SPARTANBURG, S.C. (WSPA) – A South Carolina death row inmate is set to be executed for the first time since 2011. Some are arguing the lack of choice for lethal injection is unconstitutional.
Richard Moore has selected death by firing squad after more than two decades on death row for killing a convenience store clerk in Spartanburg in 1999. However, lawyers said this decision does not mark the end of this case.
“Methods of execution of electrocution and firing squad is unconstitutional,” Justice 360 Executive Director Lindsey Vann said.
Vann represents Moore and three other death row inmates in an ongoing lawsuit.
“They can be forced to choose between electrocution and firing squad and not have the option to elect lethal injection,” she said.
The claim is the force of choice is unconstitutional, since lethal injection was the default method at the time of sentencing.
“It really changes the way people are looking at execution methods kind of in the fourth quarter,” Vann said.
In an affidavit, Department of Corrections Director Bryan Stirling said, “Despite diligent efforts, the department has been unable to obtain or acquire the necessary drugs for execution by lethal injection.”
“Basically kind of sets up something where the director decides what is available and then the inmate is allowed to elect between whatever he certifies are available,” Vann said.
Stirling said the department has tried to access the lethal injection drug from manufacturers, pharmacies, and by compounding all necessary ingredients but has been unsuccessful.
Meanwhile, a judge ruled Thursday the matter deserves further conversation.
“Based on the record and what’s been presented before her those issues really should be decided by a court,” Vann said.
Moore included a statement with his selection that he feels both methods are unconstitutional.
Moore’s execution is currently set for April 29. In the meantime, Moore’s attorneys have asked for a stay in his execution.