Lawyer: Alabama death row inmate mentally incompetent for execution

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The U.S. Supreme Court says death-row prisoners must have “rational understanding” that they are about to be executed and why, but lawyer for an Alabama inmate say their client fails that test.

A lawyer for 65-year-old Vernon Madison on Thursday told a panel of 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals judges that stroke-induced dementia has made Madison unable to understand why the state plans to execute him. Madison was convicted in the 1985 killing of Mobile police Officer Julius Schulte.

A state lawyer countered that while Madison’s health has deteriorated, the inmate still understands he is being punished for the crime he committed.

The appeals court in May stayed Madison’s execution just seven hours before he was scheduled to get a lethal injection.

Republished with permission of The Associated Press.
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