Argument analysis: A narrow victory possible for death-row inmate with dementia?

Madison v Alabama was argued earlier today. The above link is to Amy Howe’s analysis, which I think is right on.

The case involves an inmate who because of a series of stroke’s, no longer remembers the crime for which he was sentenced to death.

There is absolutely zero chance that Madison will prevail outright. That hope died with Kennedy’s retirement.

The four liberal justices are willing to grant a limited victory in favor of Madison. Alito, Thomas and Gorsuch clearly would rule outright for Alabama.

So this comes down to what the Chief Justice decides to do.

If he sides with the conservatives, the court will deadlock 4 to 4 and Alabama wins by default, since they prevailed at the lower court.

However, it is quite possible that the Chief Justice will side with the liberal justices to send the case down on remand to the lower courts to determine the broader question of Madison’s competency, something that evidently was not fully explored earlier. It would be a reprieve, rather than a victory for Madison, as I suspect the Alabama court’s will find in Alabama’s favor and this case could end up back before the Supreme Court in the next term. If it does, I suspect Madison will likely die of natural causes before it is ever resolved.

If the court deadlocks (i.e. Alabama prevails by default), there is at least a plausible chance that Madison is actually executed, though from my understanding of his general health, time is running out.

I think a decision in this case could come down fairly quickly, in fact, this could be one of the first cases decided this term.

I’m ready to get rid of the death penalty

I would have no problem with its abolition. It is far more trouble than it is worth.

Agreed. It doesn’t work as a deterrent and it doesn’t avenge the dead.

On this we agree. Life without parole is as much a punishment as the death penalty.


We could lock them up and execute somebody they love.

i’d say you’re being silly but that is way too macabre.

That would work for most.

But there are some who are complete sociopaths, devoid of empathy for anyone or anything beyond themselves. The Ted Bundys of the world.

It wouldn’t be a more fitting vengeance?

Good point.

Do you really think killing innocents is a good idea?

I remember on one episodeof a television show I used to watch, there was a man who committed murder and somehow he came to have no memory of the event. I was struck by the nature of that kind of situation. I wondered if whether a person ought to be punished if they committed a crime they could not remember in the same manner as the man in the episode (and here). I have resolved that they cannot morally be punished. I would rule in favor of the plaintiff in this case.

A man is on death row for over 30 ■■■■■■■ years? How much time and money has been wasted in prosecuting, incarcerating, defending and treating this turd medically? This guy has been treated better than kavanaugh. “We” are a mess right now.

Fear not. Kavanaugh has lived the life of a silver spooned prince. The best private schools, WH lawyer, federal judge, his debts mysteriously taken care of. Lots of beer.

Get a grip.

Good morning LuLou…and thanks…I’ve got a “grip” now. :sunglasses:

Glad I could help you up off the fainting couch.

Is anybody really innocent?

The punishment is to benefit the collective.

Every thread doesn’t have to have the K word in it.

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Isn’t it more expensive to keep a person on death row than imprisoned for life?

I am against the death penalty but on for the reason that a person accused of heinous crimes should suffer for the rest of their lives rather than being put out of their misery.