“The Court therefore concludes that the Director’s order setting a new date of execution while the Court’s suspension was in effect ‘was not in accordance with the law,'” wrote Moss.
A Justice Department spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
According to the order, the Bureau of Prisons cannot reschedule Montgomery’s execution until at least January 1. Generally, according to Department of Justice guidelines, a death row inmate must be notified at least 20 days before execution. Because of the judge’s order, if the Justice Department decides to reschedule the date in January, it could mean that the execution will be scheduled after Biden’s inauguration on January 20.
A spokesman for Biden told the Associated Press that the president-elect “opposes the death penalty now and in the future” and would work as president to end his use in office. But Biden’s representatives did not say whether executions would be halted immediately after Biden’s inauguration.
Montgomery was convicted of the murder of Bobbie Jo Stinnett, 23, in Skidmore, Northwest Missouri, in December 2004. She used a rope to strangle Stinnett, who was eight months pregnant, and then a kitchen knife. to cut the girl out of the womb, officials said.
Prosecutors said Montgomery removed the baby from Stinnett’s body, took the child with her and tried to make the girl his own. Montgomery’s legal team argued that his client suffers from severe mental illness.
“Given the severity of Mrs. Montgomery’s mental illness, the sexual and physical torture she endured throughout her life and the connection between her trauma and the facts of her crime, we call on President Trump to grant his mercy and commute his sentence for life in prison, ”said one of Montgomery’s lawyers, Sandra Babcock, in a statement.
Two other federal inmates are scheduled to be executed in January, but have tested positive for coronavirus and their lawyers are also looking for delays in their executions.