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Will the U.S. Finally End the Death Penalty?

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In the past, abolition efforts have faced a backlash—but Gavin Newsom’s moratorium may be different.
The American death penalty is extraordinarily fragile, with death sentences and executions on the decline. Public support for the death penalty has diminished. The practice is increasingly marginalized around the world. California, with its disproportionately large share of American death-row inmates, announces an end to the death penalty. The year? 1972. That’s when the California Supreme Court declared the death penalty inconsistent with the state’s constitutional prohibition of cruel or unusual punishments—only to have the death penalty restored a year later through popular initiative and legislation.
On Wednesday, again, California walked back its commitment to the death penalty. Though not full-fledged abolition, Governor Gavin Newsom declared a moratorium on capital punishment lasting as long as his tenure in office, insisting that the California death penalty has been an “abject…

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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Will the U.S. Finally End the Death Penalty?