Aging death row: Is executing old or infirm inmates cruel? - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Aging death row: Is executing old or infirm inmates cruel?

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By KIM CHANDLER
Associated Press

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - America's death row is graying, and that leaves courts increasingly likely to face questions of when it becomes unconstitutionality cruel to execute the elderly and infirm.

The U.S. Supreme Court will hear the case this fall of 67-year-old Vernon Madison, who killed an Alabama police officer decades ago but whose lawyers say doesn't remember the crime because of dementia. And on Thursday, Alabama plans to execute an 83-year-old prisoner, its oldest on its death row, for the 1989 package bomb killing of a federal judge.

Robert Dunham of the Death Penalty Information Center says the aging death row population will be an "increasing issue in carrying out the American death penalty." His non-profit reports that of about 2,800 death row prisoners in the U.S., about 1,200 are over age 50.

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