A federal court has delayed the execution of the lone woman on federal death row after two of her attorneys became “virtually bed-ridden” with Covid-19 while visiting her in prison after Attorney General William Barr announced in October that she would be executed on December 8 (article available here). The court delayed the execution until at least December 31, 2020. A new execution date has not yet been set.
The court ordered that if the lawyers believe they cannot finalize Lisa Montgomery’s clemency petition “as promptly as possible in light of their illness” by December 24, they need to tell a court to appoint counsel for Montgomery or to get other attorneys to help.
Montgomery’s lawyers have pointed to her history as a victim of gang rape, incest, and child sex trafficking, as well as her severe mental illness.
"Mrs. Montgomery’s case presents compelling grounds for clemency, including her history as a victim of gang rape, incest, and child sex trafficking, as well as her severe mental illness. She will now have the opportunity to present this evidence to the President with a request that he commute her sentence to life imprisonment," said Sandra L. Babcock, Clinical Professor of Law, Cornell Law School in an emailed release.