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Moussaoui punishment verdict
Posted by: McQ on Thursday, May 04, 2006

Don't forget this is the verdict in the punishment phase of the Moussaoui trial. He was already found guilty of the charges brought against him.
Al-Qaeda conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui will spend the rest of his life in a maximum security prison for his role in the Sept. 11 attacks after a federal jury rejected the government's four-year quest to secure his execution for the deadliest terrorist strike on U.S. soil.
This is being touted by some media outlets as a 'stinging rebuke' (as I heard it described on radio news yesterday) of the Federal government's desire.

Maybe I'm missing something but life in a super maximum security federal prison instead of death seems like more of a Pyrric victory for the defense than any "stinging rebuke" for the prosecution.

Why did it happen that way? Well my guess is the jury ended up believeing that if Moussoui was involved at all, it was only peripherally:
"The jury seemed to be saying that he is a bit player, someone at the periphery," said Bruce Hoffman, a terrorism expert at the Rand Corp. "It boils down to someone whose hands were not drenched in blood."
And, other than his word, there were no real deeds on which to pin his guilt:
Jurors carefully went over each question on a 42-page verdict form that gave only a few clues to their thoughts and reasoning. In the end, though, the form indicated that prosecutors could not surmount the main obstacle hanging over their case from the start: Moussaoui did not hijack anything Sept. 11, 2001, because he was sitting in jail.

The panel could not decide unanimously that Moussaoui caused the nearly 3,000 deaths, nor could it agree that he committed his crimes "in an especially heinous, cruel or depraved manner." Three jurors took it upon themselves to write that Moussaoui had "limited knowledge of the 9/11 attack plans."
In the end the jurors couldn't find unanimous ground on which to base a punishment of death. Moussaoui was already in jail on 9/11. Tough call, but in this case, probably the right call.

UPDATE: In my travels today, I've switched around among various right-wing talk shows and listened to their analysis. Almost to a show (and I switched between probably 6 different shows) they were concentrating on two things. One, the touchy-feely "mitigating factors" which most felt presaged the fall of America and two, that while we executed Timothy McVeigh we were too weak to do the same to Moussaoui.

Taking the second first, yes, we did execute Timothy McVeigh. But the proper analogy for this particular case isn't McVeigh, but instead Terry Nichols, who btw, will be in the same prison as Moussaoui:
Other inmates in that prison include Unabomber Theodore Kaczynski, Oklahoma City bombing co-conspirator Terry Nichols, and Olympic Park bomber Eric Rudolph, among others.
Addressing the mitigating factors which the right-wing talkers were concentrating on, I think they pale in comparison to the degree of culpability question. I would guess, and that's all it is, that the jurors found it hard to condemn a man to death who had no direct hand in the actual murders committed and who was in custody on the day they happened than any particular mitigating factor such as "racism" or a tough childhood.

Anyway, Moussoui now gets to spend the next 30 to 50 years in Hell's waitingroom: 23 hours a day in an underground cell with concrete furnishings and a 13" black and white TV which only shows programs on anger management, religion and parenting. The only thing that would be worse is 24 hours of Keith Olberman on MSNBC.
 
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AMERICA, YOU LOST!

Once again Alberto (our seemingly incompetent but PC AG) has his lunch eaten With Alberto’s abysmal lack of success in cases relating to the War on Terror you have to question my liberal President’s commitment . It seems more and more to have all been a disingenuous political flim flam; all be it a successful flim flam. Only batting is baseball is a success rate less than 500 considered good. In fielding a good rate is 999 and in the technical side of business (Accounting, IS…) you need 99999 or better to be a success. With Alberto’s string of losses the last 12 month he is just under 500.

My liberal President obviously put quotas ahead of the War on Terror. With the Dubai cases (plural as in more than one) it seems Bush does not even have the War on Terror in his to ten list of priorities! As the Scotch have been saying for over 1500 years ”actions speak louder than words”. Bush’s liberal actions the last 16 months are shouting over his conservative words of 24 months ago!

 
Written By: Rodney A Stanton
URL: http://
I see this as a win. Killing the guy just would have made him a martyr. Think off the wonderful stories that would run and all the countless appeals we would see over the years. Now he can go sit in a cell and pray. And the rest of us can get on with the job of dealing with terrorists who are not sitting in jail cells.
 
Written By: meagain
URL: http://
I’m actually happy that he got life in prison, as opposed to the death penalty. This way we won’t have to hear 20 years worth of media coverage over pointless appeals. He has been convicted, the threat from society has been removed, now we can all move on.

 
Written By: Rosensteel
URL: http://
I see this as a win. Killing the guy just would have made him a martyr. Think off the wonderful stories that would run and all the countless appeals we would see over the years. Now he can go sit in a cell and pray. And the rest of us can get on with the job of dealing with terrorists who are not sitting in jail cells.
He’ll still be a martyr alive in prison. And now there’s temptation to capture (and likely kill) Americans to use as trade bait to get Moussaoui out.
 
Written By: Steverino
URL: http://steverino.jounalspace.com/
I don’t believe in the Death Penalty. I’m glad he got life...

Rodney, I think you ought to get back on the medications. I believe you’re in the "Manic" Phase right now.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
I dont know Steverino. In al Qaida Moussaoui seems to be like that retarded kid you let on the team to be the bat boy and he’s all excited cause’s he’s really into it and has memorized everyones batting avg and stats, while the rest of the team just pats him on his head and sends him out to do easy little tasks.
 
Written By: Chris
URL: http://
He’ll still be a martyr alive in prison.
Not so sure about that one. What’s the story line? Where is the drama? He admitted to most of if not all the charges. The mean, evil, horrible, nasty, American judicial system once again railroaded an innocent man... oh wait, no it didn’t. Hmmm, and a NY jury said ’we can’t be comfortable with killing him.’ So, as I said, I think this becomes a non issue and ZM goes away.

Speaking of loonies on trial, what’s the latest with Saddam?
 
Written By: meagain
URL: http://
Is this a Rikki Lake show?

Moussaoui is a perfect study for tabloid treatment; the progressive’s proto-typical "terrorist," he is an abused, parentless orphan, brain-washed by a radical cult, who just needs to know he’s loved - and is about to find out.

Rikki has planned a secret rendezvous that’s sure to give our lacrimal ducts a good flushing. She has invited everyone who never gave a tin-can about the 20th hijacker, to show how just much they really care now.

Waiting with lips pursed in the green room are: the abused orphan’s loving Mother (who has sprung up like a mushroom after a rain), and the stooped French Charge d’Affaires, with an extradition request. "Son, you’re coming home."

Expect some catharsis as everyone realizes that Moussaoui’s conviction is really all "America’s fault." A 10-minute, wet, group-hug will surely follow.

Totally OT: Has anyone ever seen Kim Jong-Il’s mother? Does he even have one?
-Steve
 
Written By: Steve
URL: http://
For me this case teaches several truths about the US Justice system.

First, the Jury system works. This was a thoughtful jury that paid attention and tried to do its best under difficult circumstances.

Second, our open system of justice is as good as any other in the world, and clearly is something of which we all may be proud.

Third, it proves the rule for defense counsel that persistence and time spent shaping the special interrogatories to the jury pays off.

Whatever one says about the case, it shows that periferal involvement in terrorism in the US, even by a citizen subjects one to the possibility of the death penalty and, at minimum, life without possibility of parole.

The notion that this was the result of liberal policies by the administration is ludicrous. As someone who has prosecuted during wartime, I believe this was all in all a good job by the Justice Department.

 
Written By: jimrhoads (vnjagvet)
URL: http://www.yargb.blogspot.com
Jeez, I wish this were a "stinging rebuke" to the Bush administration, but it’s certainly not. I’m opposed to the death penalty on ethical grounds, so I’m not a particularly impartial judge as to whether or not it was appropriate under these circumstances. But to interpret this as being any sort of a statement against the feds strikes me as wishful thinking, at best.
 
Written By: Waldo Jaquith
URL: http://waldo.jaquith.org/
Having visted the super-max in Florence on a professional tour/visit, I can say that I would rather be killed then spend the rest of my life in one of those concrete holes. *shudder* That place is grim.
 
Written By: JamesT
URL: http://
Here’s a link the the juror form.

Interesting read. None of the jurors felt that executing Moussaoui would make him a martyr. And while the jurors couldn’t decide unanimously that his actions had caused the death of nearly 3000 people, they did decide unanimously that his actions caused "serious physical and emotional injuries, including maiming, disfigurement, and permanent disability, to numerous individuals who survied the offense". Not exactly consistent.


My point about martyrdom is that if Moussaoui would be a martyr to some people if put to death (even after admitting to most of the charges against him), he’d be a martyr to those same people sitting in a US prison. I’m not sure how you can argue that he’d be a martyr in one case but not in another.
 
Written By: Steverino
URL: http://steverino.jounalspace.com/
I’m not sure how you can argue that he’d be a martyr in one case but not in another.
Steverino - I see your point, but my angle was that if we killed him, the press would have a field day with it and he would become a recruiting poster for terrorists. I see that as possible with his prison sentence, though a little more problematic from his supporters. "Well yes, he was involved in killing the infidels. And they tried him for hit. Yes, yes, he admitted to knowing the plans and hiding the information. And for that he was put in prison!" Some fanatics will find reason in that to fight. IMHO though, many, many more would be swayed by the act of the US executing him.
 
Written By: meagain
URL: http://
Well, he won’t be a martyr in his own mind will he. He’s going to get a long opportunity to wait for his virgins. Now it’s not an instant rise to paradise, he has to be a good clean pure boy until he dies. Plenty of chances for sinful thought to wreck a record that would have been overlooked if only the wicked westerners had martyred him.

I somewhat thought at first that his fellow inmates would take care of the problem the jury did not. My current understanding is that the hole they’re going to park him in goes a long way to ensuring he enjoys a long, mercilessly boring, pointless life.

 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
This man wants to die as a martyr. How much money have we wasted trying to figure out why he should or should not? The cost of this process should have been under $10 — the price of a single hollow-point bullet. I’m sure finding someone to put a gun to his head and pull the trigger wouldn’t cost us anything — in fact, we could probably turn a profit on it. I bet there’s no shortage of people who would pay for the privilege.

When considering this man, I feel uncharacteristically liberal. Let’s help him fulfill his life-long dream. Let’s make him happy. We are in the unique position of being able to directly prescribe an end to his existence that will end the misery he’s feeling due to his sub-par quality of life. AND, at the same time it will make us feel good — we’ll get our requisite emotional satisfaction — AND doing it won’t actually solve anything. Such a perfect opportunity to apply leftist ideals doesn’t come along very often.

Have we no heart? Let’s help him fulfill his dreams.
 
Written By: Fyro
URL: http://
Steverino,
Your point(s) on martyrdom are logically compelling, HOWEVER, no one thinks that Nathan Hale would have been so much a hero if he hadn’t been hung? "I regret having only 5-10 to give for my country" has less ring than "I regret having only one LIFE to give for my country."
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
if Moussaoui would be a martyr to some people if put to death
You can’t really be a martyr if you aren’t dead.

Technically, anyways. Definitions change over time, and all that. I thought that, at least from the fundamentalist Islam point of view, that matrydom still require death for the cause. I guess I could be mistaken.



 
Written By: Rosensteel
URL: http://
He’ll still be a martyr alive in prison. And now there’s temptation to capture (and likely kill) Americans to use as trade bait to get Moussaoui out.
And of course, while we have no idea, terrorists might have also kidnapped and killed Americans in revenge for his execution.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
I personally believe that he should be fried. I would even prefer that he were drawn and quartered or burned at the stake. However, he will receive none of those punishments. He will be a ward of the tax payers until some time in the future when he shuffles off the coil.

However, ignoring my own personal feelings about this slime, I would make two observations.

1. Timothy McVeigh. He was executed for his terrorist act. What is the difference other than the defense here was able to play on the jury’s emotions by portraying Moussaoui as a traumatized person of color.
2. Is there a single criminal defense attorney in America who will not use in future capital murder trials, "my client only killed X people. If we won’t execute someone who was responsible for killing 3000 people, how can we execute my client."

This has effectively killed the death penalty in our country. And I believe that is a bad thing.
 
Written By: Spike72AFA
URL: http://
Why don’t we just ship him off to one of the many super secret CIA prisons in Europe. Kill him there and nobody would be the wiser. Just sayin’ ;)
 
Written By: markm
URL: http://
Timothy McVeigh. He was executed for his terrorist act.
Timothy McVeigh actually did the bombing. He was executed. Terry Nichols conspired with him. He’s in the same prison Moussaoui is heading too. Moussaoui is more like Nichols than McVeigh.
If we won’t execute someone who was responsible for killing 3000 people, how can we execute my client."
Probably because the jury found him no more responsible for the WTC deaths than they found Nichols responsible for the OKC deaths.

And then there is Eric Rudolph.

I have little doubt that had any of the hijackers survived their flights they’d have met the same fate as McVeigh.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Spike72AFA , the FUNDAMENTAL difference is that McVeigh’s actions DIRECTLY LED TO THE DEATH OF 168 PEOPLE. Moussaoui is accused of being a part of the conspiracy, but he killed no one. The government, as I understood it, had to prove that his INACTIONS were criminal, had he informed the government of the scope and nature of the plot 9-11 might have been PREVENTED. But Moussaoui directly harmed NO ONE and so the two cases and punishments are dissimilar, rightly so.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Moussaoui is more like Nichols than McVeigh.
Actually, he is more like Michael Fortier, who served about 10 years.

 
Written By: mkultra
URL: http://
Rosensteel:

If the Muslim world is free to redefine jihad as everything and anything but "the use of violence in support of religious objectives as laid out in the Quran," why would it not be possible to redefine martyr?
 
Written By: Lurking Observer
URL: http://
Joe,
I contend that Moussaoui’s inaction did lead to the deaths of all the people on 9/11. He was in custody and could have told the FBI about the conspiracy, but chose not to. The only reason why he didn not fly the fifth plane was because he was physically restrained from doing so. He did all that he could to kill Americans and the only reason he didn’t was that he locked up at the time. His intent was exactly the same as the others, and he could have stopped it. He deserves to fry.
 
Written By: Spike72AFA
URL: http://
Well Spike, I understand your point, however, legally-of course I’m NOT a lawyer so-you have a problem....HE DIDN’T KILL ANYONE. Murder is an ACT with an INTENT to kill. All we have is an INTENT. No act, no crime. He was a part of a criminal conspircy, yes he was, but was a murderer or its equivalent, looks like the jury’s answer was "No" at least as far as giving him Death.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
You can’t really be a martyr if you aren’t dead.

Technically, anyways. Definitions change over time, and all that. I thought that, at least from the fundamentalist Islam point of view, that matrydom still require death for the cause. I guess I could be mistaken.
He’d be a martyr in prison in the same sense that Nelson Mandella was a martyr while in prison: a symbol or rallying point for his cause. (No, I am not comparing Moussaoui to Mandella, just showing how someone could be a live and a martyr.)
And of course, while we have no idea, terrorists might have also kidnapped and killed Americans in revenge for his execution.
Sure, I’ll concede that point. I’m not sure there’d be as many, but there would certainly be some. If he were to be executed, eventually he wouldn’t be a news item, and passion for avenging his blood would wane. The same waning would be seen with him alive, but I think it’ll take longer to attenuate.
 
Written By: Steverino
URL: http://steverino.jounalspace.com/
Steverino,
Your point(s) on martyrdom are logically compelling, HOWEVER, no one thinks that Nathan Hale would have been so much a hero if he hadn’t been hung? "I regret having only 5-10 to give for my country" has less ring than "I regret having only one LIFE to give for my country."
I see your point, I don’t necessarily agree with it. (Hale never said what was attributed to him, though.) Nathan Hale wrongly locked up in a British prison would have been a rallying point for Colonials.
 
Written By: Steverino
URL: http://steverino.jounalspace.com/
Let Moussaoui die the straw death.
 
Written By: Pete Jensen
URL: http://

 
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