Utah Administrative Code
Title R251 - Administration.
Rule R251-107 - Executions.
R251-107-7 - News Media.

Universal Citation: UT Admin Code R 251-107-7

(1) The Department shall permit press access to the execution and information concerning the execution consistent with the requirements of the constitutions and laws of the United States and State of Utah.

(2) The Department and the Utah Code recognize the need for the public to be informed concerning executions.

(a) The Department will participate and cooperate with the news media to inform the public concerning the execution; and

(b) information should be provided in a timely manner.

(3) The Executive Director shall be responsible for selecting the members of the news media who will be permitted to witness the execution.

(a) After the court sets a date for the execution of the death penalty, news directors or editors desirous to have a staff member witness the execution may submit, in writing, such request for no more than one news media staff member.The request shall be addressed to the Executive Director and received at least 30 days prior to the execution.

(b) When administrative convenience or fairness to the news media dictates, the Department, in its discretion, may extend the request deadline.

(c) Requests for consideration may be granted by the Executive Director provided they contain the following:

(i) a statement setting forth facts showing that the requesting individual falls within the definition of member of the "press" and "news media" as set forth in this rule;

(ii) an agreement to act as a pool representative for other news gathering agencies desiring information on the execution; and

(iii) an agreement that the media member will abide by all of the conditions, rules and regulations while in attendance at the execution.

(d) Upon receipt of a news director's or editor's request for permission for news media witnesses to attend the execution, the Executive Director may take the steps necessary to verify the statements made in the request. After verifying the information in the request, selection of witnesses shall be made by the Executive Director.

(e) As a condition to attending the execution, each designated media witness shall be required by the department to execute an agreement setting forth their willingness to conduct themselves while on prison property in a manner consistent with the legitimate penological, security and safety concerns as delineated by the department.

(f) Media witnesses shall be searched prior to being allowed to witness the execution.

(g) The Department shall arrange for pre-execution briefings, distribution of media briefing packages, briefings throughout the execution event, and post-execution briefings by the news media who witnessed the execution.

(4) Persons representing the news media witnessing the execution shall be required to sign a statement or release absolving the institution or any of its staff from any legal recourse resulting from the exercise of search requirements or other provisions of the witness agreement.

(5) News media representatives shall, after being returned from the execution to the staging area, act as pool representatives for other media representatives covering the event.

(a) The pool representatives shall meet at the designated media center and provide an account of the execution and shall freely answer all questions put to them by other media members and shall not be permitted to report their coverage of the execution back to their respective news organizations until after the non-attending media members have had the benefit of the pool representatives' account of the execution.

(b) News media members attending the post-execution briefing shall agree to remain in the briefing room and not leave nor communicate with persons outside the briefing room until the briefing is over.

(c) The briefing shall end when the attending news media members are through asking questions or after 60 minutes, whichever comes first.

(d) Any film/videotape obtained by a pool photographer shall not be used in any news or other broadcast until made available to all agencies participating in the pool. All agencies receiving the film/videotape will be permitted to use them in news coverage and to retain the film/videotape for file footage.

(6) The Department may alter these processes to impose additional conditions, restrictions and limitations on media coverage of the execution when requirements become necessary for the preservation of prison security, personal safety or other legitimate interests which may be in jeopardy.

(7) If extraordinary circumstances develop, additional conditions and restrictions shall be no more restrictive than required to meet the exigent circumstances.

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