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[–] Freyja [OP] 12 points (+12|-0) Edited

Article archives - 1, 2

ARTICLE TEXT

Lisa Montgomery: US executes only woman on federal death row | BBC | ~3AM EST 13JAN2021

Lisa Montgomery - the only female inmate on federal death row in the US - has been executed for murder.

She received a lethal injection at a prison in Terre Haute, Indiana, after a last-minute stay of execution was lifted by the US Supreme Court.

The case attracted attention because her lawyers argued she was mentally ill and suffered serious abuse as a child.

The 52-year-old strangled a pregnant woman before cutting out and kidnapping her baby in Missouri in 2004.

Her victim, 23-year-old Bobbie Jo Stinnett, bled to death.

Montgomery is the first female federal inmate to be put to death by the US government in 67 years.

According to witnesses, a woman standing next to Montgomery during the execution process, removed the inmate's face mask and asked her if she had any last words. Montgomery responded "no", and said nothing else.

She was pronounced dead at 01:31 (06:31 GMT). Montgomery's lawyer, Kelley Henry, said that everyone who had participated in the execution "should feel shame".

"The government stopped at nothing in its zeal to kill this damaged and delusional woman," she said in a statement. "Lisa Montgomery's execution was far from justice."

The latest execution was postponed twice - first by Covid-19, then by a judge - until a Supreme Court ruling cleared the way for it to take place in the early hours of Wednesday.

In a dramatic move late on Monday, a judge in Indiana had halted the scheduled injection until a mental competency hearing could be held.

Her lawyers argued that she had been born brain-damaged and was too mentally ill to be executed.

As a child she was routinely sexually and physically abused by her father and trafficked by her mother, family members said. Her treatment was so violent that it amounted to torture, her lawyers say.

Her defence team believe that at the time of her crime, Montgomery was psychotic and out of touch with reality. That opinion is supported by 41 current and former lawyers as well as human rights groups like the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.

But her victim's family and friends say the murder committed by Montgomery was so horrific that she deserved to be put to death regardless of her mental health.

She killed 23-year-old Stinnett in Skidmore, Missouri, after befriending the pregnant woman online over a shared love of dogs. After driving to Stinnett's house, Montgomery overpowered the pregnant woman, strangled her with a piece of rope, and cut the baby out of her womb.

Police found Montgomery cradling a new-born girl she claimed to have given birth to the day before. After her story fell apart, she confessed to the killing.

She was found guilty of the crime in 2007. The next day, she was sentenced to death.

Legal challenges failed to commute sentence

Analysis by Jessica Lussenhop, BBC News, Washington

The fight to save the life of a death row inmate is always dramatic up until the very last moment, and none more so than the fight to save Lisa Montgomery. Although only President Trump had the power to grant her clemency and commute her sentence to life in prison, if her lawyers were able to delay her execution until after President-elect Biden takes office, they would have effectively achieved the same thing. Biden has pledged to end the death penalty on the federal level.

And so it all ended - as many death penalty cases do - in an 11th hour flurry of legal filings that pitted Montgomery's legal team against lawyers for the Department of Justice, who were urging the execution forward. Ultimately, the US Supreme Court ruled against Montgomery in all three of her final legal challenges, including one that argued that it would be unconstitutional to execute Montgomery because she is not mentally competent.


Since 2008, Montgomery had been held in a federal prison in Texas for female inmates with special needs, where she has been receiving psychiatric care. Since receiving her execution date, she'd been placed on suicide watch in an isolated cell.

Montgomery's lawyer, Ms Henry, said her original legal defence was woefully inadequate, and presented few of the details about her abuse, trauma and mental illness.

The Supreme Court outlawed the death penalty at state and federal level in 1972 but reversed the decision four years later. Since 1976, 16 women other than Lisa Montgomery have been executed but all by individual states rather than by the government.

Before Montgomery's execution, the last woman to be executed by the US government was Bonnie Heady, who died in a gas chamber in Missouri in 1953, according to the Death Penalty Information Center.

Federal executions had been on pause for 17 years before President Donald Trump ordered them to resume earlier last year.


END OF ARTICLE

This news article caught my eye this morning because I'd actually first heard about this case a couple days ago from Julie Bindel. She has been tweeting her article about feminism and the death penalty. This was the article (there are some graphic descriptions in there, headsup):

https://thecritic.co.uk/why-feminists-should-oppose-the-death-penalty/

Archive 1 & 2

I would recommend giving it a read if you haven't thought much about the death penalty in regards to feminism & in particular how it harms vulnerable women. It's been one of the 'hot topics' weighing on my brain lately, especially as I had just started to crack open Elizabeth Sheehy's Defending Battered Women on Trial: Lessons from the Transcripts.

I thought she made some good points overall. It is very clear that who is actually put on death row seems very..'random'. It is not evenly applied across the board who warrants execution and who does not. This is especially obvious reading through about Lisa's case. The amount of absolutely horribly violent men I've seen get away on pleading insanity & escaping the death penalty for far, far less than Lisa endured disgusts me.

I'm not sure how to personally mentally move past how there are just some people so horrible in this world that I truly do believe they do not have a right to life. It's difficult for me to draw where that line is though, to be able to put that down into words, and especially in such a way that something like a justice system could enforce that.

I also believe that while I think most people are capable of change, I also think there are those that are incapable (like true sociopaths) or simply do not want to ever change. I would blink out the life of men like Rodney Alcala in a heartbeat and feel no remorse. But we see over and over that our justice systems just do NOT seem equipped to not harm the innocent. I feel like some people are so dangerous that even risking keeping them locked up in a facility is not acceptable -- we know prisoners escape. We know prisoners can sweet talk parole boards.

Overall, reading the case of Lisa Montgomery, I think this line from Bindel's article sums it up best:

“In Lisa Montgomery’s case, it seems, our current government has chosen to finally respond to the impact of violence against women,” says Baldwin, “by ordering the killing of one of its most wounded victims.”

Encapsulates how our justice system does not seem truly interested in protecting women in the least.

Thought this might spur some insightful comments from others on their thoughts regarding the death penalty.

edit:formatting

[–] Alecto 18 points (+19|-1)

Lisa Montgomery's life was molded by extreme sex-based violence, which was largely ignored in her trials. Executing her was the last abuse patriarchy inflicted on her.

I'm also conflicted by the death penalty. I need to think some more on it.

[–] MelMarieCurebee 10 points (+19|-9)

This cuts my soul. A misogynistic federal murder and nobody will take note like they would if it were a black man.

[–] gnarlyfem 8 points (+13|-5) Edited

This is a pretty ignorant comment. Innocent black Americans who aren’t breaking any laws, are murdered by police every day, and they routinely get harsher punishments than whites for the same crimes. While this woman had a horrible life, she slowly strangled another woman, and cut the baby out of the woman’s womb with a kitchen knife, and tried to pass the baby off as her own. The victim’s mother found her, and on the 911 call said it looked as if her body exploded, because there was blood everywhere. Montgomery was sadistic. She is not the “poster boy” to prop up as a victim of a misogynistic justice system.

[–] Freyja [OP] 3 points (+3|-0)

I understand where both of you are coming from, & do not disagree that the justice system as a whole is particularly racist. I think Mel's point would have been much more effective had she simply just said 'men' though. Trying to play the "which is worse, racism or misogyny?" game with our justice system is a losing game from the start & I think frames this particular situation poorly to focus on 'black vs white'. What is of particular important here is the misogyny within the (at the very least, the US) justice system that cannot be ignored. Coincidentally, the Bindel article I linked in my OP comment includes an example of a man who was objectively sadistic & yet did not receive the death penalty. From Bindel's article I had linked in my OP comment:

Feminist lawyers and campaigners I have spoken to in the US insist that women who are sentenced to death are often perceived as acting against “feminine norms” or resisting sex stereotypes.

“Our criminal justice system routinely fails to protect or vindicate crimes of violence against women—leaving millions of victims to cope on their own, many suffering years of horrific abuse without response from a society that claims to stand for justice,” says feminist lawyer Megan Baldwin. “One such woman is Lisa Montgomery.”

. . .Women who commit violent crimes are usually punished more harshly than their male counterparts despite being far less likely to carry out acts of sadistic or serious violence or homicide. “Women who wield violence often have dealt with severe trauma earlier in life,” says Flock. “Studies of prison populations of women bear that out; the vast majority have suffered mental, physical and/or sexual trauma prior to their criminal history.”

Specifically regarding Crawford:

Two years after Montgomery was sentenced to death, serial killer Andre Crawford avoided the death penalty. Crawford murdered 11 women on Chicago’s South Side over the course of six years, luring his victims to abandoned buildings in order to strangle, stab, beat and rape them. A sadistic necrophiliac, Crawford would rape the women as they lay dying, and would later return to have sex with the corpses. Crawford was at the time one of Illinois’s most prolific serial killers since John Wayne Gacy. . .In my opinion, Aileen Wuornos [another woman sentenced to death] had a compelling defence in that she had been sexually violated by men all of her life, and the abusive treatment by the punters she shot dead tipped her over the edge into insanity.

. . .Andre Crawford, on the other hand, tortured, raped and killed women for nothing more than sexual gratification, even raping their corpses.

I think overall, this also needs to be acknowledged:

“Why did President Trump and William Barr put Montgomery on the list of 12 federal prisoners they want to execute before they leave office on 20 January 2021, along with six black men, an indigenous man and a white man suffering from Alzheimer’s disease,” [Megan Baldwin] asks?

[–] MelMarieCurebee 0 points (+1|-1)

I think Mel's point would have been much more effective had she simply just said 'men' though. Trying to play the "which is worse, racism or misogyny?"

I did this intentionally and because of my experiences with the way racism in the US obscures sexism/misogyny in a distinctly pervasive way. I can defend critical race theory against all comers, and have, but this is a case where I'm going to defend critical feminist theory on this one. The fight to resolve racism in this country has directly led to feminist causes being shoved under the table. It can easily be traced back to the 1850s, when feminist put the cause of women's liberation on hold to promote the petition for the emancipation of slavery - it was, and still is, the most successful petition to the US government as a proportion of citizen signatories vs population of the US at the time. Then, post Civil War, in the fight for voting rights, women/feminism was thrown under the table by the likes of Frederick Douglass, who believed that black men should get the right to vote before all women. Susan B Anthony is still vilified as a racist to this day for saying that she would support the right to vote for all women before the rights to vote of just the black man. That all women included black women. Who fought her on this? Sojourner Truth! A black woman! These internecine battles in the civil rights community and the feminist community have tended, in the US, to land in favor of black men, even among black women! It's maddening to witness, and to have people unable to acknowledge this openly.

It continued through the Civil Rights era, when the various liberation movements made use of women's labor but failed to support women's liberation, it continues to the present when every cause and its neighbor lists support for people according to race/creed/ability/sexual orientation/gender identity but omits sex. The "Oscars so White" thing pissed me off because that year the amount of women-focused movies among the snubbed black Oscar films was ZERO. Women wouldn't get Oscars for pretty much anything if they didn't have separate categories for actresses. There's an endless stream of evidence that my statement is true in a way that has nothing to do with "black vs white", or just throwing race casually into the mix to claim sexism is worse than racism. It's a specific charge based on the way racism has superseded sexism in the collective American awareness, so much so that people cannot even see sexism on account of their ability to see racism.

[–] MelMarieCurebee 1 points (+5|-4)

My comment is not ignorant. Montgomery was subjected to misogynistic torture from the time she was a child (sexual assault from a very young age) and she went insane as a result. She didn't get a fair trial because her misogynistic male legal team drove out the only competent, female attorney on her team because she was "uncooperative" with them.

Can you not see women as worthy of defense the same way you see black men? The justice system betrayed this woman. If a black man was given a racist legal team that didn't successfully defend his insanity that resulted from, let's say, heavy metal poisoning from a racist childhood environmental setting, would you understand that this was racism and wrong? Why can you not see the misogyny in this woman's execution? The miscarriage of justice?

Nobody is saying the crime wasn't gruesome. Nobody is saying she didn't do it. But when our society fails to protect women - girls - from misogynistic violence, fails to give them feminist representation in court, how can you support their sentencing and execution regardless of the crime???

[–] gnarlyfem 3 points (+3|-0) Edited

Can you not see women as worthy of defense the same way you see black men?

Where did I even claim this? Believing one doesn’t mean I don’t believe the other. I can hold two thoughts at the same time. I also said “black Americans” which includes women. You needlessly brought race into this, and honestly, to me as a non-white woman, it came off racist. You brought up Aileen Wuornos and Cyntoia Brown in another comment, and I don’t think the cases of those women are in the same ballpark as Lisa Montgomery’s case.

[–] Verdandi 0 points (+5|-5) Edited

Montgomery was sadistic.

Did she needlessly torture the woman to death? Or is cutting her open the only way a mentally disabled layperson knew how to obtain the baby? Where's your proof she's sadistic?

Obviously she is guilty and the victims death was a horrific tragedy, but executing this woman and lying about her will not bring the mother back to life.

[–] MelMarieCurebee 0 points (+5|-5) Edited

This reminds me of Aileen Wuornos. I think there was an article about her posted on here months back. She was a prostitute who killed johns who attacked her, according to her. She didn't kill more men than you'd expect given that claim. So basically she just was a serial self defender in a dangerously misogynistic life. And she got treated like a serial killer. Similar to sex trafficked minor Cyntoia Brown. Or any of the other countless other women who were abused, trafficked, assaulted, and treated like the justice system as if they were violent criminals. As if they were men. Motives of men, maliciousness of men. This is part of why I made that infamously contentious post about getting biological behavioral differences right. If you think the brains of men and women are exactly the same, it's so easy to assume a woman fits the male template instead of questioning whether it actually applies in her case.

Edit to add the "blood everywhere" thing is because the woman was pregnant. Fetuses have a ton of blood being pumped to them.

[–] Freyja [OP] -2 points (+1|-3)

where's your proof she's sadistic

Seriously..this is a horrible tragedy that happened, but to categorize Montgomery as 'sadistic' is so unfair.

Sadistic: deriving pleasure from causing others harm, humiliation, etc

It really did not read like this was something she enjoyed doing.

[–] dixiechick547 6 points (+6|-0) Edited

Does anyone know how this became a federal offense? Did she cross state lines?

Oh they prosecuted her under the Lindbergh Law a kidnapping resulting in death.

[–] StellariaMedia 5 points (+6|-1) Edited

Montgomery was charged with the federal offense of "kidnapping resulting in death", a crime established by the Federal Kidnapping Act of 1932, and described in Title 18 of the United States Code. If convicted, she faced a sentence of life imprisonment or the death penalty.

I do not support the death penalty, that is just the info about what she was charged under. Everything about her life is just heartbreaking...and yes, she did commit an horrific act and an innocent woman lost her life and a daughter never got to meet her mother. Life in a mental health facility was the appropriate action here...her death did nothing. I hurt for everyone involved in this.

[–] Verdandi 1 points (+3|-2)

Honestly I hope she is finally at peace. Both of them. This is depressing no matter how you look at it.

[–] StellariaMedia 3 points (+3|-0)

It is incredibly depressing...I can't even begin to imagine what this woman went through that led her anywhere close to this incident...there is nothing but sadness and horror here.

[–] dixiechick547 0 points (+0|-0)

That’s really odd that the feds prosecuting this case. It just doesn’t seem to be the type cases they like. This, while a horrific crime, is fairly pedestrian murder case. It’s like shooting a fly with a bazooka.