Sherry Colb has an interesting column on FindLaw today about an odd ruling during the Terry Nichols case last week. As in most capital murder cases, the prosecution presented testimony from the families of those killed in the Oklahoma City bombing, what is commonly known as victim impact testimony. They typically get on the stand, recount for the judge or jury the loss they've experienced because of the death of a loved one, and ask that the perpetrator be executed. The oddity in the Nichols case is that his defense team wanted to introduce testimony from some victims' families urging the jury not execute Nichols. The trial judge did not allow it. Colb makes a good case for why if victim impact evidence in favor of death is admitted then testimony urging the opposite should be allowed as well. Even more to the point, for me at least, is Colb's suggesting that such evidence in general is irrelevant and should never be admitted.