Guiora and Cassell testify at Utah State Legislature in support of proposed bystanders bill

Amos Guiora and Paul Cassell, both professors at the University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law, this week appeared at the Utah State Legislature to testify in support of H.B. 170, “911 Responsibilities in an Emergency.” 

The bill would require bystanders to dial 911 when they have knowledge that another individual is in peril because of serious bodily injury associated with a crime or medical emergency.

Guiora worked with Rep. Brian King, D-Salt Lake City, in drafting the bill, drawing from his book The Crime of Complicity: The Bystander in the Holocaust.

“We cannot lose sight of the harm caused to victims by bystander inaction,” Guiora said during his testimony.

Cassell offered additional support for the bill during his remarks. He explained that Utah already has similar laws requiring citizens to report child abuse and elder abuse.

“Like these already-existing Utah laws, H.B. 170 merely asks citizens to take a simple step – to call 911 when a person is clearly suffering serious bodily injury and needs immediate help,” said Cassell. 

Several members of the committee expressed support for the measure, which is scheduled for additional discussion.

Both professors also published an op-ed on the issue in The Deseret News. Read it here.