Alabama Department of Corrections Vernon Madison Alabama Department of Corrections
Vernon Madison spared execution due to dementia following strokes (Alabama Department of Corrections)

An Alabama inmate on death row might get out of his execution after the Supreme Court agreed to take up his case. The convicted murderer, 67-year-old Vernon Madison, is protesting that the decision to execute him would violate the constitutional amendment against cruel and unusual punishment.

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Madison has been on death row for decades after he was sentenced to death for killing a police officer in 1985, Reuters reports. But during his time in prison, he’s suffered a series of strokes which have left him blind and unable to walk on his own. Furthermore, the strokes have damaged his memory so significantly that he does not remember his crimes.

Madison was sentenced to death after two previous convictions were thrown out after appeals citing racial discrimination.

In November, a group of justices ruled that the state could kill Madison and explained that “a prisoner is incompetent to be executed because of a failure to remember his commission of the crime.” However, that decision was halted on January 25, when the court decided to take another look at the case.

Madison’s lawyers argued that the state didn’t disclose that the psychologist who evaluated Madison had a substance abuse problem and was even suspended for forging prescriptions. Based off this, Madison’s legal team argued that the psychologist’s findings were invalid.

The lawyers demanding that justices clarify whether the constitution allows for the execution of an inmate with dementia.

The state of Alabama was set to execute an inmate on Thursday before last-ditch legal moves forced the execution to be postponed. In fact, Thursday was set to be a very busy day for executioners across the United States. Three inmates — one in Texas, Alabama and Florida — were set to be executed before Texas Gov. Greg Abbott commuted the Texas inmates sentence to life in prison. The inmate in Florida, 47-year-old Eric Scott Branch, was killed.

Alex Thomas About the author:
Alex is from Delaware. He lives in DC.
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