CRIME AND PUNISHMENT: DEATH OR LIFE?

MCVEIGH COULD BE THE BEST ARGUMENT FOR EXECUTIONS, BUT HIS CASE HIGHLIGHTS THE PROBLEMS THAT ARISE WHEN DEATH SENTENCES ARE CHURNED OUT IN HUGE NUMBERS

After working so hard to prevent a circus, Judge Richard Matsch was not about to preside over a lynching--or risk seeing the biggest case of his career reversed on appeal. So on Wednesday, with prosecutors ready to explain in grisly detail why Timothy McVeigh deserves death, Matsch ordered the jurors to lock away their feelings and remain "free from the influence of passion." He ruled that government evidence designed to stir those emotions--wedding portraits, poetry, the testimony of a boy who missed his mom--would all be inadmissible.

He might as well have tried to adjudicate a monsoon. That afternoon, Kathleen Treanor...

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