April 3, 2006

Moussaoui eligible for the death penalty.

The NYT reports:
In concluding unanimously today that the defendant lied to federal agents after his arrest in August 2001, that he did so contemplating that human life would be taken, and that at least one victim of the Sept. 11 attacks died as a direct result of his deception, the jurors said death should at least be considered as the appropriate punishment.

The jury of nine men and three women now move into the next phase of the sentencing trial, in which they will decide whether he should actually be executed...
In this next phase, there will be testimony from those whose relatives died on in the attacks.

9 comments:

JimNtexas said...

Why was the jury making this decision, rather than the judge?

Isn't it a finding of law rather than fact?

Ann Althouse said...

There is a right to a jury trial with respect to facts that increase the level of punishment.

cokaygne said...

This is another one of those tough cases for people like me who are against the death penalty. Clearly, this guy is someone whose life is not worth living. However, what he and his colleagues wanted was martyrdom. Executing Moussaoui will give them what they wanted. For sure the death penalty will not deter suicide bombers. Sparing him might just wake up some people in the Muslim world about the true nature of civilization.

Eli Blake said...

I've always wondered about something myself:

Why is it that given that some people (including Moussaoui, who wants to be a martyr for Islam-- my only response being a simple prayer: may one of the 72 houris be Lorena Bobbitt) want to die for their crimes, our system is not set up to consider it.

The defense is obligated to argue against the death penalty in these situations, on the assumption that the convicted murderer wants to live, and as such death is a terrible punishment to be feared. Usually, that is true. But not always-- and we've seen other examples of prisoners who have wanted to die, whether for religious/political reasons like Moussaoui or because they feared a lifetime of captivity more than death. So isn't a system in which the 'prosecution' is arguing for what the defendant wants and the 'defense' is arguing against it, just a bit fractured?

Now, in most cases it is probably true that the defendant wants to live, but in a case like this it seems to me to be a bit ridiculous the way we have things set up (and Moussaoui's outburst on the final day in which he made the prosecution's case for them after they had largely bungled it, does, IMO, prove he is not only completely sane but manipulating the system to get what he wants.) I mean, given his religious beliefs, why do we want to make the rest of his days, however many there are, pleasant with thoughts of the 72 virgins?

Back before the Oregon law was passed but after Dr. Kevorkian went to prison I read a pretty thoughtful post by an advocate of assisted suicide who wrote that 'Lethal injection is still available in America. All you have to do is go to Texas and kill somebody.'

jeff said...

You know, I think they ought to sentence him now to life in solitary confinement.

Tell him that what he did was worthy of death - but he's not even worth the hassle of killing.

Joan said...

I think the very fact that Moussaoui wants to be executed should take the death penalty off the table. I know it's expensive to keep someone imprisoned for life, but locking up Moussaoui and throwing away the key would send the very best message to all the would-be jihadists: screw with us and we'll delay your glorious martyrdom for as long as possible.

Does he deserve to die? Sure. But we can wait.

Thorley Winston said...

Why is it that given that some people (including Moussaoui, who wants to be a martyr for Islam-- my only response being a simple prayer: may one of the 72 houris be Lorena Bobbitt) want to die for their crimes, our system is not set up to consider it.

Consider it? Hell, I say that our system should do its best to accommodate as many of them as possible.

Thorley Winston said...

I think the very fact that Moussaoui wants to be executed should take the death penalty off the table.

You do realize then that if this were to ever be the standard that every criminal facing a capital sentence would then do their best to claim that they “want[] to be executed.”

Personally I think the fact that this piece of garbage was taken alive (see Hussein, Saddam) rather than deciding to go down by fighting to the death to take a few of us with him suggests that his desire for martyrdom has either waned considerably or perhaps was a pretext.

LoafingOaf said...

I think the very fact that Moussaoui wants to be executed should take the death penalty off the table.

Thorley makes the reply I was about to make. I'm also wondering why you guys assume he wants to be executed. I haven't followed things so closely so perhaps I missed a quote?

All I know is this from the morning papers (from he Scotsman): Moussaoui, 37...prayed silently as the verdict was read and refused to stand. Afterwards, he said: "You'll never get my blood, God curse you all."

While he may have enjoyed going down in a blaze of "glory" with as many infidels as he could take out in dramatic fashion with him, it doesn't sound like he wants to be snuffed while in chains in the manner we might choose to do it.

And does he actually have to be executed to be a martyr? Isn't he already considered a martyr in Islamist circles?

And how would those of you against executing mass-murderous terrorists feel about Usama bin Laden being executed? Is Usama too big a terrorist for you to make this "don't make him a martyr" exception? But a smaller-fry terrorist you'll spare?

Also, while a lot of these terrorists obviously do wanna die in their suicide missions, what about those rumors that half the 9/11 terrorists didn't actually know they were on a suicide mission? And what about that suicide bomber case I vaguelly recall (In Israel I believe) where the bomber was foiled and then told how he was persuaded by his recruiters but he really doesn't wanna die?