Skip to main content /LAW /LAW


Subscribe to one of our news e-mail lists.
Enter your address:

CNN Mobile

CNN Websites



CNN International



find law dictionary

Lawyers seek videotaping of McVeigh execution

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- An application for appeal was filed Saturday with the U.S. Supreme Court to allow Timothy McVeigh's scheduled Monday execution to be videotaped.

graphicExecution countdown
Sunday, June 10
7:00 a.m. CDT
McVeigh's telephone privileges and visitors will be restricted to his attorneys, his immediate family members and a spiritual adviser, if he requests one.

The Bureau of Prisons will begin to shuttle demonstrators, who will gather in two nearby parks, to the prison grounds.

Monday, June 11
5:00 a.m.
Any visitors McVeigh may have must leave.

6:30 a.m.
McVeigh will be searched and restrained if necessary, before being taken to the execution room and strapped to the gurney.

Witnesses will be escorted to their seats and the drapes of the witness rooms will be opened.

7:00 a.m.
The executioners will administer the lethal injection.
graphic IN-DEPTH
Execution of Timothy McVeigh
Oklahoma City Bombing
graphic ON THE SCENE
Roger Cossack: McVeigh's legal options
Bill Hemmer: Life goes on despite unfolding drama in Terre Haute

The 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia on Friday overturned a lower court ruling that would have allowed the videotaping. Attorneys in an unrelated case are seeking the videotaping, and U.S. District Judge Maurice B. Cohill in Pittsburgh had granted the request.

Attorneys in the unrelated case, a federal death penalty case against Joseph Minerd, want to use the videotape as evidence that the death penalty constitutes cruel and unusual punishment, barred by the Constitution's Eighth Amendment.

Kathy Ardmore, a spokeswoman for the Supreme Court, told CNN that Justice David Souter, who has jurisdiction over cases from Pennsylvania, would handle the application for appeal. He could act by himself on the matter or refer it to the full court.

In its argument against granting the appeal, the Justice Department said "It is well settled that the lethal injection form of execution passes muster under the Eighth Amendment..." and said that since a trial date has not even been set for Minerd, "It is speculative that applicant will ever need to make an evidentiary presentation during his sentencing (as the guilt phase of his trial has yet to commence) and speculative that the videotape would support his claim that lethal injection is cruel and unusual punishment."

It said the issuance of a stay would override "Department of Justice regulations governing implementation of the death penalty without any demonstration that such regulations are an impermissible exercise of regulatory authority or otherwise contrary to law."

U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft has said that the government would do "everything in its power" to uphold a federal regulation barring photographic, visual or audio recording of executions.

Minerd was charged -- under the same federal arson and bombing law used in the McVeigh case -- with setting up a pipe bomb that killed his ex-girlfriend and her 3-year-old daughter in 1999.

Earlier in the case, Minerd's lawyers sought to stop the government from seeking the death penalty on the grounds that he was being unfairly targeted because he is white.

The attorneys cited statistics showing minorities constituted more than 75 percent of the people against whom the government sought the death penalty from 1988 and 1995, but that the number has been dropping since that time.


• U.S. District Court, District of Colorado
• Federal Bureau of Investigation

Note: Pages will open in a new browser window
External sites are not endorsed by CNN Interactive.



Back to the top