Brett Stuff
Judging the Judges
Term Year: 2018

Vernon Madison, Petitioner v. Alabama

Summary Analysis

DATE: 2019-02-27
DOCKET: 17-7505
NAME: Vernon Madison, Petitioner v. Alabama

   AUTHOR: Kagan
   JOINING: Roberts, Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor
   GOOD: No

OPINION: Dissenting
   AUTHOR: Alito
   JOINING: Thomas, Gorsuch
   GOOD: No

Case Commentary

I do not care much one way or the other about the Death Penalty. Kill them. Don't. It makes little difference to me.

I am not swayed by Moral Arguments. As a Society, we kill so many people for so many reasons (carelessness and complete indifference being chief among them) that I find it hard (nay, impossible) to get worked up over a few more deliberate executions.

On the other hand, prosecuting these Death Penalty Cases is costing a small fortune... with the counter argument (to that) being those who are fighting against the Death Penalty (now) would simply move to the next issue down the line. They are lawyers. They have chosen a side. And they are going to do something, after all. So, it's just a matter of where the fight is taking place. So, why give an inch, because you know they are going to want to take a mile.

And the other argument against the Death Penalty, which holds some sway for me, is likening the Death Penalty to taking Prisoners in time of War. It's a lot easier to win a war if the other side surrenders. And the other side is much more likely to surrender if they are treated well and not simply lined up against a wall and shot. In fact, if word gets out that one side is summarily killing the other upon capture, the other side will respond by fighting to the death in situations in which they would have otherwise surrendered. So, a widespread Death Penalty would make arrest more difficult. Of course, we don't have a widespread Death Penalty. And for many, life in prison is not much different.

In the end, I am highly indifferent.

In this case:
If a person forgets what they did, can they still be executed?
For me, the answer is a simple yes. And the more relevant question is:
If a person commits a crime, can they still be executed?
Keeping in mind that for the most (to my way of thinking), mens rea (a guilty mind) is a silly requirement. Rather than asking if an individual knew they were doing wrong, I would ask if a reasonable person would know. Do the twelve members of the Jury think the Defendant should have known better? Would they have known better?

The Court has decided:
If I were to grant Mercy, it would be for regret, extenuating circumstances, and any attempts to make restitution (including running off to join a Monastery or the like, so it doesn't have to be direct restitution) prior to being apprehended. It would not be (and I cannot see how I would ever believe that it should be) for defects of mental character.

The Dissent is empty. Well, I sort of skip-skimmed it. But as far as I can tell, they never address the case. Rather, they whine a great deal about how the case was improperly submitted to The Court. Thus, I must assume they agree with the rationale (kill those forgetful F'ers) but disagree with the disposition (let's move this case along rather than send it back for additional review); and as such, would Uphold the Lower Court's decision (to kill the F'er) rather than vacate and remand as The Court did.

Still, that's a lot of reading between the lines. And not something that I feel one should have to do when it comes to reading a Supreme Court Slip.

Basically, the Dissent in this case sucks and is not worth the digital page-view it is written upon.

Eh, and then (in just a short moment), I'll go on to talk about a trivial aspect of the Dissent. So, maybe it is this page which is not worth the server-time it is computed upon.

There is the possibility (or this idea is at least mentioned) that an argument in this case was rejected by the Lower Court because it was argued incorrectly. Instead of arguing under this reason (and/or rationale) the motion was argued under that reason. It's a silly reason to reject an argument. Certainly, it is not conducive to Justice. And if Justice would be better served (and/or informed) if an argument were worded, argued, or presented slightly differently, I think all judges (everywhere, all the time) have a Moral Obligation to make that mental switch.

Judging the Judges

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Um, what were we talking about?

© copyright 2019 Brett Paufler
A Personal Opinion/Editorial