Death Penalty

Beginning in the late 1980s, Michael Tigar began to write in opposition to the death penalty, which he believes compounds other forms of legal and social injustice. He worked on a number of death penalty cases throughout his career, the most famous of which is his defense of Terry Nichols.

Most of the materials in this section are from or about the Nichols case. The case provided the opportunity for a number of biographical profiles to be written about Tigar and other attorneys involved in the case, including Jane B. Tigar, Stephen Jones, who represented co-defendant Timothy McVeigh, and Ron Woods, a former prosecutor who helped Tigar with the Nichols defense.

Audio recordings from Tigar’s oral arguments in two other notable death penalty cases, Graham v. Collins and Johnson v. Texas are also included in this section.

The death penalty was a significant topic of discussion during the oral history interview we conducted with Tigar in August 2016, a number of clips from which are included in this section. In one, he expounds upon the connections between racial injustice and the death penalty.

50 archive items found.

Preview Type Title Year
Transcripts Trial to Jury (Vol. 22)


Newspaper Articles Profile of Michael Tigar in New York Times

Newspaper Articles The Jewish Journal: “The Juror”

Arguments for Penalty Phase of Nichols Case

Cases Opening Statement and Closing Arguments-Terry Nichols

Cases Post-Hearing Affidavit in Hall Case

Oral History The Terry Nichols Case

Oral History Racism & the Death Penalty

Oral History State of the Criminal Justice System

Oral History How to Get Life Verdicts

Oral History First Encounters

Oral History Cost of Death Penalty Litigation

Oral History The Permanent Battle

Newspaper Articles NYT Story About Nichols Verdict

Images Michael Tigar and Jane Tigar Depicted in Courtroom Drawing

Correspondence Letter from Judge W.R. Wilson About Nichols and Other Matters

Magazine Articles Time Magazine Winners and Losers

Images Picture of Michael Tigar and Jane Tigar from Arkansas Paper, Courtesy of Bill Wilson

Newspaper Articles Article About Impending Closing Argument

Newspaper Articles Rocky Mountain News Article on Opening Statements (Front Page)

Newspaper Articles Los Angeles Times Article: “Ex-Friend of McVeigh Denies Fabricating Firearms Robbery”

Newspaper Articles Former Senator Eagleton’s Column in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch About Michael Tigar and the Nichols Defense

Newspaper Articles Rocky Mountain News Article About Beginning of Nichols Trial

Magazine Articles Short Interview with Two Lawyers About Michael Tigar and Nichols Trial from PBS Newshour

Newspaper Articles Profile of Michael Tigar from Daily Oklahoman

Newspaper Articles Rocky Mountain News Article: “Two Married Couples on Bomb Case”

Magazine Articles New Yorker Profile About Michael Tigar by Jeffrey Toobin

Newspaper Articles San Francisco Chronicle Story About the Severance Motion

Newspaper Articles Denver Post Article on Jane Tigar Joining the Team

Newspaper Articles Wall Street Journal Article about Jane Tigar Joining the Nichols Defense Team and Jane’s Feminist Response Letter

Newspaper Articles Denver Post Story on Nichols Representation

Newspaper Articles Wall Street Journal Article on Oklahoma City Bombing Case

Magazine Articles Texas Monthly Article on Nichols Defense

Magazine Articles Newsweek Article About Nichols Representation

Newspaper Articles LA Times Serrano Piece

Newspaper Articles Steven Labaton’s Profile in New York Times

Magazine Articles American Lawyer Article: “Odd Couple Teams for Nichols Defense”

Newspaper Articles San Francisco Examiner Article

Audio & Video Recordings of Graham v. Collins

Newspaper Articles Firing Line Newsletter and Related Correspondence

Audio & Video Johnson v. Texas

Book Review Missing McVeigh

Lectures Remarks on Drones at Fair Trial Initiative

Journal Articles The Lawyer and Faustian Bargains

Book Chapter A Sanctuary in the Jungle: Terry Lynn Nichols and His Oklahoma City Bombing Trial

Lectures Universal Rights & Wrongs: Roper v. Simmons, Torture and Judge Posner

Essays Lawyers and Death Cases

Book Review Federal Habeas Corpus Practice and Procedure

Essays Judges, Lawyers and the Penalty of Death

Book Review Federal Habeas Corpus