The execution of the only woman on federal death row was halted after a federal judge said the Justice Department illegally rescheduled the execution.
Lisa Montgomery was scheduled to be executed this month, but US District Court Judge Randolph Moss delayed the execution after Montgomery’s lawyers contracted the coronavirus while visiting their client, the Associated Press reported.
Moss forbade the Bureau of Prisons to carry out the execution before the end of the year and the authorities rescheduled the execution for January 12, but Moss decided on Wednesday that the agency was also prohibited from rescheduling the date while the suspension was in effect, according to for the AP.
“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 for comment.
Based on the order, the execution date cannot be rescheduled until at least January 1, which means that the date can be postponed until after the day of inauguration, when the president-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenJudge expels Republican action to close Georgia’s polls after business hours. First responders Fauci serenade with ‘happy birthday’ Joe Biden may be the president of middle class workers and all races MOREThe administration assumes that the Department of Justice guidelines state that an inmate must receive a notification at least 20 days in advance of the date of execution.
Montgomery was convicted in 2007 of strangling a woman who was eight months pregnant at the time. Montgomery removed the surviving fetus from Bobbie Jo Stinnet’s uterus after the murder.
A spokesman for Biden told the AP that the president-elect “opposes the death penalty now and in the future” and would work during his presidency to end its use in office.
But Biden’s representatives did not say whether execution would be stopped immediately once Biden was in office, the AP noted.
Dozens of Democrats signed a letter led by Rep. Ayanna PressleyAyanna Pressley Mayor of San Francisco says the replacement for Harris chose ‘a real blow to the African American community’. Progressive Democrats signal support for Trump Warren’s higher direct payment request and other senators seek investigation into the resumption of federal executions by the Trump administration (D-Mass.) Earlier this month, calling on the Biden administration to make the abolition of the death penalty a priority as soon as he takes office.
In addition, a group of Democratic senators is pushing for an investigation into the Trump administration’s decision to end a 17-year hiatus in federal executions this year.
The federal government executed more prisoners in 2020 than all states that still apply the death penalty together, according to a recent report by the Death Penalty Information Center.