ACLU files injunction to end ‘torturous’ conditions of first female death row inmate in decades

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed a preliminary injunction against the federal government to end the “torturous” conditions under which Lisa Montgomery, the only woman on death row, is currently awaiting execution. 

Montgomery is scheduled to be executed by lethal injection on Dec. 8 in Indiana, the first woman to be executed in more than 70 years. 

Montgomery is currently being held in the Federal Medical Center in Carswell, Texas, and is set to be transferred to the U.S. Penitentiary in Terre Haute, Ind., where she will be executed.

The lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia alleges she’s being held in a cold cell where male guards watch her at all times, even when she uses the bathroom. 

She was only given a loose gown after her clothes were confiscated and was only recently given a pair of underwear after weeks of begging, according to the suit.

The ACLU argues that her conditions violate the Eighth Amendment and is asking to halt her transfer. The organization notes that she was a victim of “immense sexual terror,” including being a victim of sex trafficking.

Cassandra Stubbs, director of the ACLU’s Capital Punishment Project said in a statement that her conditions are “torture” for someone who has “suffered the kind of sexual terror and trauma” that Montgomery has. 

“The Constitution does not give our government permission to torture people before putting them to death — these conditions must be alleviated immediately,” Stubbs said.

The suit names Attorney General William Barr, the federal Bureau of Prisons and the wardens of Terre Haute Correctional Complex and FMC Carswell. 

Montgomery was convicted in 2007 of fatally strangling a pregnant woman, cutting open her body and kidnapping her baby.

Several advocacy groups have sent letters asking to halt her execution, and NBC News reported last week that her attorneys are trying to delay her execution after they both contracted the coronavirus.

Tags American Civil Liberties Union Capital punishment Death row Department of Justice Federal Bureau of Prisons Indiana Murder of Bobbie Jo Stinnett William Barr

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