Utah Administrative Code

The Utah Administrative Code is the body of all effective administrative rules as compiled and organized by the Division of Administrative Rules (see Subsection 63G-3-102(5); see also Sections 63G-3-701 and 702).

NOTE: For a list of rules that have been made effective since January 1, 2020, please see the codification segue page.

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R671. Pardons (Board of), Administration.

Rule R671-312B. Commutation Procedures Applicable to Persons Sentenced to Death After April 26, 1992.

As in effect on January 1, 2020

Table of Contents

R671-312B-1. Scope of Rule.

Board of Pardons and Parole Administrative Rule R671-312 governs all petitions and proceedings when a petition for commutation of a death sentence is filed by or on behalf of a person sentenced to death for a capital felony in this state. In addition to the rules of general applicability set forth in Rule R671-312, this rule R671-312B governs commutation petitions and proceedings when a death sentence commutation petition concerns a person who was sentenced to death after April 26, 1992.

R671-312B-2. Eligibility.

(1) A person sentenced to death, or that person's counsel, may file a petition for commutation of a death sentence no later than seven days after the sentencing court has issued a judgment of death or a warrant of execution.

(2) If any appeal of the petioner's conviction or sentence is filed or litigated on behalf of the petitioner, including any collateral challenges or lawsuits, the commutation petition shall be filed within seven days after completion of all such appeals of the conviction or sentence and collateral challenges or lawsuits, including, but not limited to all proceedings seeking post-conviction relief, habeus corpus relief, or other proceedings for extraordinary relief.

(3) Failure of any petitioner or counsel to comply with this rule, all other Board rules, or any Board directive or order may result in the summary denial of the petition and cancellation of any scheduled hearing.

(4) Any act, omission, pleading, or other filing by a petitioner or counsel that the Board determines is meant to delay, hinder, or disrupt the Board's commutation process or proceedings may result in the summary denial of the petition and cancellation of any scheduled hearing.

R671-312B-3. Petition Requirements.

(1)(a) The commutation petition shall be signed by the petitioner, under oath, and filed with the Board's Administrative Coordinator at the offices of the Board no later than seven days after the sentencing court signs a warrant setting an execution date.

(b) If the petitioner is represented by counsel, the petitioner's counsel shall also sign the petition.

(c) If the petitioner is represented by counsel, counsel shall comply in all respects with Rule R671-103, Attorneys.

(d) The petitioner or counsel shall hand-deliver a copy of the petition to the Utah Attorney General or designee. Additional copies of the petition may be served in any manner calculated to accomplish actual notice to the state, and may include facsimile transmission, electronic mail, or other electronic transmission.

(2) The commutation petition shall include:

(a) the petitioner's name, date of birth, and Department of Corrections offender number;

(b) the name, address, telephone number, and e-mail address of any counsel representing the petitioner in the commutation proceeding;

(c) a certified copy of the Judgment, Conviction and Sentence for which commutation is petitioned;

(d) a certified copy of the Warrant setting the execution date applicable to the petitioner and for which commutation is petitioned;

(e) a statement specifying whether or not the conviction and sentence for which commutation is petitioned was appealed; and if so, a copy of any applicable appellate decision;

(f) a statement specifying whether or not the conviction and sentence for which commutation is petitioned was the subject of any complaint, petition, or other court filing or litigation seeking collateral remedies, post-conviction relief, a writ of habeus corpus, or any other extraordinary relief; and if so, a copy of all applicable final orders, rulings, determinations, and appellate decisions regarding such litigation;

(g) a statement of the reasons or grounds which the petitioner believes support the commutation of the death sentence;

(h) a statement certifying whether any of the reasons stated as reasons or grounds for commutation have been reviewed by a court or courts of competent jurisdiction, and if reviewed by any court, a citation to the record indicating such review;

(i) a statement, if new information is alleged, explaining why the information is considered new, why the information was not or could not have been reviewed during the judicial process, and why the information is not still subject to judicial review;

(j) a statement, if legal or constitutional reasons for commutation are claimed, setting forth the reasons that the provisions of Utah Code Ann. Section 77-27-5.5(6) do not prohibit the Board from considering the purported legal or constitutional issues; and

(k) copies of all written evidence upon which the petitioner intends to rely at the hearing along with the names of all witnesses the petitioner intends to call and a summary of their anticipated testimony.

(3) If the petitioner previously received a commutation hearing, the petition shall include a statement reciting what, if any, new, significant, and previously unavailable information exists which supports commutation and the reasons the petitioner believes this information supports a second, subsequent, or new hearing.

(4) Within seven days of receiving the petition, the State of Utah, by and through the Attorney General or designee, shall file a response to the petition. The State shall file it's response to the commutation petition with the Board and hand deliver a copy of the response to the petitioner and counsel, if represented.

(a) The state's response shall include copies of all written evidence, the names of any witnesses, and a summary of the anticipated testimony upon which the State intends to rely to rebut the petitioner's claim that the sentence of death should be commuted.

(b) The Board may request either the petitioner or the state to provide additional information.

R671-312B-4. Preliminary Determinations and Procedures.

(1) If the Board believes that it cannot consider the claims pursuant to Utah Code Ann. Section 77-27-5.5, it shall deny the petition.

(2) If the Board determines the petition does not present a substantial issue for commutation, it shall deny the petition.

(3) If the Board determines the petition presents a substantial issue for commutation, which has not, or could not have been reviewed by the judicial process, the Board may grant a commutation hearing or deny the petition without further pleadings, response, hearing, or submissions.

(4) The Board shall issue an order either granting or denying a commutation hearing. The Board's order shall be delivered to the petitioner, counsel, and the state's counsel, either by mail or electronic mail.

(5) If the Board grants a commutation hearing, the Board Chair or a Board Member designated by the Chair, will:

(a) schedule and hold a pre-hearing conference with the petitioner's counsel and the state's counsel in order to schedule the commutation hearing;

(b) identify the witnesses to be called;

(c) clarify the issues to be addressed; and

(d) take any other action deemed necessary and appropriate to conduct the commutation hearing and proceedings.

R671-312B-5. Commutation Hearing Procedures.

(1) Pursuant to Utah Constitution, Art. VII, Section 12, and Utah Code Ann., Section 77-27-5, a commutation hearing must be held before the full Board.

(2) Notice of the commutation hearing shall be sent to:

(a) the victim's representatives;

(b) the police agency which investigated the offenses for which commutation has been petitioned;

(c) the office or agency responsible for the prosecution of the offenses for which commutation has been petitioned; and

(d) the court which originally imposed the sentence for the offenses for which commutation has been petitioned.

(3) Notice of the commutation hearing will be provided to the public via the Board's internet website, and the State of Utah Public Meeting and Notice website.

(4) If not otherwise called as a witness, a victim representative, as defined by Rule R671-203-1, shall be afforded the opportunity to attend the commutation hearing, and to present testimony regarding the commutation of the death sentence, in accordance with, and subject to the provisions of Subsections R671-203-4 A through C, and F.

(5) A commutation hearing is not adversarial and neither party is allowed to cross-examine the other party's witnesses. However, the Board may ask questions freely of any witness, the petitioner, the petitioner's counsel, or the state's counsel.

(6) The Utah Rules of Evidence do not apply to a commutation hearing. However, all evidence and testimony sought to be introduced by the parties must be relevant to the issues to be decided by the Board. The Board, through the Board Chair, will make all final determinations regarding evidence or testimony admissibility, relevance, or exclusion.

(7) In conducting the commutation hearing:

(a) The Board Chair or designee will place all witnesses under oath and may impose a time limit on each side for presenting its case.

(b) The Board will record the commutation hearing in accordance with Subsection 77-27-8(2).

(c) Rule R671-302, News Media and Public Access to Hearings, will govern media and public access to the hearing.

(d) The Board may take any action it considers necessary and appropriate to maintain the order, decorum, and dignity of the hearing.

(e) During the commutation hearing, no person, including either party, the petitioner, any witness, either party's counsel or any other person associated with or employed by a party or counsel, may approach any member of the Board without leave from the Chair.

R671-312B-6. Commutation Decision.

(1) The Board shall determine by majority decision whether to grant or deny the commutation petition.

(2) The decision of the Board granting or denying commutation following a hearing shall be delivered by mail or electronic mail to the parties and published by the Board in the same manner as other Board decisions.

(3) The decision of the Board will also be filed with the court that entered the sentence or conviction that is the subject of the commutation petition.


capital punishment, commutation

Date of Enactment or Last Substantive Amendment

May 22, 2013

Notice of Continuation

May 11, 2018

Authorizing, Implemented, or Interpreted Law

Art VII, Sec 12; 77-19-8; 77-27-2; 77-27-4; 77-27-5; 77-27-5.5; 77-27-8; 77-27-9; 77-27-9.5.

Additional Information


For questions regarding the content or application of rules under Title R671, please contact the promulgating agency (Pardons (Board of), Administration). A list of agencies with links to their homepages is available at http://www.utah.gov/government/agencylist.html or from http://www.rules.utah.gov/contact/agencycontacts.htm.