Execution date reinstated for only woman on US federal death row News
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Execution date reinstated for only woman on US federal death row

A federal appeals panel reinstated Lisa Montgomery’s execution date after a stay was placed on her sentence. Montgomery, the only woman on federal death row, is set to be executed on January 12.

Montgomery was originally scheduled to be executed on December 8, 2020. Her lawyers contracted severe cases of COVID-19 just days before the deadline to file a clemency petition, so US District Court Judge Randolph Moss granted her legal team an extension.

Under Moss’s order, Montgomery’s sentence was on hold until December 31, 2021. But the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) director rescheduled her execution for January 12, while the stay was still in place. Moss held that the BOP could not reschedule until the stay was lifted because “when an execution is postponed in light of a stay, the governing regulation…prevents the Director [of the BOP] from setting a new execution date until after the stay is lifted.”

On Friday, three appeals court judges overturned his ruling, finding that the BOP acted according to the “governing regulation” and the scheduling was valid. Meaghan VerGow, one of Montgomery’s lawyers, said they plan to appeal the case to the full appeals court. They have until Sunday to file.

They have also asked President Donald Trump to commute her sentence as Montgomery has a severe mental illness and a history of trauma and abuse. VerGow said, “There can be no principled reason to carry out her execution . . . the government should stop its relentless efforts to end her life.”

If her clemency petition is not granted, Montgomery will be put to death right before President-elect Joe Biden takes office. He is in favor of abolishing the federal death penalty but has not provided a timeline for when he would take action to end it.