South Carolina Capital Punishment Laws

Capital punishment, or “the death penalty,” is a legal sentence in the state of South Carolina under a number of circumstances. The state has executed 43 people since a ban on capital punishment was lifted in 1985, all following murder convictions. Here are the basics of capital punishment laws in South Carolina.

Capital Punishment Statutes in South Carolina

States have varying capital punishment laws: 32 states have death penalty laws in place while 18 states have banned capital punishment. Most death penalties are issued in murder cases, although South Carolina permits the death penalty in certain cases where a person has knowingly created a great risk of death. The chart below highlights some of South Carolina’s capital punishment laws.

Code Section

South Carolina Code of Laws 16-3-10, et seq.: Murder;

South Carolina Code of Laws 24-3-530: Death by Electrocution or Lethal Injection;

South Carolina Code of Laws 44-23-210, et seq.: Provisions for Mentally Ill

Is Capital Punishment Allowed?

Yes

Effect of Defendant's Incapacity

A female who is pregnant may not be executed until 9 months after she is no longer pregnant; defendants capacity to appreciate conduct is a mitigating circumstance

Minimum Age

No minimum age; under 18 is a mitigating circumstance

Available for Crimes Other than Homicide?

None

Definition of Capital Homicide

Murder in connection with any criminal sexual conduct, kidnapping, burglary, armed robbery, larceny with use of deadly weapon, poison, drug trafficking, physical torture during commission of a drug trafficking felony; prior murder conviction; dismemberment of a person; knowingly created great risk of death to multiple persons in public place; for money or monetary value; judicial officer, solicitor, or other officer of the court (or formers) because of exercise of duties; agent/employee of another; law enforcement officer, peace officer, correction employees, fireman (or formers) related to duty; family members of abovementioned; multiple victims; victim is a child 11 or under; killing of a witness; killing by mob, lynching; killing during a duel

Method of Execution

Electrocution or lethal injection, at the election of the defendant, but if lethal injection is held unconstitutional, then electrocution; if election is waived, then lethal injection

Related Resources for South Carolina Capital Punishment Laws:

Death penalty law is complex, and can be difficult to understand. For more articles and resources on this topic, you can visit FindLaw’s Capital Punishment and the Death Penalty section. If you would like legal assistance with a death penalty matter, you can contact a South Carolina criminal law attorney.

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