Due to the continued unavailability of lethal injection drugs, the leaders of South Carolina decided to proceed with the executions after a 10-year delay. To accomplish this, lawmakers will give death row inmates the choice between the electric chair or the newly formed firing squad, although lethal injection will remain the state’s preferred method of execution.
Governor Henry McMaster enacted the law that requires death row inmates to make a choice, but it is not clear when and if executions can resume. Two inmates who exhausted their appeals immediately sued, claiming they could not be electrocuted or shot because they were convicted under an earlier law that made lethal injection the default method of execution. if an inmate rejects the electric chair.
Persistent delays are unacceptable if the state is to apply the death penalty. As McMaster said via Twitter, “The families and loved ones of the victims have a right to closure and justice under the law.”
The death penalty is the ultimate punishment for the worst criminals.
We must be certain, with a vigorous defense for the accused criminals, that guilt is established. After that, at present, a flawed legal process allows death row inmates to remain in the death row for decades after the appeal. This is not how the process should work. Capital cases should be given top priority and given careful and comprehensive review. And they need to be dealt with quickly.
The calls should be ranked in order of priority. Last minute stays, as a rule, are as inexcusable as the years between sentencing and execution.
The last few years have seen the problem worsen.
Executions and new death sentences are down in South Carolina and the United States. South Carolina has not executed anyone since May 6, 2011.
The complication was in the method: the use of lethal injection.
States have not been able to obtain drugs because the pharmaceutical companies that prepared them in the past have come under a lot of outside pressure to end the practice.
Without drugs, states have no way of executing death row inmates unless, like in South Carolina, they choose to die by electrocution.
While lethal injection remains the most acceptable method of administering the death penalty, the complications surrounding the process should not mean that the death penalty is non-existent.
However, the method of execution is not the main problem.
Until we change the legal procedures surrounding death penalty cases, the death penalty is not even very good as a social retribution. Too often there is sympathy for the person executed because the stories of the victims are deeply rooted in the past. The victims, let us remember, are not there to tell their stories. Their family and friends are punished as the business drags on.
Call the punishment by death or life imprisonment with no chance of getting out of the punishment if you will, but it’s time for people to pay the price for their actions.
If the electric chair and firing squads are the only methods of execution available in South Carolina, use them.