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firing squad

  • 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.
  • A bill that would allow South Carolina to buy the drugs needed for lethal injection without revealing the name of the company who sells them will soon be heading for the governor's desk. The state Senate on Thursday approved minor changes the House made in the shield law bill with almost no debate. The proposal also requires the names of members of the execution team be kept secret. South Carolina has had an unintended 12-year moratorium on the death penalty after its lethal injection drugs passed their expiration date and pharmacies refused to sell the state more.
  • 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.
  • A South Carolina judge has ruled that the state’s newly created execution firing squad and its use of the electric chair are unconstitutional. Judge Jocelyn Newman's decision Tuesday siding with four death row inmates is sure to be swiftly appealed as the state struggles to implement its new execution protocols. Last month, Newman heard arguments from lawyers for four men on the state’s death row, who said that the prisoners would feel terrible pain whether their bodies were “cooking” by electricity or heart stopped by a marksman’s bullet. The state's experts said death by firing squad or electric chair would be instantaneous and the condemned would not feel any pain. Corrections Department officials said they are “assessing the ruling.” Gov. Henry McMaster said he would appeal.
  • 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.
  • It's unknown how long a stay will hold off the execution of South Carolina's first-ever inmate to be put to death by a firing squad as his attorneys pursue legal challenges. But the issuance of Richard Bernard Moore's death warrant has renewed interest in how a state puts in motion its plans to shoot an inmate to death. South Carolina had planned to put Moore to death by firing squad on April 29. The state added the method to its approved capital punishment methods last year. Since then, prisons officials have been retrofitting the death chamber to add a slot in the wall through which three volunteers will shoot rifles at the condemn's heart.
  • The South Carolina Supreme Court has put another execution on hold, two days after temporarily blocking plans for a rare firing squad execution. The court issued an order Friday granting inmate Brad Keith Sigmon a temporary stay ahead of his scheduled May 13 execution. The state's highest court on Wednesday had paused plans for an April 29 firing squad execution of Richard Moore. Moore and Sigmon would have been the first death row inmates put to death by South Carolina after a 2021 law made electrocution the default and also gave prisoners the option to choose a firing squad. Sigmon had so far not chosen an execution method.
  • The South Carolina Supreme Court has issued a temporary stay halting the state from carrying out plans for its first-ever firing squad execution. Wednesday's order by the state's high court temporarily halts a scheduled April 29 execution of inmate Richard Moore. The court order said a more detailed order will follow. Moore's attorneys had asked justices to block the execution plan so they could ask the U.S. Supreme Court to review whether his crime rises to the level of a death penalty offense. Moore has spent more than two decades on death row for the 1999 killing of convenience store clerk James Mahoney in Spartanburg.
  • A South Carolina prisoner scheduled for execution later this month has chosen to die by firing squad rather than in the electric chair. Court documents filed Friday listed Richard Moore's decision. Moore's April 29 execution would make him the first person executed in the state since 2011. His attorneys have asked the state Supreme Court to halt the execution while another court considers whether the state's capital punishment methods are constitutional. A state law that went into effect last year set electrocution as the default method and added a firing squad option. Correction officials have maintained they are unable to obtain the drugs needed for lethal injection, the state's third method.