The Death Penalty Project
Image via Wikimedia Commons
When Emily Hopkins requested death penalty procedures from the Utah Department of Corrections in 2015, they were met with a rejection, and after that a denied appeal. However, whether it was the result of a new public records officer or a change in UDC policy, a request filed this year led to the release of the Technical Manual used in carrying out executions, including procedures for the firing squad.
There is a lot of common lore surrounding logistics of firing squads - one gun contains a blanks, executioners aim for the heart, not the head, there may be a blindfold and a cigarette. But what’s actually on the books is a bit of a mystery, and in Utah, where a shortage of lethal drugs has brought the firing squad out of retirement, no light is going to be shed on the issue anytime soon.