United States v. McVeigh

918 F. Supp. 1467 (1996)

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United States v. McVeigh

United States District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma
918 F. Supp. 1467 (1996)

Facts

Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols (defendants) were indicted in connection with an Oklahoma City explosion that killed or injured hundreds of people and destroyed the federal office building. The court found that obtaining an impartial jury in Oklahoma City would be difficult and designated Lawton, Oklahoma, as the place for trial. McVeigh and Nichols moved for a venue change because of the extensive news coverage of the explosion and arrests. The parties submitted the results of opinion surveys and voluminous publicity showing that media coverage continued in Oklahoma in the weeks after the explosion. Television stations focused on the victims and the impact of their loss on families. Teddy bears and angels were displayed throughout Oklahoma symbolizing the deaths of the infants and young children in the federal building. Public sympathy for the victims was demonstrated through T-shirts and license plates. Videotape and photographs of the arrests were shown on television. Broadcasts suggested McVeigh and Nichols were associated with right-wing militia groups. Interviews of citizens emphasized the need for certainty in a guilty verdict. There was a citizens’ movement in Oklahoma to support legislation limiting the reviewability of death sentences.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Matsch, C.J.)

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