The death penalty report for December to January is now available thanks to group member Lesley for the work in compiling it.
Lisa Montgomery was executed in the Federal prison of Terre Haute, Indiana today (Wednesday, 13 January 2021) after a long legal struggle to save her from this punishment. The case has caused a major debate in the US partly because Lisa was the first woman to be executed in nearly seven decades. She was executed in a federal prison, not a state one.
There is no doubt that her crime was horrific. But there seems little doubt also that her upbringing, which included being gang raped more than once, contributed to her lack of mental wellbeing and borderline personality disorder. It is unlikely she was aware of what was happening to her. She was the 11th person to be executed at Terre Haute since President Trump resumed federal executions.
The US is the only country in the Americas to retain the death penalty and not all states in the union practise it.
There is no evidence to support the maintenance of this penalty. It does not deter and it brutalises those involved in it. It can make securing convictions harder if juries are unwilling to agree a guilty verdict if there is a risk of execution. It is extremely expensive as we noted in a previous post and it has cost California for example, around $12bn to administer since 1978. For poor people, unable to employ expensive lawyers, the system is stacked against them. Mistakes – and there are many – cannot afterwards be rectified.
Lisa Montgomery execution to go ahead in the dying days of the Trump presidency
The execution by lethal injection of Lisa Montgomery is now scheduled to take place at Terre Haute Federal prison Indiana on January 12 just days before president-elect Joe Biden takes office. She is the first woman to be executed in almost six decades.
Lisa’s crime was truly awful and involved murder of a woman and the removal of her unborn baby. The argument has been about her mental state and her background. She was the victim of gang rape, incest and sex trafficking. Her defence (defense) has argued that the balance of her mind was disturbed at the time of the murder.
It is some kind of fitting end to the President’s term of office to rush through a number of Federal executions including this one. No other lame duck president has carried out more than one execution since Grover Cleveland’s first presidency in 1888 – 89.
This has been an administration that’s been historically out of step. Not just out of step with the views of America in 2020, but out of step with federal practices by administrations, Democratic or Republican, for the course of [a] century, Death Penalty Information Center Executive Director Robert Dunham told The Washington Post.
The USA is the only country in the Americas to retain the death penalty.
China executes more of its citizens than the rest of the world combined but details are a state secret.
See our latest monthly death penalty report.
Further details of other executions being rushed through on the Death Penalty Information Center
Sources: USA Today; Fort Worth Star-Telegram; Washington Post; Guardian; US Dept. of Justice