The Electric Chair Has No Place in 21st Century South Carolina!

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There is irrefutable evidence that SC's death penalty is racist, arbitrary, and error-prone. Our state legislature seems ready to ignore the reality of capital punishment in South Carolina and resurrect the electric chair as the state's default method of execution.

It is unconscionable that legislators are debating methods of execution when South Carolina's death penalty system is broken beyond repair.

Tell your legislators this legislation has no place in 21st Century South Carolina!

South Carolina has sentenced at least two innocent people to death. In addition, South Carolina courts have wrongly convicted at least nine additional people since 1989 alone, including five for murder. To say that these wrongful convictions were "mistakes" is charitable. Three of these wrongful convictions involved official misconduct by the government, including law enforcement hiding evidence of innocence. When talking about the power of the state to kill, one mistake is unacceptable – in South Carolina, we have had multiple.

Contrary to popular belief, capital punishment is not reserved for the "worst of the worst." In reality, the likelihood of receiving a death sentence in South Carolina is not primarily based on the facts in your case, but rather on the race and gender of the victim, the location of the offense, and the Solicitor in office at the time of the offense. When the outcome of a capital case is driven by these arbitrary factors, equal justice under law, the cornerstone of our legal system, becomes a meaningless phrase.

These facts are well-known and undeniable, and it gets worse.

Capital punishment evolved from lynchings and racial terror, and South Carolina has failed to divorce its modern capital punishment system from this racist history.

Today in South Carolina, Black people make up more than half of South Carolina's death row despite being only 27 percent of the state's population. This staggering disparity becomes clear when you look at the role race plays in capital sentencing. People convicted of a capital offense are substantially more likely to receive a death sentence if the victim was white rather than Black. For example, a Black male is 18 times more likely to receive a death sentence if the victim was white versus Black. This disparity against Black people exists across all categories of capital sentencing. The death penalty is modern-day lynching.

Unfortunately, our state legislature seems ready to ignore these facts and make the electric chair the state's default method of execution.

Take action now!

Message Recipients:
Your State Senator
Your State Representatives

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Your Message
Use the form to send a message to your legislator.

I am your constituent and urge you to oppose H.3755 and S.200. These bills would make the electric chair the state’s default method of execution.

It is unconscionable that the legislature is debating the method of execution when there is irrefutable evidence that South Carolina’s death penalty system is arbitrary, error-prone, and racist.

South Carolina has sentenced at least two innocent people to death in the modern death penalty era. In addition, South Carolina courts have wrongly convicted at least nine additional people since 1989 alone, including five for murder. Three of these wrongful convictions involved official misconduct by the government, including law enforcement hiding evidence of innocence. When talking about the power of the state to kill, one mistake is unacceptable - in South Carolina, we have had multiple.

The death penalty is applied arbitrarily. Contrary to popular belief, capital punishment is not reserved for the “worst of the worst.” In reality, the likelihood of receiving a death sentence in South Carolina is not primarily based on the facts in your case, but rather on the race and gender of the victim, the location of the offense, and the Solicitor in office at the time of the offense. When the outcome of a capital case is driven by these arbitrary factors, equal justice under law, the cornerstone of our legal system, becomes a meaningless phrase.

These facts are well-known and undeniable, and it gets worse.

Capital punishment evolved from lynchings and racial terror, and South Carolina has failed to divorce its modern capital punishment system from this racist history.

Today in South Carolina, Black people make up more than half of South Carolina’s death row despite being only 27 percent of the state’s population. This staggering disparity becomes clear when you look at the role race plays in capital sentencing. People convicted of a capital offense are substantially more likely to receive a death sentence if the victim was white rather than Black. For example, a Black male is 18 times more likely to receive a death sentence if the victim was white versus Black. This disparity against Black people exists across all categories of capital sentencing. The death penalty is modern-day lynching.

Instead of continuing to tinker with a death penalty system that is broken beyond repair, I urge you to follow the lead of our neighbors in Virginia who are about to become the first state in the South to abolish the death penalty.

Sincerely,

[First Name] [Last Name]

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