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USA - Assistant Federal Public Defenders Kelley Henry
USA - Assistant Federal Public Defenders Kelley Henry
USA - Federal. Lawyers for Lisa Montgomery Contract COVID-19 During Prison Visits, Seek Stay of Execution.

November 13, 2020:

Lawyers for Lisa Montgomery Contract COVID-19 During Prison Visits, Seek Stay of Execution.
Lawyers for federal death-row prisoner Lisa Montgomery filed suit in federal district court in Washington, D.C. on November 12, seeking to stay her December 8 execution because the lead counsel in her case have contracted the coronavirus.
A stay is necessary, the complaint alleges, because Montgomery’s lawyers “cannot represent her because they are seriously ill, through no fault of their own. On the contrary, they are sick because Attorney General William Barr recklessly scheduled Mrs. Montgomery’s execution in the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic. But for Barr’s action, counsel would not have been stricken with the disease that is ravaging the country.” Montgomery will be denied access to the courts and to the clemency process if the execution occurs as planned, the complaint asserts.
In court proceedings on Friday, November 13, U.S. District Court Judge Randolph D. Moss ordered federal prosecutors to respond over the weekend, saying prompt consideration of the matter was essential to provide the parties time to appeal whatever decision he makes. Moss scheduled argument on the complaint for Monday afternoon, November 16.
The Department of Justice announced Montgomery’s execution date on October 16, affording counsel just 30 days to prepare a clemency petition. Assistant Federal Public Defenders Kelley Henry and Amy Harwell have represented Montgomery for years and had been preparing her clemency petition. The lawsuit, filed on Montgomery’s behalf by lawyers from the Cornell Law School’s International Human Rights Clinic, asserts that, as a result of Montgomery’s serious mental illness and fragile emotional state, the defenders were required — against medical guidance from the Centers for Disease Control — to make a number of in-person visits from their home base in Nashville, Tennessee to Fort Worth, Texas where Montgomery is imprisoned.
“Mrs. Montgomery’s mental health — and the extent to which she is able to grasp what is happening to her — lies at the core of her efforts to obtain a reprieve and a commutation of her sentence to life imprisonment,” the complaint reads. “For this reason, among others, it is vital that counsel be able to meet with Mrs. Montgomery in person to evaluate her mental status. This is particularly vital since, as a result of the pandemic, the mental health experts who have evaluated Mrs. Montgomery in the past are unable to travel to the prison.”
Henry and Harwell traveled to visit Montgomery three times after her execution was scheduled. They said her mental condition had deteriorated and they “spent hours trying to calm her, explain the status of her case, and ascertain her current mental health status” during their visits. Both began experiencing COVID-19 symptoms a few days after their third visit on November 2, and both tested positive for the novel coronavirus. The complaint said they are “experiencing debilitating symptoms, including overwhelming fatigue, headaches, chills, sweats, gastro-intestinal distress, inability to focus, and impaired thinking and judgment.”
At the November 13 hearing, Cornell law professor Sandra Babcock told the court that “Mrs. Montgomery’s lawyers now are in bed as I speak, they are really not functional.” She said that the Department of Justice had refused to extend the November 15 deadline for filing Montgomery’s clemency petition and a stay was necessary because it was “not feasible” for Henry and Harwell to prepare the petition even with a two-week extension “given their illness and the strictures under which they are working.”
The American Civil Liberties Union released findings earlier this year that suggested that the 2020 federal execution spree had contributed to a spike in coronavirus cases. In an interview with the HuffPost, Babcock expressed outrage that the Department of Justice would continuing carrying out executions as COVID-19 infections surged.
The lawyers’ illness “is directly traceable to the government’s irresponsible decision to schedule this execution in the middle of a pandemic,” Babcock said. “It is really just beyond the pale.”
In a November 12 letter to President Trump, the American Bar Association President Patricia Lee Refo expressed “urgent concern” about the federal government’s intent to carry out three more executions during “a startling surge” in COVID-19 cases. She said the execution plans endangered “due process, lawyers’ ability to advocate zealously for their clients, and lawyers’ individual health and safety.”
Montgomery, of Kansas, was convicted in 2007 for strangling a woman and cutting an unborn baby from her womb. The baby lived and was reunited with her father.
Montgomery’s lawyers, Kelley Henry and Amy Harwell, said in a court brief that they visited Montgomery three times after her execution date was set.
Before that, the lawyers were working remotely and abiding by public defender regulations preventing nonessential travel. To visit with their client, the lawyers had to travel on planes, stay in hotels and interact with dozens of people.
The ABA is also seeking delays for the execution of Orlando Hall, whose lawyers have been unable to visit him, and Brandon Bernard, who was only 18 at the time of the crime and “has a compelling case for mercy.” Bernard’s lawyers were able to submit a clemency petition by the statutory deadline, but lawyers for Hall haven’t been able to conduct the investigation necessary to prepare a current and complete clemency petition, the ABA letter said. Hall faces a Nov. 19 execution date, while Bernard is schedule for execution on Dec. 10.
It is clear that once the new President of the United States takes office in January, lawyers believe it will be easier for them to obtain an indefinite postponement of federal executions.

https://deathpenaltyinfo.org/news/lawyers-for-lisa-montgomery-contract-covid-19-during-prison-visits-seek-stay-of-execution

https://www.abajournal.com/news/article/aba-asks-trump-for-delays-in-3-executions-including-case-in-which-the-lawyers-have-covid-19

(Sources: DPIC, abajournal.com, 13/11/2020)

IRAN: EXECUTION IN KARAJ CENTRAL PRISON
IRAN - Ghassem Gh. Executed in Mashhad Prison on November 18.
DEATH PENALTY: MAJORITY OF STATES CONTINUE TO SUPPORT UN CALL FOR MORATORIUM ON EXECUTIONS AT COMMITTEE VOTE
UK - Professor Roger Hood, one of the founders of the international movement for the abolition of the death penalty, passed away.
IRAN: PRISONER EXECUTED AT TAYBAD PRISON FOR DRUG CHARGES
IRAQ EXECUTES 21 CONVICTED OF ‘TERRORISM’ AT NOTORIOUS NASIRIYAH PRISON
BANGLADESH: DEATH PENALTY OF THREE UPHELD FOR MURDERING PREGNANT WOMAN
PAKISTAN: MAN SENTENCED TO DEATH FOR KILLING WARDEN
YEMEN: REBEL-RUN COURT SENTENCES 21 TO DEATH FOR SPYING FOR SAUDI-LED COALITION
IRAN: 400 YEARS IMPRISONMENT AND 787 LASHES FOR 53 RIGHTS DEFENDERS
SINGAPORE: MAN SENTENCED TO DEATH FOR KILLING PREGNANT WIFE, DAUGHTER
MALI: JIHADIST CHIEF, 14 OTHERS, SENTENCED TO DEATH
BANGLADESH: MAN SENTENCED TO DEATH FOR KILLING STUDENT IN KHULNA
IRAN - Zaman Fadaii was lashed 80 times for drinking communion wine
IRAN - ABAN, International People’s Tribunal Established to Investigate Iran Atrocities.
COVID EMERGENCY: RITA BERNARDINI IS ON HUNGER STRIKE FOR AMNESTY, INDULT, SPECIAL EARLY RELEASE
IRAN - Kurdish Political Prisoner Zeinab Jalalian Transferred to Jail Far Away From Family
NIGERIA: TWO SENTENCED TO DEATH BY HANGING FOR ROBBERY IN EKITI
USA - Bill Pelke, a pioneer of US abolitionism, and a friend of Hands Off Cain, died.
EGYPT: TEN EXECUTIONS CARRIED OUT IN MINYA
IRAN: TWO YOUNG MEN FLOGGED IN PUBLIC FOR THEFT
GAZA: MAN SENTENCED TO DEATH BY DEIR AL-BALAH COURT FOR MURDER
BANGLADESH: BILL SEEKING DEATH SENTENCE FOR RAPE LANDS IN PARLIAMENT
IRAN - Nasrin Sotoudeh has tested positive for the coronavirus
USA: WHAT BIDEN’S WIN MEANS FOR CRIMINAL JUSTICE AND THE DEATH PENALTY
UAE: DEATH PENALTY FOR FORCED SEX WITH A MINOR, 'HONOR CRIMES'
INDIA: COURT SENTENCES MAN TO DEATH FOR MURDERS
IRAN: PRISONER EXECUTED IN RASHT CENTRAL PRISON FOR MURDER
USA - United Nations. U.S. Death Penalty Criticized by U.N. Human Rights Council.
NIGERIA: MAN TO DIE BY HANGING FOR ROBBERY

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IRAN - Wife of Djalali pleads for EU action
  IRAN - Hands off Cain Year End Report: At least 284 executions in 2020  
  IRAN: HANDS OFF CAIN, THE HANGING OF THE PROTESTER MOSTAFA SALEHI IS A SHAME FOR THE SO-CALLED DEMOCRATIC WORLD   
  USA: ‘BLACK LIVES MATTER’, BUT IS IT ONLY RACISM?  
  IRAN. HANDS OFF CAIN, REDUCTION OF DRUG EXECUTIONS BUT NUMBERS REMAIN WORRISOME  
  HUMAN RIGHTS: DEMONSTRATION OF THE RADICAL PARTY BEFORE IRANIAN EMBASSY 14 FEBRUARY  
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