Starting her life out as a block whore, Madeline Madrigal was first arrested at age 16 on December 4, 2076 by Judge Reich for solicitation. Madeline then went on to have numerous other altercations with the law, serving a total of 23 months in the Iso-Cubes, a total of seven arrests. Growing dissatisfied with her life, Madeline eventually had enough of a life of prostitution and killed her pimp, Lester Grimes, in a vendetta attack when her pimp brutally murdered her boyfriend Eric , and took over his interests adopting the nickname "Ma-Ma" and founded her own gang, the Ma-Ma Clan. She then proceeded to take over the top floor of the Peachtree Block. She and her enforcer Caleb slowly worked their way down, level by level, and wiped out the other three gangs: the Peyote Kings, Red Dragons and The Judged, giving her full control of the block.
Ma-Ma then used Peachtrees as the manufacturing centre for a new addictive drug called Slo-Mo, which slows the user's perception of time to 1% of the normal rate. After making an example killing of three users she attracted the attention of Judge Dredd and the on assesment rookie Cassandra Anderson. When Kay got busted, she at first felt it wasn't serious because she knew her gang was overdue for a bust until she found out that Kay is alive, not dead. In order to prevent her lackey Kay from talking in interrogation at the Grand Hall of Justice she shuts down the whole block locking the two judges inside.
Ma-Ma sent her whole gang and also some Corrupt Judges after Dredd and Anderson but the two survived and worked their way up the block to her. She also had no reservations whatsoever about resorting to ruthless means such as murdering innocents if it means protecting her own interests. At one point in the film, Ma-Ma has three miniguns mounted onto the balcony in an attempt to kill Dredd, failing and killing dozens of residents in the process. She also blames others for her own drastic actions, simply regarding in advance her atrocity with the miniguns as doing it "messy," because Dredd wouldn't allow her to it do it "clean." Also whilst berating Kay she flat out tells him he should have gotten killed to prevent himself from talking. Anderson and Dredd obtain the code to Ma-Ma's apartment from her computer expert and confront her. Ma-Ma quickly implants a device on her wrist that is set to her heartbeat. She tells Dredd that in the case of her death, the device will detonate a massive amount of explosives she has wired in the top 50 stories, bringing the rest of the skyscraper down and killing all of the residents.
Dredd shoots her in the stomach anyway and grabs a dying Ma-Ma, holding her against a glass window where she grins mockingly at him, having accepted her fate. Dredd reasons that the detonator's signal will not reach the explosives from the ground floor and tells her that she is sentenced to death for homicide and narcotics distribution, spraying some Slo-Mo into her mouth. He then asks her how she pleads and Ma-Ma responds by inhaling the drug, symbolically pleading guilty. He tells her that the defense was noted and throws her through the glass. She plummets down the atrium of the 200-story building and lands headfirst, crushing her head and killing her almost instantly.