Breaking: Verdict reached in Moussaoui sentencing

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!