Firing squad bill heads to governor’s desk
by Logan Finney, Idaho Reports
The Idaho Senate passed a bill 24-11 to legalize use of the firing squad for executions if the state is unable to procure the chemicals necessary for lethal injection. The bill moves to the governor’s desk.
The legislature passed a law last year that offers secrecy to the providers of such execution chemicals, in hopes it would make them easier to obtain for the Idaho Department of Correction. That has not been successful, acknowledged Sen. Doug Ricks, R-Rexburg, who carried House Bill 186 in the Senate.
Sen. Dan Foreman, R-Viola, referenced his own experiences with gunshot victims, as well as committee testimony from family members of people who have been executed by firing squad in other states.
“Is this what we want in terms of our image to the public?” Foreman asked.
Other lawmakers said they aren’t strong supporters of the death penalty itself, but the state needs the ability to carry out its criminal sentences.
“The following through of the death penalty is what gives the public trust that the legal system can rectify wrongs,” said Sen. Ben Adams, R-Nampa. “But there aren’t a lot of dignified ways to die… and it is the backup.”
If the governor signs the bill into law, it would take effect on July 1, 2023. It would allow use of the firing squad for an execution if the IDOC director is unable to certify that lethal injection is available within five days after the issuance of a new death warrant.
The Idaho Attorney General’s Office obtained a death warrant last month for IDOC inmate Gerald Pizzuto, Jr., with an execution scheduled for March 23, but it was cancelled due to a lack of chemicals.
Logan Finney | Associate Producer
Logan Finney is a North Idaho native with a passion for media production and boring government meetings. He grew up skiing, hunting and hiking in the mountains of Bonner County and has maintained a lifelong interest in the state’s geography, history and politics. Logan joined the Idaho Reports team in 2020 as a legislative session intern and stayed to cover the COVID-19 pandemic. He was hired as an associate producer in 2021 and they haven’t been able to get rid of him since.