Chief Sponsor: Stephen G. Handy

Senate Sponsor: Todd Weiler


8     General Description:
9          This bill directs the Legislative Auditor General to conduct an audit of the comparative
10     costs of the death penalty capital offenses and nondeath penalty capital cases.
11     Highlighted Provisions:
12          This bill:
13          ▸     provides the auditor with guidelines for determining the scope of costs incurred by
14     capital cases, including when the death penalty is sought and when it is not;
15          ▸     describes the various prosecutions and outcomes regarding capital cases, including
16     conviction and plea bargains; and
17          ▸     directs that the auditor report to the Legislature, including recommendations.
18     Money Appropriated in this Bill:
19          None
20     Other Special Clauses:
21          None
22     Utah Code Sections Affected:
23     ENACTS:
24          36-31-101, Utah Code Annotated 1953

26     Be it enacted by the Legislature of the state of Utah:
27          Section 1. Section 36-31-101 is enacted to read:

28          36-31-101. Death penalty audit.
29          (1) The Office of the Legislative Auditor General shall conduct an audit, subject to the
30     prioritization of the Legislative Audit Subcommittee, to determine the fiscal costs and potential
31     cost avoidance to state and local agencies, and other entities:
32          (a) to prosecute capital offenses as:
33          (i) death penalty cases; or
34          (ii) cases where the death penalty is not sought;
35          (b) to prosecute capital offenses as death penalty cases when the death penalty is
36     imposed, and when the death penalty is not imposed;
37          (c) to prosecute capital offenses when the death penalty is sought but the case is:
38          (i) resolved by plea bargain;
39          (ii) resolved without trial by a sentence of life without parole; or
40          (iii) addressed by other strategic litigation decisions that result in a plea that resolves
41     the capital offense charge;
42          (d) in the appeal process for capital cases, when the death penalty is imposed; and
43          (e) when a case is resolved by a sentence lesser than life without parole.
44          (2) The audit shall include the following costs for death penalty capital cases as
45     compared to nondeath penalty cases in each of the types of prosecutions and case resolutions
46     described in Subsection (1), as incurred:
47          (a) by:
48          (i) law enforcement;
49          (ii) county jails;
50          (iii) the court, including use of buildings and facilities, staff, and security;
51          (iv) the Department of Corrections prior to the exhaustion of appeals of a capital
52     conviction;
53          (v) the Department of Corrections regarding incarceration of persons convicted of
54     capital offenses after the exhaustion of the defendant's appeals, both when the death penalty is
55     imposed and when the death penalty is not imposed; and
56          (vi) the Board of Pardons and Parole, where applicable; and
57          (b) for:
58          (i) pretrial costs;

59          (ii) medical and psychiatric services provided to the defendant, including examinations
60     and testimony;
61          (iii) expert witnesses;
62          (iv) other witnesses;
63          (v) juries;
64          (vi) sentencing hearings;
65          (vii) prosecution, including both state and county prosecutors;
66          (viii) defense costs, including state and local defense attorneys;
67          (ix) appeals and postconviction actions; and
68          (x) the execution, including facilities, staff, and security measures.
69          (3) The audit shall include any cost avoided for the costs listed in Subsection (2) for
70     any aggravated murder case that is:
71          (a) resolved by plea bargain;
72          (b) resolved without trial by a sentence of life without parole; or
73          (c) addressed by other strategic litigation decisions that result in a plea that resolves the
74     capital offense charge.
75          (4) The Office of the Legislative Auditor General shall report to the:
76          (a) Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Interim Committee; and
77          (b) Executive Offices and Criminal Justice Appropriations Subcommittee.
78          (5) The report shall include:
79          (a) the audit findings;
80          (b) issues the auditor may find that limit access to information; and
81          (c) recommendations the auditor may have for legislative action to facilitate improved
82     access to agency information.

Legislative Review Note
Office of Legislative Research and General Counsel