South Carolina court weighs pausing new death penalty law

South Carolina News

FILE – This March 2019, file photo, provided by the South Carolina Department of Corrections shows the state’s electric chair in Columbia, S.C. South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster signed into law last week a bill that would essentially restart the state’s stalled death penalty after a lack of lethal injection drugs has delayed several executions. The new law would let condemned inmates choose between the electric chair or a newly formed firing squad. (Kinard Lisbon/South Carolina Department of Corrections via AP, File)

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — A South Carolina judge is considering whether to temporarily halt a new law effectively forcing death row prisoners to choose to die by either electric chair or firing squad.

Attorneys for two men set to die later this month say the law is unconstitutional because their clients were sentenced under the old law that made lethal injection the default execution method.

The state of South Carolina argues they are working to carry out executions under the methods available at the time.

State Judge Jocelyn Newman said Monday that she’ll make a decision in the next few days.

The state lawsuit is one of several last-minute challenges attorneys for Brad Sigmon and Freddie Owens have filed.

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