High Court Is Asked to OK Taping of McVeigh Death

From Associated Press

Lawyers for a man who could face the same method of execution as Timothy J. McVeigh asked the U.S. Supreme Court on Saturday for permission to videotape the Oklahoma City bomber's death.

The tape would not be released publicly but could be used as part of Joseph Minerd's legal argument that federal execution by injection is unconstitutionally cruel and unusual punishment, his lawyers said.

There was no immediate indication when the court would rule.

McVeigh has told his lawyers he does not object to the taping. The government opposes the idea, citing a federal regulation that prohibits any photographic, visual or audio recording of executions.

The Justice Department filed a response with the Supreme Court late Saturday in which it opposed the videotaping.

Minerd is challenging the government's plan to seek execution in his case. He is jailed in Pittsburgh for the 1999 bombing death of his pregnant former girlfriend and her daughter. No trial date has been set, but federal prosecutions have indicated they will seek the death penalty.

Minerd was charged under the federal arson and bombing law that was also used in the Oklahoma City bombing case.

The appeal first goes to Justice David H. Souter, who has jurisdiction over Pennsylvania.

U.S. District Judge Maurice B. Cohill in Pittsburgh granted the request Thursday to tape McVeigh's execution. The U.S. 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals then blocked the order, prompting Saturday's appeal to the Supreme Court.

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