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Killing McVeighThe Death Penalty and the Myth of Closure$
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Jody Lyneé Madeira

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780814796108

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814796108.001.0001

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Emotion on Trial

Emotion on Trial

Prosecuting Timothy McVeigh

(p.133) 7 Emotion on Trial
Killing McVeigh

Jody Lyneé Madeira

NYU Press

This chapter examines the place of emotionality in legal proceedings by focusing on the prosecution of Timothy McVeigh and how his trial sparked a conflict between those determined to champion crime victims' participatory rights—prosecutors, legislators, and victims, bolstered by emotive norms prevalent in popular culture and therapeutic discourse—and those who believed that such claims undermined defendants' constitutional rights. In particular, it considers the controversy surrounding U.S. District Judge Richard Matsch's decision to exclude bombing victims who planned to give impact testimony at sentencing from attending the trial. It also explores the emotions of victims, their ardent desire for memory work, and their desire to participate in legal proceedings. Finally, it discusses the views of family members and survivors regarding emotion as an inherent part of holding McVeigh and Terry Nichols accountable for their crime.

Keywords:   emotion, legal proceedings, prosecution, Timothy McVeigh, victims, trial, Richard Matsch, impact testimony, memory work, Terry Nichols

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