Up till the execution, Montgomery’s staff of attorneys had been urging President Trump and the courts to grant her clemency and commute her sentence to life imprisonment with out parole, or to supply a reprieve that will enable her staff to compile extra complete proof that they have been being prohibited from gathering because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Communities of attorneys, psychological well being professionals, prosecutors, and greater than 265,000 members of most people additionally wrote letters and signed petitions demanding the identical. Nonetheless, the Trump administration moved ahead, including Montgomery to the checklist of 11 individuals executed by the federal authorities since July 2020. The federal authorities has scheduled two different executions for this week, persevering with the unprecedented escalation of executions in the course of the remaining days of Trump’s lame duck administration.
Montgomery’s supporters, together with her protection staff, didn’t deny that she dedicated a very grotesque homicide nor did they absolve Montgomery of her accountability for that crime and the unspeakable ache she precipitated Bobbie Jo Stinnett and her household. As an alternative, advocacy round Montgomery’s case rested on the concept that the courts and society at giant repeatedly failed her: that as a baby she deserved security, that her abuse led her to commit the crimes for which she was sentenced, and that in her trial the violence she endured not solely went unrecognized however was as a substitute met with extra violence.
In actual fact, throughout Montgomery’s 2007 trial, the entire feminine attorneys representing her have been taken off her case regardless of her extreme discomfort being alone with males. Judy Clarke, the lawyer initially main her protection, was changed by Fred Duchardt, an lawyer with a track record of losing capital cases. Based on Sandra Babcock, of the Cornell Heart on the Demise Penalty Worldwide, “attorneys have failed so spectacularly to current proof [that would be] at their fingertips if that they had requested the proper questions.” Details about Montgomery’s previous abuse was not introduced at trial, which can partially clarify why she was sentenced to dying whereas the 14 different American girls identified to have dedicated comparable murders within the latest previous weren’t. Montgomery is survived by her 4 kids; her husband, Kevin Montgomery; and her half-sister Diane Mattingly. She was 52 years outdated.
Montgomery was executed by a system that’s not solely rife with discrimination and operates with a staggering margin of error, however which additionally relegates individuals to one in every of two classes: harmless or responsible, sufferer or prison, good or evil, worthy of mercy or unfit to dwell. These categorizations gloss over the nuances present in each individual’s story and ignore the contradictions that inevitably emerge all through a lifetime. By contextualizing Montgomery’s particular acts of violence inside a broader story formed by abuse and unaddressed wants, Montgomery’s supporters highlighted the numerous societal failures that formed each her case and the circumstances of numerous others on dying row. Maybe, anti-death penalty advocates argue, assuming collective accountability for these failures would possibly do extra to make sure justice than merely condemning individuals to die.
For extra context on Lisa Montgomery’s story and the tales of ladies on dying row in the US, learn Prism’s series on women and the death penalty.
Tamar Sarai Davis is Prism’s prison justice employees reporter. Observe her on Twitter @bytamarsarai.
Prism is a BIPOC-led nonprofit information outlet that facilities the individuals, locations and points presently underreported by our nationwide media. By our unique reporting, evaluation, and commentary, we problem dominant, poisonous narratives perpetuated by the mainstream press and work to construct a full and correct file of what’s occurring in our democracy. Observe us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.