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SCOTUS Grants Madison Stay of Execution
February 19 2018, 07:54 | Rex Rios
The Supreme Court Stopped Alabama From Executing A Man Over Competency Questions
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.
Madison had been sentenced to death for the 1985 killing of Mobilepolice officer Julius Schulte. He was scheduled to be executed on January 25. "Mr. Madison suffers from vascular dementia as a result of multiple serious strokes in the last several years, and no longer has a memory of the commission of the crime for which he is to be executed".
Florida and DE, the only two other states that permitted judicial override, abolished the practice after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in January 2016 that the Florida system of allowing jurors to make advisory capital-punishment recommendations violated the Sixth Amendment. The expert has not yet been convicted of any crimes as charges are pending. If the petition for a writ of certiorari is denied, then the stay of execution will be automatically terminated.
The court, in an unsigned 2017 opinion, said testimony showed Madison "recognizes that he will be put to death as punishment for the murder he was found to have committed", even if he doesn't remember the killing itself.
Madison's lawyers say strokes and dementia have left Madison unable to understand his looming execution.
Madison's sentence was imposed in 1994 by a judge, after a jury recommended life without parole.
Prosecutors had to try Madison three times to secure a conviction.
Attorney Bryan Stevenson said they were "thrilled" by the ruling and killing Madison would have been "unnecessary and cruel", reports the Associated Press.
His attorneys from the Equal Justice Initiative, based in Montgomery, filed a petition Wednesday with the Supreme Court.
In 2016, the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals halted Madison's execution seven hours before he was scheduled for a lethal injection.
Alabama lawmakers past year abolished the practice of allowing judges to override a jury's recommendation in capital cases.
Appeals courts have been divided over Madison's case.
Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, and Neil Gorsuch noted that they would have allowed the execution to proceed.