A three-judge panel from the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver decided not to overturn a ruling by district court judge Richard Matsch upholding McVeigh’s execution date. The judges made their decision without hearing oral arguments.
McVeigh is scheduled to die by lethal injection on the morning of June 11.
“McVeigh has utterly failed to demonstrate substantial grounds upon which relief might be granted,” the court said.
McVeigh’s attorneys have not announced whether they will appeal today’s decision to the U.S. Supreme Court.
In his ruling yesterday, Matsch said newly released FBI documents cast no doubt on McVeigh’s guilt in the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah building that killed 168 people.
Lawyers for McVeigh said federal officials knew six months ago that documents had been withheld from the McVeigh trial, but had failed to do anything about it until six days before the original May 16 execution date.
They said information in those documents could have affected the penalty phase of the trial if they had been released.
Prosecutors argued the documents contained no information that would have swayed the jury’s opinion in the case, saying a delay in McVeigh’s execution would amount to a delay in the jury’s “reasoned, moral judgment.”
Previously unreleased documents from the Oklahoma City case, including notes and transcripts from interviews, were found at various FBI offices last month. Attorney General John Ashcroft delayed McVeigh’s execution to give defense attorneys time to review the documents.
In testimony before Congress, FBI Director Louis Freeh admitted that not turning over the documents promptly was a “serious error” on the agency’s part.
Ashcroft announced May 24 that all documents in the Oklahoma City case had been located and turned over to McVeigh’s defense team.