Vernon Madison Execution Halted by US Supreme Court

Vernon Madison Execution Halted by US Supreme Court

Vernon Madison Execution Halted by US Supreme Court

The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday granted a stay of execution to an Alabama inmate who contended a judge's override of jurors' life-in-prison recommendation is unconstitutional. He was scheduled to be executed on January 25. In the three decades since, Madison's lawyers say he's suffered multiple strokes and now has vascular dementia. "He does not understand why the state of Alabama is attempting to execute him", they continued. The expert has not yet been convicted of any crimes as charges are pending.

'We are thrilled that the court stopped this execution tonight. If the petition for a writ of certiorari is denied, then the stay of execution will be automatically terminated.

Lawyers for Alabama argue that Madison's own expert witness has testified that he understands what he was tried for and "the meaning of a death sentence".

The ruling was made after lawyers representing Vernon Madison, 67, argued that his dementia prevents him from remembering the murder he was convicted of years ago.

A law enacted in Alabama past year eliminates the ability of judges to override juries' recommendations in capital cases.

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Appeals courts have been divided over Madison's case. Prosecutors have said Madison crept up and shot Schulte in the back of the head as he sat in his police auto filling out paperwork. Killing a fragile man suffering from dementia is unnecessary and cruel, ' attorney Bryan Stevenson, of the Equal Justice Initiative, said Thursday evening after the stay was granted.

He said his mother received hundreds of letters after her husband's death, including many from people who said Schulte helped them turn their lives around. Under an Alabama law passed in 2017, judges can no longer do that in cases where defendants are eligible for the death penalty. However, appealate courts overturned Madison's convictions twice based on prosecutorial misconduct.

Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch were opposed to the stay, according to the order issued last night.

While Madison's execution was briefly in limbo, Alabama Department of Corrections Commissioner Jeff Dunn was informed at about 8 p.m. the stay would not be lifted, effectively voiding Madison's death warrant, which expired at midnight.

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