Vernon Madison, a prisoner on death row has experienced multiple strokes, erasing memories of the crimes he committed. This, along with brain damage pushed Madison to petition the state court for relief of his actions since he has no memory of them.
I don't deserve to die! I have a lot of health and mental problems. I want habeas corpus relief!
Does the Eighth Amendment and the Court’s jurisprudence prohibit a state from executing a prisoner whose mental disability leaves him with no memory of the commission of the capital offense? Does the Eighth Amendment prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment preclude a state from executing a prisoner who suffers from severe cognitive dysfunction such that he cannot remember the crime for which he was convicted or understand the circumstances of his scheduled execution?
I don't remember any of my crimes! I shouldn't have to die for them!
Since my mental fitness has been impaired due to a number of strokes, I have no memory of murdering a mobile police officer who came into my house after recieving a call for a domestic disturbance. I also have exhibited many effects of brain damage and my neuroscientist agrees that I am not fit to be given the death penalty for a crime that I have no memory of.
State of Alabama
Madison's actions were unlawful according to the 8th amendment. Therefore, he must suffer the consequences regardless of the state of his memory at this time. As someone who does not quality for insanity, Madison is able to recognize the weight of his crimes and come to an understanding with the court's decision. The defense also argues that Madison's neuroscientist's recommendation should not contribute to the court case's conclusions because psychiatrists often differ in their classifications of mental illnesses and can be wrong quite frequently.
The court came to the decision that according to the eighth amendment, a prisoner cannot be executed if they are clinically insane and cannot rationally understand the reasons for their sentencing. However, an inability to remember the crimes committed does not excuse a prisoner from their sentencing.