TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — Jane Magnus-Stinson, Chief Judge of the United States District Court of the Southern District of Indiana, ordered Thursday that four new COVID-19-related policies must be implemented if the federal government intends to proceed with executions.
The policies come in response to a claim filed by Patrick Smith and Brandon Holm – neither of whom are on death row – stating that moving forward with the executions would subject them to “unnecessary and unreasonable health risks” due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The four policies are:
- The defendants (that is, the federal government) will enforce mask requirements for all staff participants in the executions.
- The defendants will maintain contact logs for all FCC Terre Haute staff members involved in any execution who have close contact — within 6 feet for a total of 15 minutes over the course of a 24-hour period — with any other person during execution preparation, during an executioin, or during the post-execution process.
- For 14 days following any such close contact, the defendants will require the impacted FCC Terre Haute staff member to produce a negative COVID-19 result using one of the complex’s rapid testing machines each day before beginning ordinary duties that involve interaction with FCC inmates.
- The defendants will ensure that thorough contact tracing is conducted for any such FCC staff member who tests positive for COVID-19 during this 14-day period.
Lisa Montgomery is scheduled to be executed on Tuesday, Jan. 12. Corey Johnson’s execution is scheduled for Jan. 14, with Dustin John Higgs slated for death the following day. In December, Johnson and Higgs’ attorneys said both men had contracted the coronavirus.