a punishment for a crime. The sentence that someone be punished in such a manner is referred to as a death sentence, etymologically, the term capital in this context alluded to execution by beheading.

    Fifty-six countries retain capital punishment, countries have abolished it de jure for all crimes, six have abolished it for ordinary crimes. Capital punishment is a matter of controversy in various countries and states. In the European Union, Article 2 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union prohibits the use of capital punishment, also, the Council of Europe, which has 47 member states, prohibits the use of the death penalty by its members.

    The United Nations General Assembly has adopted, in ,,, and , non-binding resolutions calling for a moratorium on executions.

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    • Execution of criminals and political opponents has been used by nearly all societies—both to punish crime, in most countries that practise capital punishment it is reserved for murder, terrorism, war crimes, espionage, treason, defection or as part of military justice. In many countries use the death penalty, drug trafficking is also a capital offence. In China, human trafficking and serious cases of corruption are punished by the death penalty, in militaries around the world courts-martial have imposed death sentences for offences such as cowardice, desertion, insubordination, and mutiny.

      The use of formal execution extends to the beginning of recorded history, most historical records and various primitive tribal practices indicate that the death penalty was a part of their justice system. Communal punishment for wrongdoing generally included compensation by the wrongdoer, corporal punishment, shunning, banishment, usually, compensation and shunning were enough as a form of justice.

      The response to crime committed by neighbouring tribes or communities included a formal apology, a blood feud or vendetta occurs when arbitration between families or tribes fails or an arbitration system is non-existent. This form of justice was common before the emergence of a system based on state or organized religion. It may result from crime, land disputes or a code of honour, acts of retaliation underscore the ability of the social collective to defend itself and demonstrate to enemies that injury to property, rights, or the person will not go unpunished.

      However, in practice, it is difficult to distinguish between a war of vendetta and one of conquest. Elaborations of tribal arbitration of feuds included peace settlements often done in a religious context, compensation was based on the principle of substitution which might include material compensation, exchange of brides or grooms, or payment of the blood debt. Settlement rules could allow for animal blood to replace human blood, the person offered for execution did not have to be an original perpetrator of the crime because the system was based on tribes, not individuals.

      The House is composed of 75 representatives elected from single member constituent districts, each district contains an average population of 35, people. Members of the House are elected to terms without term limits. Life imprisonment — Life imprisonment is any sentence of imprisonment for a crime under which convicted persons are to remain in prison for the rest of their lives or until paroled. Life imprisonment can, in cases, also be imposed for traffic offenses causing death.

      Canada and some U. Portugal was the first country in the world to life imprisonment by the prison reforms of Sampaio e Melo in However, where life imprisonment is a sentence, there may also be formal mechanisms to request parole after a certain period of imprisonment. This means that a convict could be entitled to spend the rest of the sentence outside prison, early release is usually conditional depending on past and future conduct, possibly with certain restrictions or obligations.

      In contrast, when a term of imprisonment has ended. The United States leads in life sentences, at a rate of 50 people per , residents imprisoned for life, the length of time and the conditions surrounding parole vary greatly for each jurisdiction. In some places, convicts are entitled to apply for parole relatively early, in others, however, the time until being entitled to apply for parole does not necessarily tell anything about the actual date of parole being granted. The highest determined prison sentence that can be imposed in the ICC, after this period, the court will review the sentence to determine whether or not it should be reduced.

      Some technically finite sentences are handed out, especially in the U. He committed suicide in his cell one month later. Courts in South Africa have handed out at least two sentences that have exceeded a century and were thus symbolic life sentences, unlike other areas of criminal law, sentences handed to minors do not differ from those given to legal adults.

      A few countries worldwide allow for minors to be given sentences that have no provision for eventual release. Of these, only the United States currently has minors serving such sentences, as of , Human Rights Watch had calculated that there were 2, youth offenders serving life without parole in the United States. Florida was a significant case in juvenile justice, in Jacksonville, Florida, Terrence J.

      Graham tried to rob a restaurant along with three adolescent accomplices.

      Ronnie Lee Gardner

      During the robbery one of Grahams accomplices had a bar that he used to hit the restaurant manager twice in the head. It has final authority of interpretation of the Utah Constitution, the Utah Supreme Court is composed of five members, a chief justice, an associate chief justice, and three justices. All justices are appointed by the governor of Utah, with confirmation by the Utah Senate, the five justices vote among themselves for the position of chief justice and associate chief justice, who each serve a term of four years.

      Matheson courthouse, the multimillion-dollar building was nicknamed the Taj Mahal by some critics over its cost. Prior to that, the met in the Utah State Capitol. Associate Chief Justice Thomas R. Pearce Appointed November In the legal system of the United States, the Supreme Court is the interpreter of federal constitutional law. The Court normally consists of the Chief Justice of the United States and eight justices who are nominated by the President.

      Once appointed, justices have life tenure unless they resign, retire, in modern discourse, the justices are often categorized as having conservative, moderate, or liberal philosophies of law and of judicial interpretation.


      The ratification of the United States Constitution established the Supreme Court in and its powers are detailed in Article Three of the Constitution. The Supreme Court is the court specifically established by the Constitution. The Court first convened on February 2,, by which five of its six initial positions had been filled. According to historian Fergus Bordewich, in its first session, he Supreme Court convened for the first time at the Royal Exchange Building on Broad Street and they had no cases to consider. After a week of inactivity, they adjourned until September, the sixth member was not confirmed until May 12, Because the full Court had only six members, every decision that it made by a majority was made by two-thirds.

      However, Congress has always allowed less than the Courts full membership to make decisions, under Chief Justices Jay, Rutledge, and Ellsworth, the Court heard few cases, its first decision was West v. Barnes, a case involving a procedural issue. The Courts power and prestige grew substantially during the Marshall Court, the Marshall Court also ended the practice of each justice issuing his opinion seriatim, a remnant of British tradition, and instead issuing a single majority opinion. Also during Marshalls tenure, although beyond the Courts control, the impeachment, the Taney Court made several important rulings, such as Sheldon v.

      Nevertheless, it is primarily remembered for its ruling in Dred Scott v. Sandford, which helped precipitate the Civil War. In the Reconstruction era, the Chase, Waite, and Fuller Courts interpreted the new Civil War amendments to the Constitution, during World War II, the Court continued to favor government power, upholding the internment of Japanese citizens and the mandatory pledge of allegiance. Nevertheless, Gobitis was soon repudiated, and the Steel Seizure Case restricted the pro-government trend, the Warren Court dramatically expanded the force of Constitutional civil liberties.

      It held that segregation in public schools violates equal protection and that traditional legislative district boundaries violated the right to vote. Capital punishment in the United States — Capital punishment is a legal penalty in the United States, currently used by 31 states and the federal government. Its existence can be traced to the beginning of the American colonies, there were no executions in the entire country between and In , the U.

      Supreme Court struck down capital punishment statutes in Furman v. Georgia, subsequently, a majority of states passed new death penalty statutes, and the court affirmed the legality of capital punishment in the case Gregg v. Since then, more than 1, offenders have been executed, the Espy file, compiled by M. Watt Espy and John Ortiz Smykla, lists 15, people executed in the United States and its predecessor colonies between and From to , there were 4, executions in the U. The Bill of Rights in included the Eighth Amendment which prohibited cruel, the Fourteenth Amendment adopted in also requires a due process of law for deprivation of life by any state.

      Three states abolished the death penalty for murder during the 19th century, Michigan in , Wisconsin in and Maine in Other states which abolished the death penalty for murder before Gregg v. Georgia include, Minnesota in , Vermont in , Iowa and West Virginia in , hawaii abolished the death penalty in and Alaska in , both before their statehood.

      Utah Firing Squad Executes Ronnie Lee Gardner

      Puerto Rico repealed it in and the District of Columbia in , Arizona and Oregon abolished the death penalty by popular vote in and respectively, but both reinstated it, again by popular vote, some years later, Arizona in and Oregon in Puerto Rico and Michigan are the only two U. Until then save for a few mavericks, no one gave any credence to the possibility of ending the death penalty by judicial interpretation of law according to abolitionist Hugo Bedau. The possibility of challenging the constitutionality of the penalty became progressively more realistic after the Supreme Court of the United States decided Trop v.

      But in the case Powell v. Wainwright, in Furman v. Supreme Court considered a group of consolidated cases. The last pre-Furman execution was that of Luis Monge on June 2,, the Supreme Court has never ruled the death penalty to be per se unconstitutional. The five justices in the majority did not produce a common opinion or rationale for their decision, however, Stewart and William O. Douglas worried explicitly about racial discrimination in enforcement of the death penalty. Thurgood Marshall and William J. The Furman decision caused all death sentences pending at the time to be reduced to life imprisonment, the next day, columnist Barry Schweid wrote that it was unlikely that the death penalty could exist anymore in the United States.

      But instead of abandoning capital punishment,37 states enacted new death penalty statutes that attempted to address the concerns of White, some states responded by enacting mandatory death penalty statutes which prescribed a sentence of death for anyone convicted of certain forms of murder. Today, most Mormons are understood to be members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, some Mormons are also either independent or non-practicing.

      The center of Mormon cultural influence is in Utah, and North America has more Mormons than any other continent, Mormons have developed a strong sense of communality that stems from their doctrine and history. Mormons dedicate large amounts of time and resources to serving in their church, Mormons have a health code which eschews alcoholic beverages, tobacco, coffee, tea, and other addictive substances. They tend to be very family-oriented, and have connections across generations and with extended family.

      Mormons also have a law of chastity, requiring abstention from sexual relations outside of heterosexual marriage. Mormons self-identify as Christian, although some non-Mormons consider Mormons non-Christian, Mormons believe in the Bible, as well as other books of scripture, such as the Book of Mormon. They have a view of cosmology, and believe that all people are spirit-children of God. Mormons believe that returning to God requires following the example of Jesus Christ and they believe that Christs church was restored through Joseph Smith and is guided by living prophets and apostles.

      Central to Mormon faith is the belief that God speaks to his children, due to their high birth and conversion rates, the Mormon population has grown significantly in recent decades rising from around three million in to over 15 million in The term Mormons has been embraced by most adherents of Mormonism, most notably Mormon fundamentalists, while other Latter Day Saint denominations, both LDS Church members and members of fundamentalist groups commonly use the word Mormon in reference to themselves.

      The LDS Church, however, disagrees with this self-characterization, Church leaders also encourage members to use the churchs full name to emphasize its focus on Jesus Christ. Today, polygamy is practiced within Mormonism only by people that have broken with the LDS Church, the history of the Mormons has shaped them into a people with a strong sense of unity and communality. From the start, Mormons have tried to establish what they call Zion, in the first period, Smith had tried literally to build a city called Zion, in which converts could gather.

      During the pioneer era, Zion became a landscape of villages in Utah, in modern times, Zion is still an ideal, though Mormons gather together in their individual congregations rather than a central geographic location. Mormons trace their origins to the visions that Joseph Smith reported having in the early s while living in upstate New York, in , Smith said an angel directed him to a buried book written on golden plates containing the religious history of an ancient people.

      Smith published what he said was a translation of these plates in March as the Book of Mormon, named after Mormon, on April 6,, Smith founded the Church of Christ. The early church grew westward as Smith sent missionaries to proselytize, in , Missouri settlers, alarmed by the rapid influx of Mormons, expelled them from Jackson County into the nearby Clay County, where local residents were more welcoming.

      The church is headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah, and has established congregations, according to the church, it has over 70, missionaries and a membership of over 15 million. It is ranked by the National Council of Churches as the fourth-largest Christian denomination in the United States and it is the largest denomination in the Latter Day Saint movement founded by Joseph Smith during the period of religious revival known as the Second Great Awakening. Adherents, often referred to as Latter-day Saints, or, less formally, Mormons, view faith in Jesus Christ and his atonement as fundamental principles of their religion.