Alabama fights to proceed with execution of cop killer Vernon Madison
A federal court of appeals this morning stayed tonight's scheduled execution of Mobile cop killer Vernon Madison.
The U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals granted the stay less than eight hours before his execution was set to take place at Holman Correctional Facility in Atmore.
The Alabama Attorney General's Office, however, is planning to appeal the ruling, Bryan Stevenson, founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative which represents Madison, said just after noon today. The U.S. Supreme Court has created a docket for the A.G.'s appeal, but does not yet show any filings or orders.
A department of corrections spokesman said they were still going through with plans for the execution pending a final order.
A spokeswoman for the Alabama Attorney General's Office declined comment regarding the appeal.
Madison had claimed he was mentally incompetent to be executed. His attorneys, from the Montgomery-based nonprofit Equal Justice Initiative, have been seeking a stay from state and federal courts since the execution date was set in March.
On Wednesday, EJI attorneys filed the petition for a stay and a request for oral argument before the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals.
The appellate court, in granting that request, noted that Madison's claim could not be raised until the execution was imminent, and that only an Alabama trial court and the federal district court have reviewed the claim.
In a response to Madison's filing, state attorneys argued that the circuit judge considered all testimony and evidence in reaching the conclusion that Madison possesses a rational understanding of the offense and the execution.
They say Madison alleges that the circuit judge failed to extend cases of precedent to include stroke-related impairments to mental capacity, rather than psychosis or delusions.
According to the appellate court's order filed Thursday morning, the court offers two reasons for granting the stay. First, the state court's finding that Madison is competent to be executed "is contrary to or involves an unreasonable application of clearly established federal law." Secondly, the state judge's decision was an unreasonable conclusion based on the evidence presented at the competency hearing.
The appellate court has now directed the attorneys to file briefs addressing those issues. Madison's attorneys must file by May 27, and the attorney general's office must respond by June 10. Madison's attorneys then will have until June 17 to file a reply.
Oral argument will take place in Atlanta on June 23, with each side allowed 30 minutes.www.al.com
This is a long shot. SCOTUS generally does not step on lower court's toes unless they are bitch slapping the 9th Circus.