writing rengeek magpie mind

December 2014

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writing rengeek magpie mind

Am I the only one who finds a certain black, farcical irony in that whether Zacharias Moussaoui will face the death penalty or life in prison rests not on his own actions, but on whether the FBI was too incompetent to do anything about it?

Also, nice to know the new government in Afghanistan is holding up those high standards of human rights and freedoms.

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Comments

I find the question of whether he'll face the death penalty or life in prison a fairly convincing argument that the US federal judicial system has several very severe faults ...

1. He's clearly guilty of conspiracy, but the fact remains, he didn't kill anyone. That being the case, it is in the interests of any sane legal system to view it as a mitigating circumstance (in order to give other potential future conspirators an incentive to not pursue their plans to completion: if you can be executed for conspiracy as well as for carrying out the plans, there's no room for deterrence).

2. He may very well also be insane. Certainly his behaviour is suggestive of some serious problems.

3. The obvious witness nobbling should be enough to declare a mistrial. It also gives rise to questions as to whether there was prior interference in the earlier trial.

And that's just for starters ...
Oh heck yeah. Also, heck yeah.

It also gives rise to questions as to whether there was prior interference in the earlier trial.

FWIW, Moussaoui voluntarily pled guilty -- the earlier trial didn't come to a jury verdict.
On point 1, I'm afraid that conspirators end up on death row all the time -- the driver in a bank robbery gone wrong, never having seen the fatal weapon, still often gets the death penalty. It doesn't make any sense to me either, except as a threat tactic to get one guy to roll over on his mates.

On point 2, I'd personally opine that Moussaoui is as dumb as a box of hair.

On point 3, "nobbling" is the awesomest word ever, and we Americans must incorporate it into our vocabularies immediately.
On point 1, Dahlia Lithwick (one of my favorite Supreme Court reporters) recently explained the legal theory of causality prosecutors are trying to use.

On point 2, I get the feeling that Moussaoui is less trying to act stupid than trying to make a point about the U.S. legal system. He doesn't care whether he lives or dies, but is more interested in pointing up what a sham the whole thing is. Something like (what I remember learning about) the Chicago Seven trial