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THE MCVEIGH VERDICT

What's Next

June 14, 1997|David Savage

Some of the options for appeal in the Timothy J. McVeigh case:

* What's the first step to an appeal? After the transcript and record of his trial is complete, McVeigh's lawyers will have 40 days to file an appeal in the U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver.

* What happens in 10th Circuit? A three-judge panel then would seek a response from federal prosecutors, schedule an oral argument and hear the appeal. A written ruling on the appeal could take as long as one year, appellate experts say.

* How does Supreme Court enter picture? If the panel rejects the appeal, McVeigh's lawyers could petition the U.S. Supreme Court for a hearing. It could take six months or more before the court then acts on whether to hear the appeal. If the court were to accept the case, a ruling might not come for up to a year.

* What if the high court says no? If the appeal were turned down by the court--as is considered likely--the conviction and sentence would be considered final.

* His final chance: McVeigh, perhaps with a new team of court-appointed lawyers, then could file a writ of habeas corpus claiming he is being held unconstitutionally. A new team of lawyers would be entitled to challenge, among other things, the effectiveness of his trial lawyers. This system of second-chance appeals has been curtailed recently by the Supreme Court and Congress but it could still take two years to complete.

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