Will the Supreme Court Kill The Death Penalty This Term?

Will the U.S. Supreme Court add the fate of the death penalty to a term already fraught with hot-button issues like partisan gerrymandering, warrantless surveillance, and a host of contentious First Amendment disputes?
That’s the hope of an ambitious Supreme Court petition seeking to abolish the ultimate punishment. But it runs headlong into the fact that only two justices have squarely called for a reexamination of the death penalty’s constitutionality.
Abel Hidalgo challenges Arizona’s capital punishment system—which sweeps too broadly, he says, because the state’s “aggravating factors” make 99 percent of first-degree murderers death-eligible—as well as the death penalty itself, arguing it’s cruel and unusual punishment.
He’s represented by former acting U.S. Solicitor General Neal Katyal—among the most successful Supreme Court practitioners last term. Hidalgo also has the support of several outside groups who filed amicus briefs on his behalf, notably one from a group including Ari…

Alabama: Stay of Execution denied for death row cop killer

Vernon Madison
Vernon Madison
A Mobile County Circuit Judge denied a stay of execution for Vernon Madison. He's one of Alabama's longest serving death row inmates.

Madison was convicted of the 1985 killing of Mobile Police Officer Julius Schulte. He's set to be executed Thursday at Holman Prison, near Atmore.

Madison's attorneys argue several strokes have caused significant damage and mental decline to the extent he no longer understands why the state intends to execute him, which they say violates his 8th Amendment right.

It's been 31 years since Madison pulled the trigger, shooting officer Schulte in his patrol car from behind.

"It's getting down to the point, where now is justice finally going to be served," said Matt Green, attorney.

Green, a former Baldwin County Assistant District Attorney, has followed the case and says if the death penalty was ever justified -- this is the case.

"His nickname was 'The Peacemaker.' He was responding to a runaway call and over the well-being of a child and that's what this is all about. Madison gets there and thinks somebody called police on him and for no reason... No reason goes and shoots and kills him," said Green.

Convicted in 3 trials for capital murder and countless appeals later, Green says it's time justice be served.

However, the group "Project Hope to Abolish the Death Penalty" is speaking out. The group's chairman and board members are on death row. The group's executive director spoke to us by phone and says its members plan to hold candlelight vigils across the state Thursday in the hours leading up to the execution.

"I have to say I'm sorry for the State of Alabama... More blood, more blood on its hands," said Esther Brown, Project Hope to Abolish the Death Penalty. "I would say what the state does is in cold blood it's pre-meditated murder. Closure does not come from another injustice ... Because to kill anybody, whether it is an individual who does or the state, is an injustice."

Now in the 11th hour, Madison has almost exhausted all of his appeals.

"I think it is time justice be served. If the sentence of law that's been imposed by the court and the federal court system and the state judiciary... That it be followed. And I think that is what the family wants and maybe that will happen," said Green.

Madison is scheduled to be executed by lethal injection at 6 p.m.

Source: WALA news, May 11, 2016

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