The Justice Department illegally rescheduled the execution of the only woman on death row in the United States, a federal judge said, which could lead to the Trump administration setting a new post-inauguration date. Joe Biden’s President.
Judge Randolph Moss overturned an order from the Director of the Bureau of Prisons that had set the execution date of Lisa Montgomery for January 12.
The woman’s execution was originally scheduled for this month at the Federal Correctional Complex in Terre Haute, Indiana, but Moss had postponed it after defense attorneys asked him to extend the time frame to file a clemency petition. The lawyers contracted the coronavirus when they visited their client.
Moss had prohibited the Bureau of Prisons from carrying out the death penalty against Lisa Montgomery before the end of the year, and authorities rescheduled it for January 12. But the judge ruled Wednesday that the agency was also prohibited from rescheduling the execution during the current stay.
“The court therefore finds that the principal’s order to set a new execution date while a court adjournment is in effect is’ not in accordance with the law,” Moss wrote.
A Justice Department spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the matter.
Montgomery was found guilty of murdering 23-year-old Bobbie Jo Stinnett in the northwest Missouri town of Skidmore in December 2004. Montgomery used a rope to strangle Stinnett, who was eight months pregnant, and later with a kitchen knife he took a baby from the womb, according to authorities.
According to prosecutors, Montgomery removed the baby from Stinnett’s body, took her away, and attempted to pass her off as his daughter. Montgomery’s defense has argued that she suffers from serious mental disorders.
Generally, according to the guidelines of the Department of Justice, a person sentenced to death must receive 20 days’ notice that he will be executed. Due to the judge’s order, if the Justice Department decides to reschedule the date for January it would mean that the execution will have to be set for after Biden assumes the presidency on January 20.
A Biden spokesman told The Associated Press that the president-elect “opposes the death penalty now and in the future” and as president will seek to end its application. However, representatives for Biden did not say whether there would be a pause in executions immediately when he takes office.
“Due to the severity of Ms. Montgomery’s mental disorders, the sexual and physical torture she suffered in her life, and the connection between her trauma and the facts of her crime, we ask President Trump to grant her clemency and commute her sentence to life imprisonment, “said one of the defense attorneys, Sandra Babcock, in a statement.
Two other federal prisoners are scheduled to be executed in January but after they tested positive for the coronavirus, their lawyers requested that they be postponed.
Taken from Infobae
With AP information