[I]n their effort to secure Moussaoui's execution, prosecutors were fighting the current of recent history: A federal jury in Alexandria has never voted for a sentence of death. ...Let's hope it is.
Federal juries nationwide have also strongly preferred life over death. Since 1991, juries have voted for death sentences 51 times, compared with 93 sentences of life in prison, according to the Federal Death Penalty Resource Counsel. Since 2000, amid publicity about the exoneration of some death row inmates by DNA and other evidence, federal juries have returned 69 life sentences, compared with 29 for death.
In the case most comparable to Moussaoui's, the 2001 trial of four al-Qaeda members accused of blowing up U.S. embassies in East Africa, a federal jury in New York chose life in prison instead of death for the two defendants eligible for death. Ten jurors wrote on the verdict form that executing one of the men would make him a martyr, and five said life in prison would be a greater punishment.
May 3, 2006
After thinking about it for 7 days, the jury rejects the death penalty.