Supreme Court deadlocks in Alabama death penalty case

The early-morning sun rises behind the Supreme Court building in Washington on  June 18, 2015.

Story highlights

  • Vernon Madison was convicted in 1985 of murdering Julius Schulte of the Mobile Police Department
  • The 11th Circuit had issued the stay earlier in the day and Alabama sought to overturn it

Washington (CNN)A divided Supreme Court on Thursday left in place a stay of execution for Alabama death row inmate Vernon Madison.

The 11th Circuit had issued the stay earlier in the day and Alabama sought to overturn the ruling at the Supreme Court.
    The order is yet another example of the impact on the court of Justice Antonin Scalia's death in February. It would have taken five justices to vacate the stay and only four justices -- Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas and Anthony Kennedy -- were in favor of doing so.
    Madison was convicted in 1985 of murdering Julius Schulte of the Mobile Police Department.
    Madison's attorneys argue in part that he should not be executed because he suffers from stroke-related dementia.
    "We are relieved that important questions surroundings the propriety and constitutionality of Mr. Madison's execution will be reviewed," Bryan Stevenson, an attorney for Madison, said in a statement. "Vernon Madison was given a life sentence by a Mobile County jury made up of jurors who believe in the death penalty. In most Alabama courtrooms, Mr. Madison would have never been sentenced to death. Judicial override in Alabama should be eliminated."