Single Juror Kept Moussaoui from being Executed

The point that upset me the most is not that there was just a single juror that stop Moussaoui from being executed, but that this single juror never had to provide any reason. It makes the decision come across as one that the juror didn't even feel could be defended.

A single holdout kept the jury from handing a death sentence to Zacarias Moussaoui, the only person charged in this country in the 9/11 attacks.

But that juror never explained his vote, said the foreman of the jury that sentenced the confessed Al Qaeda conspirator to life in prison last week. . . .

UPDATE: Just a reminder, that Moussaoui told us "you lose" when he was given life imprisonment instead of the death penalty. Here is an op-ed by Mark Steyn to remind everyone:

"America, you lose," said Zacarias Moussaoui as he was led away from the court last week.

Hard to disagree. Not just because he'll be living a long life at taxpayers' expense. He'd have had a good stretch of that even if he'd been "sentenced to death," which in America means you now spend more years sitting on Death Row exhausting your appeals than the average "life" sentence in Europe. America "lost" for a more basic reason: turning a war into a court case and upgrading the enemy to a defendant ensures you pretty much lose however it turns out. And the notion, peddled by some sappy member of the ghastly 9/11 Commission on one of the cable yakfests last week, that jihadists around the world are marveling at the fairness of the U.S. justice system, is preposterous. The leisurely legal process Moussaoui enjoyed lasted longer than America's participation in the Second World War. Around the world, everybody's enjoying a grand old laugh at the U.S. justice system.

Except for Saddam Hussein, who must be regretting he fell into the hands of the Iraqi justice system. Nine out of 12 U.S. jurors agreed that the "emotional abuse" Moussaoui suffered as a child should be a mitigating factor. Saddam could claim the same but his jury isn't operating to the legal principles of the Oprahfonic Code. However, if we ever catch Mullah Omar or the elderly Adolf Hitler or pretty much anyone else we're at war with, they can all cite the same list of general grievances as Moussaoui.

He did, in that sense, hit the jackpot. We think of him as an "Islamic terrorist," an Arab, but he is, in fact, a product of the Western world: raised in France, radicalized in Britain, and now enjoying a long vacation in America. The taxpayers of the United Kingdom subsidized his jihad training while he was on welfare in London. Now the taxpayers of the United States will get to chip in, too.

On the afternoon of Sept. 11, as the Pentagon still burned, Donald Rumsfeld told the president, "This is not a criminal action. This is war." . . . .


Blogger Robert T said...

Personally I think life is a worse punishment than death. I can't think of anything worse than sitting in a small cell being bored for the rest of my life. Remember, the Bible says in the book of Ecclesiastes there is no consciousness in death. One can't even praise or curse God. I think death is an escape from earthly punishment - so lock him up for the rest of his life (preferably after publicly sacrificing a pig in his cell and pouring the blood and entrails all over him! That sure would make some of these terrorist think twice before coming to America with their violence.)

5/12/2006 9:24 AM  
Blogger John Lott said...

If that were the case, why do so many criminals fight so hard against facing the death penalty? Why did Moussaoui say "you lose" when he was not given the death sentence?

5/12/2006 9:35 AM  
Anonymous val said...

Given the tone of most of Mousaoui's comments during the trial, I think he would have made the "you lose" comment (or something similar) no matter what the verdict. He probably would have rejoiced at getting to be a martyr. I don't think you can take what he says as proof of anything other than that he's either messed up in the head or trying to mess with our heads (probably a little of both).

5/12/2006 12:10 PM  
Blogger John Lott said...

Could be just random comments and that he would have said this no matter what happened, though the interpretation by media coverage as well as what seems to make the most sense here are the same. But there is stil the first question that I raised as well as the empirical evidence that I have found that the death penalty deters murders.

5/12/2006 12:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Up to and prior to the first shot being fired, and probably after, Americans residing in the north moved to the south and took up sides with the Confederate army, and the opposite probably occurred with a few living in the south. The North lost some good generals that took up arms with the South.

"you lose" : My opinion is he knew many wanted him dead. I doubt a terrorist (an Arab patriot) fears death. Especially one that (according to the Press) intended to be a part of a plan to fly aircraft into a building.

I would say the death penalty is a deterent to me. But when it's used or applied to those who kill police or other government employees it begins to become a form of punishment that is too severe. It creates a class society that offers benefits to one group at the detriment of another. And it adds to the problem of government bullying the people - it nurtures democracy, fascism, dictatorship and moral and political corruption by politicians and citizens. With threat of a death penalty government's agents can commit crimes against the citizens - combine that with a law that gives immunity to government agents for their mistakes (that severely harm citizens)and individual Americans employed by the government can have their way with their enemies (us).


5/12/2006 2:28 PM  
Blogger Juror said...

The jury did, indeed, use anonymous voting. That was a group decision. We had many votes over the 7 days. First, there were aggravating factors to consider. Then, came the mitigating factors. Finally, we weighed the aggravating vs. the mitigating to decide for or against the death penalty. For each of our votes, we discussed the issues and then passed a cup around the table and each threw in our vote. So, in effect, no one "explained" his or her individual vote.

There were, however, some dissenting views voiced. In fact the foreperson is quoted as saying, "most of the arguments we heard around the table were" in favor of the death penalty. She didn't say "all of the arguments". In other words, there were some, but not many, dissenting views. It was up to each juror which views to embrace.

5/13/2006 7:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've always felt that Moussaoui should die. I don't care what he wants, or what we think he wants, or whether his life in the supermax prison is worse than death.

My concern is what can happen so long as he is alive. My concern is that others will stage terrorist attacks in an effort to free him.

I would not be surprised to see an attack and hostage situation at a school, as happened in Beslan (2004) or Ma'alot (1974). It could happen in the US, or it could happen in another country (the latter giving the terrorists the additional wedge of international diplomatic pressure against the US).

In such a situation, and with the media full of images of endangered children and distraught parents, international leaders begging the US to let Moussaoui go, and impending deadlines...would we keep Moussaoui? Or would we let him walk?

I suspect when this happens, we'll let him walk.

5/14/2006 7:39 AM  

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