Lawyers for Oklahoma City bombing suspect Terry Nichols have appealed Attorney General Janet Reno’s plan to seek the death penalty to the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
“When the highest law enforcement official in the land publicly ignores her own guidelines in a rush to condemn individuals to death, judicial review is imperative …,” the lawyers said in written arguments filed Friday.
The Justice Department will file a response later.
Defense lawyers argued that U.S. District Judge Richard Matsch erred when he dismissed Nichols’ death penalty lawsuit against Reno. He dismissed the lawsuit last May, saying Nichols had no right to challenge Reno’s decision.
Nichols, 41, and Timothy McVeigh, 28, face federal conspiracy and murder charges in the April 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building. The explosion killed 168 people and injured more than 500.
Nichols will be tried after McVeigh’s trial, scheduled to begin on March 31, 1997.