Amicus Review: How the system kept failing the only woman on death row

Amicus will be publishing a series of reviews and comments on the way capital punishment is presented within the media. Covering books, films, peer-reviewed articles and mainstream news, our work will cover the whole spectrum of public exposure to this violent form of justice. We hope that this will provide some context to the work that we do and raise awareness of the inherent injustices that face ordinary people on death row as well as recommending some good books and films along the way. If you have any questions about the project, the content or about our work then please get in touch at amicus_uol@outlook.com


How the system kept failing the only woman on death row, Meghan Curran, Bar Student at BPP Law School - Review by Amy Caldera

Summary:


This article focuses on Lisa Montgomery, the only woman on federal death row. Despite concerns about her mental capacity, Lisa was executed January 2021. Following her execution, it was said everyone involved should feel shame, as ‘it was the system that failed Montgomery time and time again, and it was the system that killed her.’

Montgomery was a victim of abuse from an early age, including a series of brutal rapes. School administrators, alongside the sheriff, failed to intervene and provide Montgomery with the assistance she required. The abuse continued throughout each of her marriages, yet she was never taken to a counsellor or doctor.

The system neglected Montgomery again at her trial in 2007, where there was no clear display to the jury of her traumatic suffering and history of mental health.

Despite two postponements, ultimately the system failed Montgomery and suffered great injustice.


Blog style review:


This article focuses on Lisa Montgomery, the only woman on federal death row. Despite concerns about her mental capacity, Lisa was executed January 2021. Following her execution, it was said everyone involved should feel shame, as ‘it was the system that failed Montgomery time and time again, and it was the system that killed her.’

Montgomery was a victim of abuse from an early age, including a series of brutal rapes. School administrators, alongside the sheriff, failed to intervene and provide Montgomery with the assistance she required. The abuse continued throughout each of her marriages, yet she was never taken to a counsellor or doctor.

The system neglected Montgomery again at her trial in 2007, where there was no clear display to the jury of her traumatic suffering and history of mental health.

Despite two postponements, ultimately the system failed Montgomery and suffered great injustice.


This case is extremely relevant to Amicus, as their focus is to fight for justice on death row.

Founded in 1992, Amicus arose in memory of Andrew Lee Jones. Similar to the case of Montgomery, details of his mental illness were withheld by the prosecution, vital mitigation was not presented, and he was represented by an inexperienced lawyer. Better legal representation could have saved Andrew’s life; instead, his death led to the formation of the international charity - Amicus.

In relation to Montgomery, funding could have ensured suitable legal assistance and a fair trial.


Personally, I found reading the article on Montgomery horrifying. It is worrying to believe this could occur in present day with our current justice system. I believe with the help of Amicus and other important charities; eventually less traumatic cases will arise. A raise in funding and awareness should prevent any further victims being failed by the federal system.


Key Quote: 'It was the system that failed Montgomery time and time again, and it was the system that killed her.’


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