Alabama vs Madison Matching

Consistent with the Eighth Amendment, and this Court’s ruling in Ford and Panetti, may the State execute a prisoner whose mental disability leaves him without memory of his commission of the capital offense? Do evolving standards of decency and the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment bar the execution of a prisoner whose competency has been compromised by vascular dementia and multiple strokes preventing him from remembering the crime for which he was convicted or understanding the circumstances of his scheduled execution?

Statement of the case

Vernon Madison, a 67-year-old man who has been death row in Alabama for over 30 years, is being scheduled to be executed by the court for a second time.

Madison suffers from small vessel ischemia, encephalomalacia (dead brain tissue), speaks with a slur, can no longer walk independently, and is legally blind, as well as having urinary incontinence as a consequence of the damage to his brain. He also suffers from vascular dementia as a result of multiple serious strokes from the last two years.

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He also no longer has a memory of committing the crime for which he is to be executed. When Madison was scheduled to be executed by the State of Alabama the first time, in May of 2016, his attorney challenged his competency in the state circuit court.

The circuit court denied his claim, and soon after Alabama law banned any appeal in a state court, and so Madison instead challenged his claim in a federal court. In granting habeas corpus, a written note requiring a person under arrest to be brought before a judge or into court in order to secure said person's release unless lawful grounds are shown for their detention, the majority at the Eleventh Circuit Court found that the evidence established that Mr.

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Madison had no memory of the original offense, and all three of the judges agreed that Madison was incompetent to be executed, even the dissenting judge.

Another Court reversed the Eleventh Circuit’s grant of habeas corpus in Dunn v. Madison(2017). With this Court’s opinion in hand, the State sought to create an execution date, and Madison’s execution was this scheduled for January 25, in 2018. Madison petitioned the Mobile County Circuit Court again, this time with new evidence that the court. The appointed physiatrist, Dr. Karl Kirkland, had been suspended from practicing psychology because his addiction to certain narcotics led him to forge prescriptions for illegal pills. The circuit court and this Court had previously relied his report in denying Madison’s claim.

Arguments in brief

Vernon Madison suffers from “vascular dementia” as a result of multiple serious strokes in the last two years, he no longer has a memory of the crime for which he is to be executed. Vernon Madison cannot be executed due to the fact that he cannot perceive why he is being sentenced to death, since he suffers from “vascular dementia.” Dr. Karl Kirkland was on illegal pills during Mr. Madison’s trial and was incompetent to make a decision on the case. The 11th circuit court found facts that were insufficient to support the judges decision to execute.

Arguments in full

Since his early teens, Vernon Madison suffered from a “delusional disorder”, which was confirmed by the court. Now, after his spending of thirty years in death row, he’s had a strong variety of damage done to his brain from several life-inflicting strokes. Madison also suffers from encephalomalacia (the loss of brain tissue), type 2 diabetes, occipital angioma (an abnormal collection of blood vessels), as well as chronic hypertension. In the aftermath of it all, Mr. Madison had diminished thirty years of memory as well as his ability to comprehend information. These results, following the eighth amendment as well as the final ruling of his previous cases, prove that he is incompetent to be executed, as it is grotesque and obscene to sentence a mentally ill man to death. In the case of Atkins V. Virginia, it was ruled by the Supreme Court that you cannot sentence a man to death if they are “mentally retarded”.

With the many complications that Mr. Madison suffers from, it is easy to place him as mentally retarded as well. In addition to his sentence being cruel and unusual, it’s important to not how each medical condition works. The case of Panetti V. Quarterman, which took place in 2007, officially ruled that it was cruel and unusual to execute someone who doesn’t know why they are about to die. This evidently shows that Vernon Madison, who suffers from severe vascular dementia, cannot be executed due to the fact that he does not know why he is being sentenced to death. Even though “his own expert agreed that he understands he was tried for that offense, that he is in prison and will be executed because of that offense”, Dr. Claude Brown, a court-appointed psychologist, elucidated that as Mr. Madison’s condition gets worse, he will quickly forget the information that the officials had told him.

This creates a stronger relation between the cases of Madison V. Alabama and Panetti V. Quarterman, as both of the petitioner parties do not have a recollection of the commission of the capital offense. The Supreme Court appointed a psychologist in Dunn v. Madison who gave a testimony saying why Madison is competent. It was four days after this testimony when it was found that the court appointed psychologist had a narcotics addiction and even had one incident just four days after the 2016 competency hearing. This means that he was most likely under the influence of narcotics that were from forged prescriptions and illegal pills. This shows that this competency hearing and testimony from Dr. Karl Kirkland was unjust because of his addiction. Another court appointed psychologist reviewed Kirkland’s evaluation and found no errors. Even though he found no errors, an evaluation of this much importance should be reviewed by more than one person.

The 11th circuit court found facts that were insufficient to support the judges decision to execute Vernon Madison. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg filed a concurring opinion, in which Justice Stephen Breyer and Sonia Sotomayor agreed, pointing out that the issue on whether the state can administer the death penalty to someone who cannot remember if they committed the capital offense is cruel and unusual punishment.. Some facts and reasons why they thought it was cruel included that the Psychologist shouldn’t have been the one suggesting the death penalty because he was under the influence of illegal drugs. Other reasons were that it is very cruel to give the death penalty to someone who cannot remember why they’re going to die. Because of these many reasons, many Justices thought it was cruel and not acting like humans.

Closing statement

All in all, we believe that no one with an intellectual disabilities shall be sentenced to death. As an overview of our argument, there are evidence that Vernon Madison has had multiple mental and physical illnesses which means we think it is cruel to execute him according to the Eighth amendment. Vernon Madison is filed as with dementia meaning he does not remember what crimes in committed, which we agree that you shan’t execute someone who does not commemorate or does not know why he is being brought to death. Also we have testimonies that the psychologists was on narcotics which led him to different behavior and his state of mind was altered. There are multiple cases that prove that punishing him to death is not right. Based on these statements that were studied we concluded that the psychologist is not to be trusted and Vernon Madison is mentally afflicted and it would be inhumane and atrocious to sentence this person to death.

Updated: Jan 05, 2022
Cite this page

Alabama vs Madison Matching. (2022, Jan 05). Retrieved from

Alabama vs Madison Matching essay
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