Appeals court clears path for execution of only woman on federal death row

Appeals court clears path for execution of only woman on federal death row
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A federal appeals court on Friday cleared the way for the execution of the only woman on federal death row later this month. 

According to The Associated Press, the three-judge panel on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled that a lower court judge improperly vacated the execution date for Lisa Montgomery last week. 

U.S. District Court Judge Randolph Moss had delayed the execution originally scheduled for December at the Federal Correctional Complex in Terre Haute, Ind., after Montgomery’s attorneys contracted COVID-19 while visiting their client. 

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Moss prohibited the Bureau of Prisons from carrying out the execution before the end of the year, and officials rescheduled it for Jan. 12. But Moss ruled that the agency was also prohibited from rescheduling the date while a stay was in place, the AP reported at the time. 

The appeals panel on Friday, however, disagreed with this ruling, clearing the way for Montgomery’s execution just days before President-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenChina eyes military base on Africa's Atlantic coast: report Biden orders flags be flown at half-staff through Dec. 9 to honor Dole Biden heading to Kansas City to promote infrastructure package MORE’s inauguration. 

The Trump administration resumed federal executions this year following a 17-year hiatus on the practice, executing more prisoners in 2020 than all of the states that still carry out capital punishment combined, according to a recent report by the Death Penalty Information Center. 

Montgomery’s lawyers have tried to prevent her execution, citing serious mental illnesses, and Biden has repeatedly vocalized his opposition to the death penalty. 

While Biden has not indicated whether he will halt federal executions upon taking office, a spokesman, TJ Ducklo, said the former vice president would aim to end the practice, the AP reported. 

Montgomery was convicted in 2007 of the 2004 strangulation of a woman who was eight months pregnant at the time. Montgomery removed the unborn child, who survived, from Bobbie Jo Stinnet’s womb after the murder. 

Prosecutors said that Montgomery then took the girl with her and attempted to pass her off as her own.