A federal judge stated that the Justice Department unlawfully postponed the execution of the mere woman on the United States death row, potentially setting up the Trump government to schedule the execution following president-elect Joe Biden's takeover of office.
Lisa Montgomery's Execution
United States District Court Judge Randolph Moss also relinquished an order from the director of the Bureau of Prisons that had slated Lisa Montgomery's putting to death as a legal penalty for January 12.
Montgomery had earlier been scheduled to be sentenced to death at the Federal Correctional Complex in Terre Haute, Indiana, this December. However, Moss postponed the execution after her lawyers contracted COVID-19 visiting their client and appealed to him to extend the amount of time to issue a clemency petition, reported CBS News.
Lisa Montgomery was pronounced as guilty of strangling an eight-months pregnant woman in 2004 and lacerating her baby out with a knife, reported Sky News.
The baby endured the attack, and according to prosecutors, Montgomery took the child with her and tried to pass it off as her own child.
According to the United States Department of Justice, Montgomery, 52, was convicted of murdering 23-year-old Bobbie Jo Stinnett in Skidmore, Missouri, in December 2004.
Montgomery was also convicted of federal kidnapping resulting in death in October 2007, setting her up to be executed, reported ABC News.
Moss barred the Bureau of Prisons from initiating Montgomery's execution before the end of 2020. Moss ruled on Wednesday that the agency was also banned from holding off the date while a stay was in place.
According to Moss, "The Court, accordingly, concludes that the Director's order setting a new execution date while the Court's stay was in effect was 'not in accordance with law.'"
A Justice Department spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
According to Montgomery's attorneys, she suffers from severe mental illness following years of mental and physical abuse.
Montgomery was slated to be executed through lethal injection in Indiana. Her execution date was earlier scheduled for December 8, 2020, as indicated in court documents.
Moss accorded a stay-of-execution command to permit Montgomery's attorneys to recover from the novel coronavirus and prepare a petition for Montgomery to be granted executive clemency from President Donald Trump.
The order dictates the Bureau of Prisons cannot postpone Montgomery's execution until at least January 1. Under Justice Department measures, a death-row inmate generally should be notified at least 20 days prior to the execution. If the Justice Department decides to reschedule the date in January, it may mean that the execution would be slated following Joe Biden's inauguration on January 20.
According to a spokesperson for Biden, the president-elect is against the death penalty now and in the future and would work to end its usage when he takes over the office.
The judge has now scrapped a command by the Bureau of Prisons Director that scheduled another execution date for January 12.
The Bureau of Prisons is now prohibited from scheduling a new date for the 52-year-old's execution until at least January 1. A prisoner should generally get 20 days' notice.