South Carolina House approves death by firing squad option for execution

The move, slated to become law, is intended to compensate for a shortage of lethal injection drugs.

Nick Monroe Cleveland Ohio

In a report from the Associated Press, it appears that South Carolina House and Senate are in agreement over expanding options for the death penalty. In a 66 to 43 vote, the House passed a bill allowing inmates on death row to choose being shot or electrocuted, if lethal injection drugs happen to be in short supply (this happens because of an expiration date on the drugs in question).

If the inmate refuses to choose: “If the convicted person waives the right of election, then the penalty must be administered by electrocution.”

It was approved by the Senate back in March and the House’s tweaks added nothing outstandingly different to the bill. Republican Governor Henry McMaster has previously said he’d sign it, when it reaches his desk.

Three death row inmates are out of appeals. This is out of a crowd of thirty-seven prisoners, according to official documents.

AP describes a backlog situation that South Carolina had been previously experiencing. In a loophole of sorts, inmates had been allowed to choose between lethal injection or an electric chair. With the knowledge that the drugs weren’t readily in stock, many of them chose lethal injection.

Other measures like giving life sentences instead of death penalty in many cases helped cut down on the length of death row’s queue.

A standard sort of opposition via lawsuits is on the table. Pushback against the bill from House Democrats included "not applying the new execution rules to current death row inmates; livestreaming executions on the internet; outlawing the death penalty outright; and requiring lawmakers to watch executions."

None of these options panned out.


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