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death penalty

  • A trial is starting in South Carolina where lawyers for several death row prisoners are arguing the electric chair - as well as the newly established, but so far unused, firing squad - are cruel and unusual punishments. South Carolina hasn't executed anyone since 2011 because the state's lethal injection drugs expired and pharmacies have refused to sell it more. The General Assembly passed a law in 2021 requiring condemned inmates to choose between electrocution or firing squad if the lethal injection drugs weren't available. Four prisoners either out or nearly out of appeals to their death sentences sued and their execution dates were postponed.
  • After granting stays for two executions, the South Carolina Supreme Court has given a circuit court judge in Richland County 90 days to hear a civil lawsuit filed by four death row inmates who claim a new firing squad and the century old electric chair violate the state's ban on cruel, corporal and unusual punishment.
  • The state of South Carolina has scheduled its first execution after prison officials indicated they are ready to conduct executions by firing squad. Richard Bernard Moore is scheduled to die April 29 after the state Supreme Court issued an execution order Thursday. The 57-year-old Moore has spent more than two decades on death row after he was convicted of killing convenience store clerk James Mahoney in Spartanburg. Moore could face a choice between the electric chair and the firing squad. Lawmakers added the firing squad option to the state's capital punishment law last year to work around a decade-long pause in executions attributed to a lack of lethal injection drugs.
  • The Supreme Court has rejected a plea from South Carolina to reimpose the death penalty on a South Carolina inmate whose death sentence stood for two decades until a federal appeals court threw it out in August. Chief Justice John Roberts did not comment Friday in denying the state's request. The order requires the state to conduct a new sentencing hearing for inmate Sammie Stokes, if it wants jurors to sentence him again to death. Otherwise, Stokes will spend the rest of his life in prison. He was sentenced to death in 1999 for the rape and murder of 21-year-old Connie Snipes in Orangeburg County.
  • This edition of the South Carolina Lede for June 26, 2021 features: the latest on Washington dealmaking involving infrastructure and police reform; SC Department of Corrections Director Bryan Stirling gives us updates the death penalty in South Carolina; Gov. Henry McMaster signs the new COVID Liability legislation into law; and more.
  • The South Carolina Supreme Court on Wednesday blocked the planned executions of two inmates by electrocution, saying they cannot be put to death until they truly have the choice of a firing squad option set out in the state's newly revised capital punishment law.
  • Death penalty opponents in South Carolina are renewing calls for the state to toss out its capital punishment statute as two execution dates loom this month. The new group, South Carolinians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty, has asked Gov. Henry McMaster and members of the General Assembly on Wednesday to halt the two upcoming electrocutions and repeal the state's death penalty law. State prisons officials are set on Friday to electrocute Brad Sigmon. He was convicted in 2002 of killing his ex-girlfriend's parents with a baseball bat. Another inmate, Freddie Owens, is set to be executed later this month.
  • The two South Carolina inmates scheduled to die this month under the state's recently reconfigured capital punishment statute are asking an appellate court to halt their deaths by electrocution.
  • A federal judge on Friday declined to halt the upcoming executions of two South Carolina prisoners slated to die later this month under the state’s recently revised capital punishment law.
  • A South Carolina judge on Tuesday refused to block two executions set for later this month as she considers a lawsuit over the state’s new capital punishment law, which effectively forces condemned prisoners to choose to die by either the electric chair or firing squad.