A Slippery Slope: Redefining Cruel and Unusual Punishment in Madison v. Alabama
- January 27th, 2020
- in Capstone Commentary
by Sierra Stockley
Madison v. Alabama is a case pending a decision from the United States Supreme Court. The case was argued before the Court on Tuesday, October 2, 2018 with Bryan A. Stevenson, Esq., representing the petitioner, Vernon Madison, and Alabama’s Deputy Attorney General, Thomas R. Govan, Jr., acting on behalf of the respondent.
Regarding the issue raised in the case, the Court must decide two crucial points: whether or not a state may execute a prisoner who has no memory of his offense, and more specifically, whether the Eighth Amendment’s language of “cruel and unusual punishment” prohibits a state from executing a prisoner who faces severe cognitive dysfunction and therefore can neither recall the crime nor comprehend the circumstances of his execution.