Sanity in the World?

Into all lives, a little Sanity must fall.

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Sunday, May 14, 2006

Moussaoui's Life Spared by One Obstinant Juror

Lone juror saved Moussaoui from death: report

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Zacarias Moussaoui was saved from a death sentence by a single juror who never explained his vote to other members of the jury that sent the September 11 conspirator to prison for life, The Washington Post reported on Friday.

The foreman of the 12-person federal jury told the newspaper that the panel voted 11-1, 10-2 and 10-2 in favor of the death penalty on the three charges for which Moussaoui was eligible for execution.

A unanimous vote on any one of the three terrorism charges was required to return a death sentence.

Moussaoui, 37, a French citizen of Moroccan descent, was sentenced on May 4 to spend the rest of his life in prison for his part in the hijacking plot that killed nearly 3,000 people.

The foreman, a Virginia math teacher who contacted the newspaper and spoke on condition of anonymity, said she voted for the death penalty because the government proved its case, the Post reported.

"I felt frustrated," the foreman said, "because I felt that many of us had been cheated by the anonymity of the 'no' voter. We will never know their reason. We will never be able to hold their reason up to the light and the scrutiny of evidence, fact, and law," she said.

She told The Washington Post that deliberations nearly broke down on the third day because of frustrations over repeated 11-1 votes on one charge while no one voiced objections during discussions.

April 26 "was a very intense day," she said. "But there was no yelling. It was as if a heavy cloud of doom had fallen over the deliberation room, and many of us realized that all our beliefs and our conclusions were being vetoed by one person."

Another juror, who spoke to newspaper after the verdict, said he voted for a life sentence because he believed that Moussaoui was a minor figure in the September 11 plot, but he did not reveal how the jury voted.

The foreman said most of the jurors did not give much weight to Moussaoui's testimony and thought some of his actions, including volunteering to testify for the prosecution, were "bizarre."

But she told the newspaper they did not believe the defense argument that Moussaoui was mentally ill.

"I think most of us found Moussaoui to be intelligent, smart, crafty and a great manipulator. Those were the comments that were frequently thrown around the table," she said.


Charles Krauthammer has an excellent Op-Ed Article about Sparing Moussaoui for the Wrong Reasons.

While he does not support the Death Penalty, and believes this did not warrant the death penalty in this case, he also believes cases like this are held in the wrong venue, and makes an excellent point in:

But that appears not to be why the jury spared him. Instead, fully nine of 12 jurors found mitigation in his "unstable early childhood and dysfunctional family," lack of "structure and emotional and financial support" and "hostile relationship with his mother." Plus the father with the "violent temper."

The jury foreman tells The Post that only two of the jurors voted against the death penalty. Nonetheless, these childhood deprivations were cited more than any others as mitigating factors. What a trivial consideration. So Moussaoui had a tough childhood. I'm sure Pol Pot's was no bed of roses either. Who gives a damn? On those grounds, there is not a killer in history who cannot escape judgment. What next? The Twinkie defense -- the junk food made me do it -- for Khalid Sheik Mohammed?

The Moussaoui verdict came out right, but the process was atrocious. The jury's list of mitigating factors was risible. And the entire process was farcical, a 4 1/2 -year charade manipulated by a self-declared terrorist gratuitously given a world platform by those he was working to destroy. We need no more lessons in the obvious: Civilian court -- with civilian procedures, civilian juries and civilian sensibilities -- is not the place for those who make war upon us.

Others blogging on this issue:
Sweetness & Light, A blog for all, My Vast Right Wing Conspiracy, Urbangrounds