SCOTUS Rules Partially in Favor of Death Row Inmate with Dementia - Articles

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Posted by: Katharine Heriges on Feb 27, 2019
The Eighth Amendment's ban on cruel and unusual punishment bars the execution of an inmate with dementia if he is unable to form a rational understanding of the reasons for his death sentence, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled. The ABA Journal reports that the court ruled in the case of Vernon Madison, an Alabama inmate who suffers from vascular dementia and can’t remember killing a police officer in 1985 during a domestic dispute. Failing to remember a crime isn’t a bar to execution if the defendant still has a rational understanding of why the state wants to execute him, Justice Elena Kagan wrote in the majority opinion. What matters, Kagan said, is whether a person has a rational understanding of the reasons for his death sentence.