Saturday, December 26, 2020

Death row reprieve for woman in federal prison

A ruling by a federal judge to delay the execution of the only woman on federal death row could push the new date into the early days of the administration of President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr., who has said he would work to end federal capital punishment, reported the New York Times.

The woman, Lisa Montgomery, had been scheduled to be executed on Dec. 8, but that date was delayed after two of her lawyers tested positive for the coronavirus shortly after traveling to a federal prison in Texas to visit her in November.

Should Ms. Montgomery’s life be spared as a result of the series of delays caused by the infection of her lawyers, it would be a rare reprieve for a prisoner from a virus that has swept through prisons, infecting inmates crammed into shared spaces.

But if the Department of Justice appeals the decision, a higher court would most likely overturn it. Since the Supreme Court paved the way in June for federal executions to proceed after a 17-year hiatus, the court has been largely unreceptive to requests from federal inmates scheduled for execution seeking clemency.

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