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In the Bible Belt, Christmas Isn’t Coming to Death Row

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When it comes to the death penalty, guilt or innocence shouldn’t really matter to Christians.  

NASHVILLE — Until August, Tennessee had not put a prisoner to death in nearly a decade. Last Thursday, it performed its third execution in four months.
This was not a surprising turn of events. In each case, recourse to the courts had been exhausted. In each case Gov. Bill Haslam, a Republican, declined to intervene, though there were many reasons to justify intervening. Billy Ray Irick suffered from psychotic breaks that raised profound doubts about his ability to distinguish right from wrong. Edmund Zagorksi’s behavior in prison was so exemplary that even the warden pleaded for his life. David Earl Miller also suffered from mental illness and was a survivor of child abuse so horrific that he tried to kill himself when he was 6 years old.
Questions about the humanity of Tennessee’s lethal-injection protocol were so pervasive following the execution of Mr. Irick that both Mr. Zagorski and M…

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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