An important bipartisan federal criminal justice reform legislation, called the First Step Act (S.3649) currently awaits a vote in the U.S.
Since 1912, there have been 282 executions carried out by the state of South Carolina. Prior to this date executions were carried out by the individual counties. Hanging was the method of execution prior to 1912; then it was electrocution. In total, 686 persons have been executed.
In 1972, the U.S. Supreme Court in the case of Furman v. Georgia, held that the imposition of the death penalty was unconstitutional in those situations where either the court or the jury had practically unfettered discretion to impose the ultimate penalty. The Furman case, in effect, declared most death penalty statutes, including that of South Carolina, to be unconstitutional. In 1974, South Carolina joined other states in modifying its death penalty statutes with a focus more strictly on capital murder. A number of people in South Carolina were sentenced under this statute, though none were executed. This version of the state’s death penalty statute was declared unconstitutional by the state Supreme Court in 1977. It was not until 1985 that the law was reinstituted in a way which avoided these legal issues.
There have been 43 executions in South Carolina since 1985. In 1995, the General Assembly permitted lethal injection as an alternative execution method, which has since become the standard method.
For more information and ways to get involved, contact your state's organizations:
South Carolinians Abolishing the Death Penalty is an organization that is dedicated to fighting to abolish the use of the death penalty in South Carolina.