Up till the execution, Montgomery’s crew 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 may permit her crew to compile extra complete proof that they have been being prohibited from amassing because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Communities of attorneys, psychological well being professionals, prosecutors, and greater than 265,000 members of most of the people additionally wrote letters and signed petitions demanding the identical. Nonetheless, the Trump administration moved ahead, including Montgomery to the record of 11 folks 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 through the ultimate days of Trump’s lame duck administration.
Montgomery’s supporters, together with her protection crew, didn’t deny that she dedicated a very ugly homicide nor did they absolve Montgomery of her duty for that crime and the unspeakable ache she brought on Bobbie Jo Stinnett and her household. As a substitute, advocacy round Montgomery’s case rested on the concept 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 an alternative met with extra violence.
In reality, throughout Montgomery’s 2007 trial, all the 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 legal professional with a track record of losing capital cases. In line with Sandra Babcock, of the Cornell Middle on the Dying Penalty Worldwide, “attorneys have failed so spectacularly to current proof [that would be] at their fingertips if that they had requested the correct questions.” Details about Montgomery’s previous abuse was not offered at trial, which can partially clarify why she was sentenced to demise whereas the 14 different American ladies recognized to have dedicated related murders within the latest previous weren’t. Montgomery is survived by her 4 youngsters; 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 She was 52 years outdated.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 folks to one in all two classes: harmless or responsible, sufferer or legal, good or evil, worthy of mercy or unfit to dwell. These categorizations gloss over the nuances present in each particular person’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 various societal failures that formed each her case and the circumstances of numerous others on demise row. Maybe, anti-death penalty advocates argue, assuming collective duty for these failures may do extra to make sure justice than merely condemning folks to die.
For added context on Lisa Montgomery’s story and the tales of girls on demise row in america, learn Prism’s series on women and the death penalty.
Tamar Sarai Davis is Prism’s legal justice workers reporter. Observe her on Twitter @bytamarsarai.
Prism is a BIPOC-led nonprofit information outlet that facilities the folks, locations and points at present underreported by our nationwide media. By way of our authentic reporting, evaluation, and commentary, we problem dominant, poisonous narratives perpetuated by the mainstream press and work to construct a full and correct report of what’s taking place in our democracy. Observe us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.