While outrage boils to the surface when Utah uses its firing squad option, there is little substantive legal development concerning the firing squad's use. Few cases have challenged the firing squad's constitutionality. This article discusses the legal and political implications of the firing squad. Using the Supreme Court's everdeveloping Eighth Amendment jurisprudence as a guide, this article discusses whether the firing squad, both historically and in its present application, passes constitutional muster. Beyond those factors that trigger constitutional protection, this article discusses those elements of the firing squad's use which define society's humanity and demonstrate our dignity. In the end, those factors are framed and fashioned by each individual's view of decency and dignity.
Christopher Q. Culter, Nothing Less than the Dignity of Man: Evolving Standards, Botched Executions and Utah's Controversial Use of the Firing Squad, 50 Clev. St. L. Rev. 335 (2002-2003)