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death penalty

  • Lawyers for four death row inmates who are out of appeals are expected to argue to the South Carolina Supreme Court that the state’s old electric chair and new firing squad are cruel and unusual punishments.
  • South Carolina's highest court apparently is not ready to allow the state to restart executions after more than 12 years until they hear more arguments about newly obtained lethal injection drugs as well as a recently added firing squad and the old electric chair.
  • The state is poised to carry out its first execution in more than a decade after the Department of Corrections secured the drug pentobarbital.
  • The South Carolina House has given key approval to allow the name of any company that sells lethal injection drugs and members of the execution team to remain secret. A bill has already passed the Senate. The proposal will head to the governor's desk if the two bodies can work out their minor differences. The governor has been adamant about restarting executions. South Carolina last executed an inmate in 2011. Opponents say the state shouldn't hide any part of the state sponsored death of an inmate.
  • South Carolina Senators hope a bill passed Wednesday will help the state resume capital punishment after an involuntary pause for nearly 12 years. Lawmakers approved a bill concealing the identity of pharmaceutical companies providing lethal injection drugs for state executions. The state has been unable to purchase the drugs necessary for lethal injection since the state's batch expired in 2013. Officials have largely blamed that inability to replenish the supply on the lack of a so-called "shield law." Republican leaders have said pharmaceutical companies fear public pressure from activists and therefore will not sell to states that do not conceal their identities.
  • A bill that would protect the identities of companies providing lethal injection drugs is now before the full South Carolina Senate. The state's last batch of lethal injection drugs expired in 2013. Republican leaders say the state cannot restock its supply because South Carolina lacks a statute shielding the providing drug companies' identities. The proposed shield is also now broader. A Senate committee voted Thursday to strip the proposal of language that Sen. Greg Hembree says has still given companies' cold feet in other states with similar laws. A lobbyist for the ACLU of South Carolina says the amendment's passage is a loss for accountability.
  • A circuit court must get more information from the South Carolina Department of Corrections regarding the agency's attempts to acquire lethal injection drugs. The Thursday order from the South Carolina Supreme Court means it could be four more months until justices decide whether a newly organized firing squad or the old electric chair are legal methods of execution. Four condemned prisoners have challenged a 2021 law that forced them to choose between the electric chair or a newly formed firing squad. South Carolina's batch of lethal injection drugs expired in 2013.
  • A small group of South Carolina senators are moving to shield large parts of the state's lethal injection process from public scrutiny. A subcommittee voted 3-1 to advance the shield law. South Carolina hasn't been able to get the drugs for lethal injections for more than a decade. The bill would hide the identities of the company that provides the drugs and any pharmacists or prison employees involved.
  • 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.