SC

Henry McMaster’s Death Penalty Grandstanding

As we noted yesterday, South Carolina’s current death penalty debate is just silly … and totally pointless from a practical perspective. The state’s governor, Henry McMaster, held a press conference this week calling on lawmakers to pass a “shield law” enabling companies to anonymously sell the drugs used in performing…

As we noted yesterday, South Carolina’s current death penalty debate is just silly … and totally pointless from a practical perspective.

The state’s governor, Henry McMaster, held a press conference this week calling on lawmakers to pass a “shield law” enabling companies to anonymously sell the drugs used in performing lethal injections.

Vendors are currently afraid to sell the drugs due to intense backlash from death penalty opponents.

Ready for some irony?  McMaster was presiding over the State Senate as lieutenant governor when this legislation stalled over a year-and-a-half ago.  Moreover, McMaster hasn’t mentioned the issue in the ten months he’s been governor – until this week’s “emergency” press conference.

To his credit, embattled S.C. Department of Corrections (SCDC) director Bryan Stirling has been consistently pushing for this shield law since he took over the agency five years ago.  Former governor Nikki Haley supported Stirling in his efforts, McMaster (until this week) did not.

McMaster’s sense of urgency is driven by a December 1 deadline imposed by the S.C. Supreme Court for the execution of 52-year-old Bobby Stone – who was convicted of murdering Sumter, S.C. sheriff’s sergeant Charlie Kubala back in 1996.

Stone’s date with the executioner is unlikely to come off, though.

Like many other state prison systems, the SCDC has been unable to purchase one of the drugs that makes up the lethal injection cocktail.  No American company manufactures the substance, and the European companies that produce it refuse to sell it in America.

At least not publicly …

The result?  South Carolina hasn’t executed an inmate since May of 2011.  There’s a death row in the Palmetto State – it was recently relocated as a matter of fact – but executions have been effectively discontinued.

McMaster’s belated support for a “shield law” drew a rebuke from Catherine Templeton, his top rival in next spring’s GOP gubernatorial primary election.

“The death penalty should be swift,” Templeton told us.  “Yet bad, career politicians are preventing justice from being served.”

We agree …

Bigger picture, though, this entire debate is a joke – a total waste of breath/ keystrokes.

If state government isn’t committed to the regular administration of the death penalty in especially heinous capital cases, why have a death penalty at all?

No one is going to be deterred by a punishment that’s implemented once a year via the most dainty methodology available.  No one – least of all hardened criminals.

We get that politicians – especially “Republicans” – want to appear to be “tough on crime.”  Especially when elections are just around the corner.

But this?  This is impotence on display …

***

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