Moussaoui: Simply the right decision

Greg’s post on the Moussaoui verdict hits the point well enough that for me to say more is an embarrassingly transparent conceit; but then, what’s blogging for if not the celebration of conceit times infinity.  So here goes:

Speaking as a tavern owner who used to be a civil trial lawyer (someone, in other words, who has less expertise on federal criminal law than your average cab driver), the attempt to hold Moussaoui culpable in the Sept. 11 attacks always struck me as one hell of a stretch.  Not only was he sitting in a jail cell during the attacks on Sept. 11, there was also absolutely no evidence offered that he assisted in the perpetration of these awful crimes in any affirmative way.

Instead, the prosecution asserted the novel theory (accepted by the jury in the first phase of the trial) that Moussaoui was to blame in the Sept. 11 deaths because he lied to the FBI by failing to disclose his knowledge of the terrorists’ plans before the attacks occurred. 

But the more one looks at the case, the more it seems clear that Moussaoui wasn’t actually being accused even of overt lying, but rather of something more along the lines of a failure to voluntarily disclose information — information which could well have incriminated him.

This, of course, raises troubling Fifth Amendment issues, but even aside from the legal niceties, there was always something distasteful about the prosecution of this mentally deranged young fanatic, something that seemed cooked up and artificial.  The motivating factor in the prosecution often appeared to be more the government’s strong desire to execute someone, anyone, for the Sept. 11 crimes, as opposed to the actual facts of the case itself. 

Killing Moussaoui on this basis, while perhaps giving momentary satisfaction to some of the victim’s families, would have belittled the nation.

The jury did the right thing.

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2 Responses to “Moussaoui: Simply the right decision”

  1. Again Says:

    The jury did the right thing.

    and the best proof for this? Bush criticized the decision

  2. hizzhoner Says:

    I also agree that the jury did the right thing. I didn’t think of the 5th amendment implications but, then again, I am neither an attorney nor a tavern owner (grin).

    Although there were several issues during the trial that bothered me, the most disturbing was during the punishment phase of the trial when they forcedthe jury to listen to tapes and view pictures of the carnage of September 11. To my way of thinking the sole purpose was to evoke a thirst for revenge and to offer Moussaoui as payment in full for 9/11. Had that happened, in my mind the dishonesty of the prosecution would have been raised to criminal levels .

    Moussaoui is a nut case….an Al Queda wannabe of the worst kind. Prison is the safest place for him…and us.


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