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Coddling the Unabomber

Dublin Core


Coddling the Unabomber


Death row
Kaczynski, Theodore John


Vermont Law Professor Michael Mello advocates for the privacy of Ted Kaczynski, more commonly known as: The Unabomber.


The Herald


"Coddling the Unabomber." The Herald, December 11, 1997.


HIST 298, University of Mary Washington




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300 DPI




Randolph, VT

Text Item Type Metadata


The Herald - Under the American justice system, even the most unpopular criminal suspect deserves an advocate besides his mother.
Still, it’s hard to sympathize with the campaign of a Vermont Law School professor to coddle the Unabomber by forbidding the jury a chance to look at his explicit diaries.
VLS professor Michael Mello has made a bit of a name for himself in death penalty cases, having guided about 70 death-row prisoners in Florida through last-minute maneuvering designed to save their lives.
Now Mello has involved himself in the defense of Ted Kaczynski, who allegedly spread a swath of death and destruction-by-mail for decades, signing his messages with the “Unabomber” tag.
An important part of the prosecution’s evidence is said to be a series of journals in which Kaczynski describes as many as 16 crimes in detail. The journals were confiscated from the cabin in which Kaczynski was living the life of a recluse when arrested.
Prof. Mello does not think that the journals should be admitted in evidence. In support of that position, he offers that he, too, keeps a diary, which he considers “an extension of my own mind and my own soul and my own heart,” he told the Free Press.
It sounds so nice and warm and fuzzy. But in the Unabomber’s case, the mind, soul, and heart were crazily warped and extremely dangerous to society. If he was careless enough to write it all up in journals, and leave them lying around, then so much the worse for him.
Mello thinks that admitting diaries into evidence is akin to requiring Kaczinski to testify against himself, which is forbidden by the Fifth Amendment. But that important amendment was written so that the police could not torture “confessions” out of suspects. It wasn’t intended to tenderly protect the minds, souls and hearts of mass murderers.
Sticking up for the Unabomber in this case is more likely to foster cynicism about defendants’ rights than it is to advance them.

Original Format


Contributor of the Digital Item

Garner, Neonya

Student Editor of the Digital Item

Van Doren, Jamie


Coddling the Unabomber


The Herald, “Coddling the Unabomber,” HIST298, accessed December 5, 2023, http://hist298.umwhistory.org/items/show/289.