It was the day before Christmas, and Kelley Henry hadn’t bought a single present. She didn’t have a tree. When reached by phone, she was preparing a clemency petition for her client Lisa Montgomery, imploring outgoing President Donald Trump to spare the life of the only woman on federal death row.
Normally, legal writing comes easily for Henry, who has spent 30 years representing people condemned to die. When she gets into hyperfocused mode, she can write a 30-page document in a day, she said. That was before she got sick. In November, Henry tested positive for COVID-19 following visits with Montgomery inside a Texas prison. Even now, two months later, she is plagued by brain fog and fatigue.