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Pope Declares Death Penalty Inadmissible in All Cases

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ROME — Pope Francis has declared the death penalty inadmissible in all cases because it is “an attack” on the “dignity of the person,” the Vatican announced on Thursday, in a definitive shift in Roman Catholic teaching that could put enormous pressure on lawmakers and politicians around the world.
Francis, who has spoken out against capital punishment before — including in 2015 in an address to Congress — added the change to the Catechism, the collection of beliefs for the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics.
The revision says the church would work “with determination” for the abolition of capital punishment worldwide.
“I think this will be a big deal for the future of the death penalty in the world,” said John Thavis, a Vatican expert and author. “People who work with prisoners on death row will be thrilled, and I think this will become a banner social justice issue for the church,” he added.
Sergio D’Elia, the secretary of Hands Off Cain, an association that works to abolish capital puni…

U.S. Supreme court won't hear Mobile cop-killer's appeal

Vernon Madison
The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday rejected a request by a convicted Mobile cop-killer, who is scheduled to be executed Jan. 25, to rehear his appeal.

The U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS) had ruled in November that Alabama can execute Vernon Madison, a death row inmate who claims to be mentally incompetent. Madison initially was granted a stay of his execution by SCOTUS just hours before his scheduled 2016 execution.

Madison, 67, one of Alabama's longest-serving death row inmates, was convicted in the April 1985 slaying of Mobile police officer Cpl. Julius Schulte.

In November, however, SCOTUS unanimously reversed its earlier decision, saying Madison can be executed. "More than 30 years ago, Vernon Madison crept up behind police officer Julius Schulte and shot him twice in the head at close range," that ruling stated.

In its ruling Monday to reject Madison's request for a rehearing, SCOTUS did not issue a written explanation.

Courts had been split on whether Madison was competent to be executed. Madison faced a state competency hearing before his scheduled 2016 execution, where he claimed several strokes he recently suffered affected his mental status and made him unable to remember his crimes or remember that he was on death row. The trial court denied Madison's petition, and said the execution could proceed.

But then the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Madison was incompetent and he could not be executed.

Madison's attorney, Angie Setzer with the Equal Justice Initiative, in an email to AL.com stated that the media have misreported what the Supreme Court has done in the case. "The Supreme Court has not concluded that Mr. Madison is competent to be executed; the Court has made it clear that is an unresolved question. What the Court said is that a federal court constrained by the restrictions imposed by federal habeas law cannot make that determination. The Court's decision denying rehearing affirms that judgment but Mr. Madison's competence to be executed is still yet to be decided.

Source:  al.com, Kent Faulk, January 9, 2018


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"One is absolutely sickened, not by the crimes that the wicked have committed,
but by the punishments that the good have inflicted." -- Oscar Wilde

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