Tuesday, March 6, 2018

It's Hip To Be Silver

Are Some Inmates Too Old To Be Executed?

The nation’s death rows are starting to look like geriatric wards. Condemned inmates in many states are more likely to die of natural causes than to be executed. The rare ones who are put to death often first spend decades behind bars, waiting.
It turns out that executing old men is not easy. In November, Ohio called off an attempt to execute Alva Campbell, 69, after the execution team could not find a suitable vein into which to pump lethal chemicals. The state announced that it would try again in June 2019, by which time he would have been 71.
But Mr. Campbell suffered from what one judge called an “extraordinary list of ailments.” He used a walker, could barely breathe and relied on a colostomy bag. He was found lifeless in his cell on Saturday, having died in the usual way, without government assistance.
Good times. Hey, he was on government assistance, wasn't he? Weren't we paying for his dern meals and upkeep for more than 30 years? At least we got one less to pay fer now!***
Last week, the Supreme Court agreed to hear the case of another Alabama inmate, Vernon Madison, 67, who suffers from dementia and cannot remember the crime that sent him to death row. The court, which has barred the execution of juvenile offenders and the intellectually disabled, is now turning its attention to old people.
Damn libtards are gonna try and say we cain't kill the elderly now too. What's next?***
He has asked that his mother be told of his strokes, but his mother is dead. He soils himself, saying “no one will let me out to use the bathroom,” though there is a toilet in his cell. He says he plans to move to Florida. He can recite the alphabet, but only to the letter G.
Mr. Madison also insists that he “never went around killing folks.”
A court-appointed psychologist found that Mr. Madison had “significant body and cognitive decline as a result of strokes.” But the psychologist testified that Mr. Madison understood what he was accused of and how the state planned to punish him. According to Steve Marshall, Alabama’s attorney general, that is enough.
Damn straight. He's just fakin' all that de-mensha or whatever. Fakin'. And if they'd a jess taken him out and killed him 30 years ago, wouldn't need to be worryin' 'bout no old age on death row. ***
At Mr. Madison’s third trial, the jury voted to sentence him to life in prison. But Judge Ferrill D. McRae, of Mobile County Circuit Court, overrode that verdict and sentenced Mr. Madison to death.
I interviewed Judge McRae in 2011, not long before he died. I had sought him out because he had achieved a rare distinction. He had overridden six jury verdicts calling for life sentences, a state record, while never rejecting a jury’s recommendation of death.
Alabama juries are not notably squeamish about the death penalty, but Judge McRae said they needed to be corrected when they were seized by an impulse toward mercy. “If you didn’t have something like that,” he said of judicial overrides, “a jury with no experience in other cases would be making the ultimate decision, based on nothing.”
Where's my coke bottle to spit my dip in?***
In 2016, Mr. Madison came very close to being put to death. A deadlocked eight-member Supreme Court refused to vacate a stay of execution issued by a federal appeals court, with the court’s four conservative members saying they would have let the execution proceed. Justice Antonin Scalia had died a few months before, leaving the Supreme Court short-handed. Had Justice Scalia lived, Mr. Madison would almost certainly be dead by now.
Irony Alert. 

All funnin' aside, this could be the next group they bar from execution, although unlike intellectual disabilities and teens, it's difficult to figure out where, exactly, to draw a bright line when it comes to dementia and when someone is simply too sick to be killed (don't forget the other irony at work here: inmates are encouraged to get colostomy bags, operations, chemotherapy, etc. so they can be alive when it comes time to kill them).

The get tough types might actually lose this one if Kennedy can be persuaded to further tighten the restrictions. Let's hope they get to straight abolishment and/or getting rid of solitary confinement before Kennedy retires. 

*** Pro Death Penalty Morons

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