POLITICS + GOVERNMENT

Jeff Gray to bring back death penalty after becoming presumptive next Utah County Attorney

Jun 29, 2022, 2:45 PM | Updated: 2:50 pm

Jeff Gray is pictured. Photo credit: Jeff Gray Campaign Facebook page....

Jeff Gray is pictured. Photo credit: Jeff Gray Campaign Facebook page.

UTAH COUNTY, Utah — It’s all but certain that Jeff Gray will become the next Utah County Attorney, having more than 70% of the primary vote over incumbent David Leavitt as of Wednesday morning.

Add to that, Gray does not have a Democratic opponent in the general election, so it’s highly likely he’ll become the Utah County Attorney come January 2023.

And in his first move, Gray told KSL NewsRadio’s Dave & Dujanovic, that he plans to bring back the death penalty.

“I will absolutely bring back the death penalty,” Gray said. “The residents of Utah, the citizens of Utah, have made known their desires, and they see fit to have the death penalty. And I believe that it’s a violation of Mr. Leavitt’s oath to uphold the law when he says he will never pursue the death penalty.”

Gray’s move would be in stark contrast to Leavitt’s 2021 announcement that he would no longer seek the death penalty.

Gray said he doesn’t fault Leavitt for going to the legislature and seeking its repeal.

“That’s his right as a citizen, but as a prosecutor, his obligation is to uphold the law. And when he says that he will never pursue it, that a violation of that duty,”

Leavitt also spoke to Dave & Dujanovic about his loss. The people, he said, clearly chose which criminal justice policies they support.

“My effort all along has been to return more power to people, through juries, and less power to prosecutors and police,” Leavitt said.

Leavitt’s recent controversies

Gray said he doesn’t think Leavitt’s recent negative publicity helped him win. He attributes his success to voters rejecting Leavitt’s policies.

Leavitt however, does think the recent headlines and accusations have hurt him.

“We’re dealing with a citizenry that will embrace them [lies] and believe them.”

But, Leavitt said, while he won’t change his policies, he will spend the next six months setting Gray up as best as possible for his administration.

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Jeff Gray to bring back death penalty after becoming presumptive next Utah County Attorney