Source: (2008) Hafstra Law Review. 36(3):1019-1033.

A handful of lawyers, investigators, and mitigation specialists in the capital defense community have for many years reached out to the survivors in their cases. Most, however, have not. Within the past ten years, that has begun to change. Beginning with the defense of Timothy McVeigh in the Oklahoma City bombing case,4 the capital defense community has begun to develop a systematic practice of reaching out to the survivors in capital cases. Rooted in traditional notions of restorative justice and conflict transformation, defense-initiated victim outreach (“DIVO”)5 as a method of engaging in dialogue with surviving family members has grown and continues to evolve. One of the primary lessons learned during this evolution has been that the interests of the defense team and the interests of the victims are far from being mutually exclusive. In fact, once dialogue begins, it is hard to believe that this natural flow of human interaction was previously untapped. Victims have questions only the offender can answer. Victims want to be heard not only by the community at large, but specifically by the offender and his or her representatives. The offender is the one the victims want to tell about their pain. Victims need to be heard, and they need to be heard by the offenders and by the capital defense community. (excerpt)

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