Madison v. Alabama: Mental Illness

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The case I have chosen is Madison v. Alabama. I find this case very interesting and feel very strongly about it. This case is about a man named Vernon Madison who killed a police officer and then shot his ex girlfriend in the back while she was trying to run away. All of this was done in front of their daughter while eyewitnesses saw everything unfold. This incident happened in April 1985 in the town of Mobile, Alabama and was still unfolding in January 2018. In my opinion I strongly feel that Vernon Madison deserves the death penalty.

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He had three different trials for the murder of police officer Julius Schulte and the attempted murder of his ex girlfriend. In all of these court dates he was given the guilty verdict and recieved the death penalty. In court Madison did not deny in his second and third trial that he murdered the police officer. In the case it states that Madison was pretending to leave his ex girlfriend’s house when he took out a pistol and quietly went behind the police officers car and shot him twice in the back of the head. This illustrates that Madison was fully conscious and aware of his actions that took place that day. This statement also poses the question whether this murder of the police officer was premeditated. In my opinion by him not denying that he shot the police officer while dealing with mental health or not he was aware of his actions. In that moment he pulled the trigger, he had knowledge of what the consequences were. He was able to retrieve a gun and shoot the police officer twice in the head and shoot his ex girlfriend in the back while she was running away.

I want to discuss next a compelling point Alabama made in their argument to further my case. In their argument they talk about Madison’s physicians saying that he is competent enough to consent to medical procedures and whether or not he wants certain medications. In order for a physician to rule a person competent they have to be able to know their surroundings while having knowledge of what is happening. From my opinion Madison might have dealt with mental health problems but he is still ruled as competent. From him being competent enough to remember parts of his life and criminal things that he is done, he is competent enough to be executed by the death penalty. Going further he fully acknowledges that he is receiving the death penalty because he has killed officer Julius Schulte. At first Madison claimed that he had no remembrance that he had killed the police officer which was before the diagnosis of his dementia came out. In my opinion this starts to makes me think that the mental health plea that Madison and his lawyers were trying to use were false. Madison is not able to remember shooting a man in the back of the head twice but can remember details about his past.

This next topic I want to bring to your attention is the idea that Madison is unable to receive the death penalty because of his “memory loss” which relates to what I have mentioned above. Just because he has lost part of his memory that does not mean that he is not guilty of the crime. He was fully aware of everything he was doing at the time of the crime and during the trial. Even if a criminal has memory loss that does not wash them of the crime. From Madison not remembering his crime, it gives everyone the opportunity to get away with murder by forgetting the crime they committed. If everytime a criminal “forgot” the crime they committed and was released, it would start becoming a ripple effect for our justice system. By him not getting his true deserve sentence Officer Julius Schulte and his family will never have the satisfaction of justice and peace they deserve. Just by Madison not remembering the events that took place that day it does not bring Officer Julius back. An innocent life was taken at the hands of Vernon Madison, consequently recieving the death penalty matches his crime. By him not recieving the death penalty that will help other criminals avoid the death penalty for the crimes they have committed.

While I was reading this trial Vernon Madison has completely lost his credibility by changing his plea everytime he had a new trial. He first started off by being guilty of the crime he had committed. When the second trial came around he changed his plea to not guilty because he has a mental disorder. In the third trial he then claims that it was an act of self defense. Madison after switching his plea three times has no credibility or truth left for me. I start to wonder if he thinks this is a game and he is just trying to get off the hook for killing officer Julius Schulte. In my mind I believe that if he was given a fourth trial he would change his plea again to something completely different. His stories have holes in them and makes it harder for me to even believe that he even cares and is sorry for what he has done. The facts brought up in the case say mentioned that he crept up behind the police officers car. This statement completely contradicts the plea of self defense because he was behind the police officer, therefore no intimate threat or danger was present towards Madison.

This case mentions a lot about the Eighth Amendment and by sentencing Madison to death it was a violation of that amendment. To give background the Eighth Amendment states that punishments giving for crimes can not be excessive or too harsh. I want to bring to light how that amendment does not apply to this case. Madison had shot a cop in cold blood and then proceeded to shoot his ex girlfriend in the back. There was no danger or harm that was present to provoke him to act in this way. The punishment he has received fits the corresponding crime he has committed. Madison has murdered a cop and tried to murder his ex girlfriend, he deserves to be sentenced to prison and recieved the death penalty. In our justice system if you are convicted for murder you are sentenced to 25 years to life and can receive the death penalty, there is nothing that makes Madison’s crime any different in my eyes.

This case Madison v. Alabama relates to a few other cases. The first case I want to bring up is Ford v. Wainwright. In this case a Man name Alvin Bernard was sentenced to death for first-degree murder. Before he had committed the crime and getting sentenced to death,there was no evidence that Mr Alvin was suffering with any mental problem but, at the moment of the trials he claimed that his mental problem keeps getting worse. This show how both case are related and how both criminal are trying to use the same excuses about how they could not remember the crime they have committed, in my opinion i do believe they should receive the death penalty because, the moment they were committed the crime they were conscious about everything, but the moment they have been sentenced to the death penalty they all of suddenly have mental problem or could not remembrance the actions they have infringe.

07 July 2022

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