Breaking: Verdict reached in Moussaoui sentencing

posted at 4:07 pm on May 3, 2006 by Allahpundit

Announcement expected at 4:30 EST. Sentence will be imposed tomorrow at 10 a.m.

Update: Life in prison.

Update: The juror numbers on the various aggravating and mitigating circumstances will be posted on the court website within the hour. I’ll have the link when it goes up. Worth noting now that the life sentence was not unanimous, and also that none of the jurors considered the possible martyrdom effect of executing Moussaoui to be a mitigating factor in the sentence.

While we’re waiting for details, watch this.

Update: Instant reaction. Rusty is mortified, Stop the ACLU is relieved.

Update: Ace makes it two to one in favor of outrage and three to zero in favor of prison justice. Hot Air affiliate Expose the Left has video of the announcement.

Update: Even the professionals were blind-sided by this one.

Update: Meryl thinks they made the right call, as does Pieter Dorsman, who says Moussaoui has “residual asset value.”

Update: James Joyner: “Those who argue that the current system of capital punishment is arbitrary and capricious have much more ammunition now.” Still waiting for the answers to the juror questionnaire to be posted.

Update: Someone do me a favor and explain the “at least we denied him martyrdom” logic to me. Does that apply to Bin Laden too? If Moussaoui turns around tomorrow and says the worst thing we could do to him is supply him with lots of prostitutes, do we call the Mustang Ranch?

Update: TalkLeft sees good lawyering at work. Jay Reding gives a grudging thumbs-up because … at least we denied him martyrdom. Sigh.

Update: Ace follows up on his last post by wishing for — well, go read. Here’s a hint: it rhymes with “bang cape.”

Update: Here’s a fun quote via the New York Times for all the at-least-we-denied-him-martyrdom suckers:

“America, you lost!” Mr. Moussaoui shouted as he was led from the courtroom after the verdict was announced. His outbursts and rantings had become routine.

Update: Bill Quick wonders when the first round of hostages will be taken in the Middle East as ransom for Moussaoui’s release. Hey, come on, Bill — at least we denied him martyrdom.

Update: Roger L. Simon notes that Moussaoui carries a virulent, highly infectious disease, and hopes that he’ll be isolated for the sake of the rest of the prison population. And for our own.

Update: Charles Johnson doesn’t want to say he told you so, but he told you so. Tammy Bruce (who’s hanging out tonight with Wafa Sultan!) says throw the switch. And the Political Pit Bull has video of Rudy Giuliani trying to put on a happy face, despite his own feeling that Moussaoui deserved death.

Update: Bush responds to the verdict in his typical canned, hokey manner. And the Daily Telegraph has a selection of Moussaoui quotes. “I would like to fly in a professional like manners one of the big airliners.”

Update: Kim Priestap at Wizbang puts it succinctly: “Moussaoui dared the American people on that [jury] to kill him and they blinked.” True enough, Kim. But look on the bright side. No martyrdom!

Update: Newsmax reports on Giuliani’s comments on Hardball. Video link is above.

Update: Robert Spencer says let the jailhouse conversions begin!

Update: Here’s the PDF of the juror’s answers to the sentencing questionnaire. It’s from the District Court’s website. Haven’t had time to look at it yet, but I did read Beth’s post noting that Moussaoui is headed for Supermax. Follow the links.

Update: Evan Coyne Maloney echoes Charles Johnson in wondering why Moussaoui was in court to begin with, while Goldstein seems to think feeding, clothing, and entertaining this degenerate for the next 40 years is somehow a defeat for America. Don’t you get it, Jeff? We denied him martyrdom. We won!

Elsewhere, Misha’s being Misha. Content warning.

Update: Reading the juror answers now. Compare the responses to B and C at the bottom of page 2. Is the “emotional injuries” clause the difference?

More, from pages 6 and 7. I’m going to screencap this for the sake of the at-least-we-didn’t-martyr-him people:


More, from page 8. Only three jurors thought the defense proved Moussaoui’s involvement in 9/11 was “minor.”

Update: Finished reading the questionnaire. You know why he got life instead of death? In all likelihood, here’s why:


Those are the only two mitigating factors which a majority of jurors — not all, mind you, but a majority — agreed the defense had proved. The highest number for any other factor was five. The questionnaire didn’t ask them to weight the factors so we can’t know for sure how important each one was relative to the others, but in all probability the reason this guy will live instead of die is because … he had a rough childhood.

But hey. At least we didn’t martyr him.


Update: Further thoughts on the last update, but first this from WaPo:

Edward Adams, the court spokesman, announced the verdict outside the courthouse and said the 12 jurors “were not unanimous” in favor of a death sentence for Moussaoui, meaning that he automatically gets a life sentence without possibility of parole. He said the verdict does not indicate how many jurors voted for a death sentence and how many opted to keep the defendant in prison.

It only takes one holdout to force a life sentence, of course, and it should be noted re: the questionnaire that three jurors wrote in a mitigating factor of their own — namely, Moussaoui’s limited knowledge of the attack plans. Insofar as they felt strong enough about it to add it to the court’s list, we can probably safely assume that it carried a lot of weight for those who signed on to it. Which means my emphasis on the childhood factor might be misplaced, especially if the three write-in jurors were the only holdouts. Let’s see if anyone’s willing to talk to the press about deliberations and what the vote was. WaPo is pretty comfortable using anonymous sources from what I understand.

Update: Ace mentioned this in one of his earlier posts but I want to highlight it too. Don’t jurors in a capital case have to be “death-qualified” in voir dire? That is, they have to at least be open to the possibility of imposing death instead of life; if they object to capital punishment on principle, they’ll be disqualified. Or so I’ve always understood. What’s up, then, with the first mitigating factor, which also happens to be the one with five jurors signed on to it?


If (and that’s a big if) one of those five used this factor as the justification to impose life instead of death, then, er, isn’t that person in fact opposed to capital punishment on principle?

Update: Hot Air’s own Bryan Preston tries a common-law argument by noting, “He could have averted a war.”

Update: Over at the Counterterrorism Blog, Andrew Cochran is reading the jurors’ answers through the eyes of a jihadi. He concludes, “I am not a full-throated proponent of the death penalty, but Moussaoui should fry.”

Update: The Times’s editorial is out:

The jury in the trial of Zacarias Moussaoui has determined that he should spend his life in jail rather than be executed for his role in the Sept. 11 terror attacks. This seems like the best possible outcome. For all his bombast, Mr. Moussaoui had no direct role in the 9/11 attacks. And it is good to know that he will not achieve a fanatic’s martyrdom.

Update: Try to look surprised. And here’s more video from Hot Air affiliate Expose the Left; oddly, 9/11 relative Debra Burlingame finds no solace in the rousing moral victory we achieved by denying Moussaoui martyrdom.

Update: Peggy Noonan on the verdict. “What we witnessed here was not the higher compassion but a dizzy failure of nerve.”

Update: “If not now, then when?”

Update: I’m seeing people trumpet my “childhood” logic on their own blogs, so I want to repeat the clarification I made above: Because you only need one holdout to reduce the sentence from death to life, it actually doesn’t matter so much how many jurors found that a particular factor had been proved. What matters is which factor the holdout(s) felt most strongly about. And there’s no way of knowing that unless someone talks. If it turned out that the vote was 9-3 for life, that would suggest the childhood factor played a big part in the jury’s deliberations (since no other factor was endorsed by that many jurors). If it was 9-3 or 10-2 or 11-1 in favor of death, though, it becomes nearly impossible to tell what saved his life (since there were many factors that were endorsed by three or fewer jurors).

So, let’s hope someone leaks the vote count. YAY, LEAKS!

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I say give him life in prison. Don’t give him the chance to be a “martyr.”

Mark Jaquith on May 3, 2006 at 4:27 PM

What he wants one way or the other shouldn’t factor into this. He deserves to die.

ZRyan on May 3, 2006 at 4:32 PM

He got life in prison, not death. 3000 people murdered. And he lives.

ZRyan on May 3, 2006 at 4:37 PM

well, perhaps that’s what’s best for this guy.

Vincenzo on May 3, 2006 at 4:38 PM

I do believe Lady Liberty has just been betrayed by Lady Justice.

PattyAnn on May 3, 2006 at 4:39 PM

As a Catholic I’ve always been against the death penalty. That being said, I think we need to revisit what “life in prison” means. And by revisiting, I mean make the idea of “seclusion” a reality. Stuff him away in a tiny box for the rest of his years on this planet.

Vincenzo on May 3, 2006 at 4:41 PM

Believe me I am all for the death penalty. However, I believe that killing him would be waaay tooo easy. Let that scumbag rot and get the real masterminds to fry..

JVelez on May 3, 2006 at 4:45 PM

Vince, I like the idea of a “virtual death.” The guy is in prison, but we in society never hear from him again. No media interviews. Nothing. We don’t even know when he actually dies because he’s already virtually dead.

But we really should have put him to death. This is ridiculous.

ZRyan on May 3, 2006 at 4:47 PM

I would rather be dead than spend life in prison.

moc23 on May 3, 2006 at 4:49 PM

If this had been the trial of, say, a white racist murderer, the press would be full of explanations for why he got life instead of death. Am I just being grumpy? Am I completely off the mark? Is anyone else wondering why the news stories say nothing at all about why the jury didn’t give him the death penalty?

rightwingprof on May 3, 2006 at 4:58 PM

Of course, let’s pray we don’t elect a moonbat president sometime in the next 50 years – who actually pardons this goof. If you think it can’t happen, Jimmy Carter pardoned a woman who opened fire on Congress in the 50’s.

moc23 on May 3, 2006 at 4:59 PM

I’m not relieved really…I wish he could have gotten death. I’m just looking on the bright side, that he won’t be labled a martyr.

Jay on May 3, 2006 at 5:00 PM

Actually, I’ve come to an even cheaper and better solution to this problem. If the judge in this case would be so kind to just let him go free, with a 24 hour advance notice of where he would be let free, it would probably work out just fine as well.

Let the families of this tragedy deal with him on their terms, by letting him free in front of a crowd of them.

Vincenzo on May 3, 2006 at 5:00 PM

Allah, it was an injustice. We all wanted to see him fry. I think the martyrdom logic is something I’m holding onto to cushion my dissapointment. It most certainly doesn’t cushion justice. He deserved death. The only good thing about not making him a martyr is that we don’t make a hero or cause out of him for the sympathetic left.

Jay on May 3, 2006 at 5:24 PM

I’m satisfied that life in prison will be suitably unpleasant. Would love to see a creative punishment like American History classes taught by Pamela Rogers Turner for the rest of his days.

RushBaby on May 3, 2006 at 5:28 PM

About martydom…

There are 2670 humans that lost their lives in New York City thanks to Muossoui and his gang of sickening twisted terrorists. I only hope in the future we’ll disregard the feelings of other terrorists when deciding if mass-murderers get life or death.

2670. Remember that number.

Vincenzo on May 3, 2006 at 5:29 PM

If he is, as the defense promoted, schizophrenic or has most any other clinical mental disorder, life in prison without parole will be by far the greater punishment. However the same is true if he has no disorder. So the question for me comes down to:

1)Do we sentence him to the most horrible sentence imaginable, having to remain in a cell until he’s 98 or so?
2)Do we show him mercy and take him out with an execution in a month or two?

For me personally, that’s a very tough call. The cruel streak in me says give him life. My merciful side (if such a thing exists) says take him out. I’ll just have to defer to wiser minds.

JodyBlonde on May 3, 2006 at 5:33 PM

damn.damn.damn.damn.damn. I wanted him to fry with every ounce of my being.DAMN!

labwrs on May 3, 2006 at 5:35 PM

None of us should feel any comfort from this sentence.

We need to stop thinking like Westerners when interpreting how this will be received by the Islamofascist terrorists.

His terrorist allies will view this verdict as a sign that we are weak and afraid. We are too afraid of them to even place a death sentence on one of the jihadist faithful. (Something they would have no qualms about doing to us when roles are reversed.)

Yes killing him would make him a martyr, for a short time in their eyes.

But leaving him alive makes him more of a martyr for a long, long, long time, (in their eyes).

This verdict does nothing but add fuel to the fire of Jihadists disrespect and hatred of us.

Lawrence on May 3, 2006 at 5:36 PM

Who says he will stay alive in prison? Things have a way of taking care of themselves in there, as more than one pedophile and child killer has found out. They go to take a shower, and voila! they don’t come out…

Wait and see. This human refuse will never live out his sentence.

clyde on May 3, 2006 at 5:51 PM

Is gang rape technically “martyrdom”? I for one would rather die than get gang raped.

Mark V. on May 3, 2006 at 5:58 PM

This is not right, he directly contributes to the deaths of over 3000 people and he goes on living. Now we must feed him, house him and provide for lhis medical care. He nailed it . . . we lost.

rplat on May 3, 2006 at 5:59 PM

Too many libs on the jury…but, what else would you expect in New York. I am surprised they didn’t give him probation there.

gary on May 3, 2006 at 6:18 PM

The trial was in Virginia, Gary.

Allahpundit on May 3, 2006 at 6:29 PM

moc23, I agree that a future pardon by a future liberal President is highly probable.

The Islamofascist terrorists will see this verdict as a further sign of their already held view of our weakness.

Was this the OJ jury?

doingwhatican on May 3, 2006 at 6:32 PM

What punishment is it for a psychopath with no remorse to be imprisoned? Sure, he’s not free to walk around, but he won’t even think about what he’s done except to give himself pleasure. And as a federal prisoner, you know darn well that he’ll get halal meals, be able to demand segregation from non moslems, get private prayer areas and probably full and free access to an imam who can and would pass information back and forth to others who believe as he does.

You say “well, at least he avoids martyrdom.” No, he avoids going to hell until he dies. Which punishment is worse, living for up to fifty years before eternal punishment, or eternal punishment plus fifty years?

What this sentence shows is that we still don’t know to or want to respond to terrorism. We are seeing a Kerryesque law enforcement sentencing instead of a war sentence. Death is all that should be considered here. The jury rewarded him for his stupidity, lack of guts to carry out his intended assignment or his luck to have failed. We have shown we are not willing to destroy the enemy, but feed and clothe them no matter what their actions.

We haven’t lost, no matter his ravings. But we need to get serious about our prosecution of this war. It’s not a police action. Those who continue to aid the enemy by complaining about the treatment of battlefield captures and demand they be given Constitutional protections are every bit as dangerous to our country as the jihadi wielding a weapon in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere. The extremist leadership of the democrat party must never again have the reins of power until they reform. Kennedy, Kerry, Reid, Boxer, Feinstein, Clinton, Schumer, Murtha, Pelosi, Waters and others must never be policy makers. Our continued survival demands it.

ScottG on May 3, 2006 at 6:33 PM

Allah, I’ve got a little bit about ADX Florence for ya in the t/b.

bamapachyderm on May 3, 2006 at 6:41 PM

This makes me sick and angry. Terrorists win with this!

Wild Thing on May 3, 2006 at 7:25 PM

The terrorists have just accelerated their resolve to wreak havoc among us.

Having the wool pulled over our eyes.

doingwhatican on May 3, 2006 at 7:30 PM

The worst thing about this whole thing is that we don’t have the balls to have “And how would you like your 3 meals per day pork cooked?” be the only dietary question he is asked upon intake into Supermax.

malaking_baboy on May 3, 2006 at 7:45 PM

I think that he should be placed in the general prison population. With luck, he will be beaten up every day by the other inmates for the rest of his pathetic life.

When Moussaoui dies, may he be greeted by 72 old whores who all look like Yasser Arafat.


chsw on May 3, 2006 at 7:51 PM

Wrap him in bacon and fry him in the pan!

kathysaysso on May 3, 2006 at 7:59 PM

And yet, I wonder what the poor souls of 09/11 might think of the verdict.

doingwhatican on May 3, 2006 at 8:01 PM

Does the name “Jack Ruby” give anyone any ideas out there?

BrunoMitchell on May 3, 2006 at 8:08 PM

When does his Air America gig start? Or is it NPR?

JammieWearingFool on May 3, 2006 at 8:28 PM

I am absolutely appalled at the decision of the Jury. He should of been sentenced to death. I am convinced that a couple liberals just *had* to be in this jury, and with that being said, the verdict just goes to show you the true side liberals are on. It just doesn’t matter to them.

bradenmikael on May 3, 2006 at 8:30 PM

Like wildthing’s post above, I am also “sick and angry” but what’s really sad is, I’m not shocked.

RobertCSampson on May 3, 2006 at 8:53 PM

I’m tired of these vermin getting off because they “had a rough childhood”!! We all had a rough childhood!!

Look how many kids had buck-teeth, or bow-legs, or birth mark, or fat, or skinny, or ugly, or 4-eyes, and on and on. You don’t have to be black or minority. Everybody got mocked, punched, taunted, and teased as kids for years and years.

Get over it! He deserved to die! Only a liberal would give this scumbag life because they had a hard time as a child…

All liberals are jerks!! (my apologies to jerks).

Richard Davis on May 3, 2006 at 9:07 PM

The message to the terrorists is clear: American doesn’t have the balls to kill an admitted terrorist with responsibility in the murder of almost 3000 Americans.

Those 3000 Americans who burned in the fiery hell of 9/11 would be appalled that our justice system thought so little of them.

And ScottG, you are right. He will demand (and get) special meals and privileges. And Bill Quick is also right – It’s only a matter of time before hostages are taken in ransom for his release…

He knew all along he’d never be executed. That’s why he talked with such disdain for our justice system.

themediansib on May 3, 2006 at 9:10 PM

We lost. It is becoming a common refrain and it is only the beginning of the war. Radical Islam means to enslave or kill us all and I believe that their hardest strikes are ahead of us. While we pussyfoot around wondering if this or that is torture and whether we are causing too much collateral damage. We are not helping anyone by our timidity since the world is being misled into believing we can never get angry and that we are just as impotent as Bin Gone has been claiming.

The next attack will set that fantasy on its head at the cost of thousands, perhaps tens of thousands US citizens dead. Perfect. Many are blaiming the jurors for coming up with this assinine decision but perhaps their anger would better be directed at the Bush administration who chose to try him in court.

PierreLegrand on May 3, 2006 at 9:26 PM

With any luck at all, he’ll get Dahmer’ed

ae5x on May 3, 2006 at 9:29 PM

The *.pdf file with the juror answers is dead

Ropera on May 3, 2006 at 9:34 PM

In about three weeks, he will probably
not see another prisoner again for the rest of his life.
He will have extremely limited contact even to guards.
They just totally isolate the guy.
23 hours a day in a 7×12 foot cell, gray paint everywhere, he’ll exercise alone, only have TV for “religious privileges” they can keep books and magazines away from him.
He will go crazy! (we must keep the aclu away)
It is a horrible place, I would much rather die.
BUT, he should have gotten death and worried about that for 10 years while appeals failed. After that long no one would’ve remembered to “martyr” the Islamoterrorist prick.

I’m glad the jury at least said this guy is NOBODY, just a wretched kid with bad parents…no airplane this fool could’ve hijacked.
And Reid, the shoe bomber? These two couldn’t commandeer a big wheel.

from Colorado, shooter.

shooter on May 3, 2006 at 9:46 PM

Perhaps this despicable, unrepentant coward escaped the death penalty here on earth, but he won’t escape it in eternity.

Revelation 21:8 – But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death. (bold added)

Christinewjc on May 3, 2006 at 10:30 PM

if we had just fried him on pay-per-view we could have erased the national debt.


Fogpig on May 3, 2006 at 10:32 PM

.. and oh yeah, I’m catholic


Fogpig on May 3, 2006 at 10:34 PM

This isn’t your father’s Virginia. This is the Virginia that has packed itself with liberals imported from far afield and is now Maryland-lite. This is the Virginia that has elected two consecutive liberal Democrats as Governor. The latest one opposes the death penalty. So it is no wonder to me that this verdict came out as it did. Especially with Clinton appointed judge Leonie Brinkema doing everything within her power to assure that the death penalty was not realized. No suh, this ain’t your daddy’s Vuhginia. Not by a long shot.

pistolero on May 3, 2006 at 10:34 PM

But we must understand…….he had a difficult childhood.

What a weak civ Western civ has become. Wimps. Mitigating Schmitigating.

tiercel76 on May 3, 2006 at 10:38 PM

Oh yeah…. His Dad Yelled at him as a kid…

tiercel76 on May 3, 2006 at 10:41 PM

The limited knowledge of the attack plans would seem to be a near-irrelevant point given how unequivocally supportive of the attack, and jihad in general, Moussaoui has been ever since. Any jurors using that as a reason to spare him must have been looking for any excuse.

Between that and the rough childhood, and the low marks for “didn’t-want-to-martyr-him” answers, it’s pretty clear:

We are going to lose.

Alex K on May 3, 2006 at 11:16 PM

I was torn from the git go on this barbarian. Strap him in “ole sparky” and it would be all barbarian, all the time on Al-Jazeera as the death watch approached. If it’s on Al-Jazeera you know it would be wall to wall ABCNBCCBSCNNFOXMSNBC-LMNOP as they “monitored the arab-street”. That coverage might actually bump the latest debutante that missed curfew!

If you put him in for life, we don’t get the satisfaction of knowing he’s met his “72 virgins” and is now wondering, “What’s with all the scales and horns darlin’?”

Shooter is dead on tho. Supermax isn’t going to be a fun place for Ole Moose. Unfortunately there will be no Dahmer reprise either. As far as Ole Moose is concerned he’ll be the only one there except for the guard(hopefully a woman but it won’t happen) that escorts him to his playpen for 1hr a day.

Bottom line: this is the best possible outcome considering the trial location and the initial mistake of allowing this waste of flesh access to our AMERICAN Constitution. It’s not the WORLD’S Constitution folks. The rights expressed in there are OURS and definately not for the barbarians…or the illegal was it Katie told me to say…oh yeah “undocumented workers”…yeah that’s it.

Pilgrim on May 3, 2006 at 11:55 PM

This just goes to show you that the best way to fight terrorism is militarily and not with the justice system (think John Kerry). With the justice system all you get is liberal backpeddling excuses: “We didn’t want to make him a martyr.” “He wasn’t the top guy.” Excuses! Excuses! The only reason liberals haven’t surrendered to the terrorists is because they don’t know who to surrender to….yet.

Support our troops! Support the war!

budugirl on May 3, 2006 at 11:57 PM

I really don’t like the death penalty.
But in this case, he should have been put to death.
He has no value in this world..

Tom N on May 4, 2006 at 12:12 AM

I was in favor of the jury recommending the death sentence and, in fact, the judge may just over rule them. However, in this case, I am starting to understand why life in prison would be more hellish than anything else this cretin could have been sentenced to. That said…I hope each time we capture one of these terrorists, we put a bullet in his head and end the eventual misery a trial will bring us. We should have done that with Saddam and any of his terrorist pals. Sometimes our just laws are silly..just plain silly.

Sandys Beach on May 4, 2006 at 12:39 AM

Since the Left is so into finding root causes to things, we can squarely place the root cause of this verdict on 40 years of the Left’s control of the press, academia and government. I fear the day a Dim gets elected President, and even more fear the Dims taking back control of Congress.

geekrunner on May 4, 2006 at 12:40 AM

I believe the death penalty should be abolished, in keeping with the true tenets of the pro-life movement. Let him sit in jail for life, contemplate his life, actions and motives. In cases of capital punishment we are not in a position to justly execute anyone. For those who lust for Moussaoui’s execution, what do we lose by not executing him?

Tom Shakely on May 4, 2006 at 12:42 AM

I find it interesting that Kos has no posting on the verdit while the DUers are perfectly giddy claiming that all of us “freepers are spittin’ mad” that Moussaoui didn’t get a sentence of death.

I’m past questioning their patriotism. Now I’m questioning their right to breath.

The Ugly American on May 4, 2006 at 12:43 AM

Zacarias, huh? Glad to meet you Zacki. My name’s Tiny. You’re sure purty.
(I can dream, can’t I?)

bdfaith on May 4, 2006 at 12:51 AM

I’m with Ace on the “bang cape” wish for Moussaoui. Also, here’s hoping his roommate belongs to a certain prison “brotherhood.”

violet on May 4, 2006 at 1:29 AM

Beyond the fact that a death sentence would, indeed, elevate this scumbag to martyrdom, thus giving him continued reach and “power” beyond the grave, there’s another point: it’s a far too easy way out.

Let him rot in jail like a caged animal, as such is far great punishment of mind and body, all the while knowing his future will not include a dozen virgins. Rather, if he’s real lucky, he’ll fight to stay one himself.

California Conservative on May 4, 2006 at 1:36 AM