Quantcast
Connect with us

Supreme Court takes case of death row inmate who forgot the crime

Published

on

A month after halting his execution, the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday agreed to take up the case of an Alabama convicted murderer whose attorneys argue should be spared the death penalty because strokes have wiped out his memory of committing the crime.

The justices agreed to decide whether executing 67-year-old Vernon Madison, convicted of fatally shooting a police officer in 1985, would violate the U.S. Constitution’s Eighth Amendment bar against cruel and unusual punishment.

ADVERTISEMENT

The Supreme Court has previously imposed some limits on capital punishment relating to people with intellectual disabilities and mental illnesses.

Madison, who has spent decades on death row, has suffered several strokes in recent years, resulting in dementia and memory impairment, court papers said. He is legally blind, cannot walk on his own and speaks with a slur.

Alabama had previously appealed to the Supreme Court a federal appeals court ruling last year that Madison could not be put to death because his memory loss had left him unable to understand the connection between his crime and the punishment he is due to receive.

Last November, the justices ruled unanimously that Alabama could execute Madison, saying that Supreme Court precedent had not established “that a prisoner is incompetent to be executed because of a failure to remember his commission of the crime.”

ADVERTISEMENT

The case prompted liberal Justice Stephen Breyer, a death penalty critic, to write in a separate opinion that Madison’s case illustrated “the unconscionably long periods of time that prisoners often spend on death row awaiting execution.”

But on Jan. 25, the high court halted Madison’s execution as it considered a request by his attorneys to reconsider the case.

His lawyers said that the state had failed to disclose that a court-appointed psychologist who evaluated Madison had a substance abuse problem and had been suspended from his practice for forging prescriptions, making his findings invalid.

ADVERTISEMENT

They urged the justices to take the case to clarify whether the Constitution allows someone with dementia and cognitive decline to be executed.

Madison shot Julius Schulte, a police officer in Mobile, twice in the back of the head as Schulte supervised Madison’s move out of his former girlfriend’s house, according to court papers.

Madison, who is black, was sentenced to death in 1994 in his third trial after his first two convictions were thrown out on appeal for racial discrimination in jury selection and other prosecutorial misconduct.

ADVERTISEMENT

(Reporting by Andrew Chung; Editing by Will Dunham)


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
READ COMMENTS - JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Continue Reading

Commentary

The ‘divine right’ presidency: Trump has identified the USA with himself and claimed unprecedented powers to do whatever he wants

Published

on

Trump’s latest use of our government to cover up his mistakes, this time about weather forecasting, is revealing about the nature of his Presidency.

No government weather maps showed Hurricane Dorian threatening Alabama. On Thursday, August 29, Trump was briefed in the Oval Office on the Hurricane by the head of FEMA, which released a photo of him looking at a map of where Dorian had been and where it was headed. A white curved line showed the areas that Dorian might possibly hit. Not Alabama.

Continue Reading

Facebook

Meghan McCain gets fact-checked on new Kavanaugh accuser — and asks if Clarence Thomas got impeached

Published

on

"The View" host Whoopi Goldberg had to fact-check Meghan McCain's description of a New York Times correction in a bombshell new report about Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

The newspaper reported that the FBI failed to interview former Yale classmates about sexual misconduct allegations against Kavanaugh during the confirmation process last fall, and the authors of a new book found a new accuser.

McCain pointed to an editor's note appended to the story that she believes casts doubt on the new reporting, but Goldberg asked her to clean up some of the claims she made.

Continue Reading
 

Breaking Banner

Bernie Sanders just lost an important progressive endorsement to Elizabeth Warren

Published

on

The Working Families Party, a progressive political party that endorsed Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) for president in 2016, has now endorsed Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) for president.

The New York Times reports that the labor-aligned organization's members overwhelmingly backed Warren's candidacy.

A spokesperson for the party tells the Times that "tens of thousands" of party members backed Warren's candidacy and that she received 60 percent of votes on the first ballot.

Continue Reading
 
 
Help Raw Story Uncover Injustice. Join Raw Story Investigates for $1. Go ad-free.
close-image