Prosecuting Timothy McVeigh
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.
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