Judge Might Toss Out Moussaoui Death Penalty Case

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Apparently a TSA lawyer was coaching witnesses. The best result for Moussaoui would be life in prison, not that famous "let go on a technicality" thing America's courts are so well-known for; it is only the death penalty part that might be affected.

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  1. …and this will be followed by a chorus of “We told you so” from the pro-Gitmo right.

  2. This whole justice thing, with the non-coaching of witnesses, etc., it seems so 1990 now, doesn’t it?

    “Doesn’t this judge know there’s a war going on?”… I can’t wait till that seems so 2005.

  3. I’d say life in prison is a lot better than making a martyr out of him.

  4. Ken: My favorite use of that little gem was by Idiot DeLay (or maybe it was Fristy Boy). Feingold introduced a bill that would censure Bush for the whole wiretapping fiasco. DeLay/Frist replied that it was dangerous to suggest such a thing, which would weaken our fragile nation during a time of war. JESUSfuckingCHRIST!

  5. As someone who practiced criminal defense in federal court for 14 years, I can say that judges tossing out criminal cases based on “technicalities” happens a whole lot more on TV than it does in real life. So, Brian, you may be right that the U.S. justice system is “famous” for it, but that’s mostly because of the understandable focus of entertainment and news media on the very rare and interesting cases. And it’s odd to see a libertarian grousing about “techniclaities.” Those would include your constitutional rights to protection against unreasonable searches, abusive interrogation, and the like.

  6. I’ve always heard it like this: when it happens to someone else, it’s a technicality. When it happens to you, it’s a vindication of your constitutional rights.

  7. In case anyone else misread it, I’d like to note I was attempting a bit of (apparently failed) wry humor with that remark about technicalities, trying to imply the very same points jbd is making.

  8. It really sucks that sarcasm doesn’t translate well on blogs and in emails. The first person to invent an accurate Internet sarcasmometer is going to be filthy rich indeed.

  9. Just in case anyone misread my comment about justice being “so 1990”, I was trying to emulate Doherty’s wry…

    …oh come on! …6 out of 7 people got it!

  10. The first person to invent an accurate Internet sarcasmometer is going to be filthy rich indeed.

    Better than that would be a way to note sarcasm in text. We’ve already got scare quotes. What should we bracket online sarcasm in (when scare quotes won’t do)? My vote goes to the tilda (~), as in: ~My, Reason Online, what a fine Blog you have here!~

  11. “It really sucks that sarcasm doesn’t translate well on blogs and in emails. The first person to invent an accurate Internet sarcasmometer is going to be filthy rich indeed.”

    Not as rich as the guy who invents a method for inflicting physical pain via the internet.

  12. Does this mean he’s going to have to lick jelly from out of….?

  13. methodman: that was one of the striking things I noticed about the internet and IMs and such when I got my first computer back in 1995. So much of our communication in person is non-verbal, involving tone of voice and facial expressions and body language. Yet our internet “conversations” are meant to mimic speech, not writing. Emails have the same rhythms as a phone message rather than a letter.

  14. I just hope that the judge gives him a furlough so he can attend the American Physical Society meeting in Baltimore this week. We traditionally let the paranoid crackpots give talks on their theories, just so that nobody can accuse us of stifling the open exchange of ideas. Moussaoui would fit right in among a certain element at the meeting.

    Believe it or not, there’s a REAL Libertarian giving a talk tomorrow. Some woman was handing out fliers advertising that she’ll be talking about the medicinal benefits of colloidal silver. Colloidal silver, you may recall, is what changed that LP candidate’s skin blue.

  15. The first person to invent an accurate Internet sarcasmometer is going to be filthy rich indeed.

    I’m confused — was that ironic or sarcastic?

  16. The judge said she had “never seen such an egregious violation of a rule on witnesses,” and prosecutor David Novak agreed that Martin’s actions were “horrendously wrong.”

    And yet bribing witnesses (AKA “plea bargaining”) has become commonplace and is A-OK.

  17. From what I get from the story, the stupid TSA lawyer was coaching her fellow employees so they wouldn’t look like idiots on the stand.

    Typical, bureaucratic ass-covering. It trumps everything else, including common sense. This twit lawyer should be permanently disbarred and sent to work a Burger King.

    But yeah, I agree with Brownie. Let this fucker rot in jail, and rob him of his glory. Instead of having his 70 virgins, he’s gonna get something else..

  18. From what I get from the story, the stupid TSA lawyer was coaching her fellow employees so they wouldn’t look like idiots on the stand.

    That is what you are supposed to think. The complete extent of what they were coached on remains secret, and probably includes documents (eg, tapes) that are not in the public domain.

  19. “That is what you are supposed to think. The complete extent of what they were coached on remains secret,”

    Yes, the judge’s reaction, stating that she had “never seen such an egregious violation,” suggests that the coaching was more extensive than what the media reports indicate.

  20. Since it is FAA people, it is difficult they would need to be prepared for cross examination and all. Shouldn’t it be really easy to testify that the planes crashed? If things are like they think they are, why would the FAA guys be vulnerable to hostile cross examination?

    I can see coaching the people who arrested Moussaoui and maybe could have raised more of an alarm. On the other hand, there would seem to be nothing an FAA person possibly say wrong now that the 9/11 Commission report has established exactly how the hi-jacking happened beyond all dispute. Certainly any FAA tapes would be surprise and trap free.

    Wouldn’t they?

  21. I don’t know. I’m as paranoid as the next blogger here, but oftimes the most obvious explanation is the correct one.

    I am quite familiar with how obsessive bureaucrats can get in covering their asses. Maybe this Martin broad got the screws put on her by higher-ups. But I still think it was to protect TSA’s image against the scrutiny of the defense. And this adds yet another item to the endless list of bureaucratic fuck-ups.

  22. Blank FOIA,
    check out the analysis over at http://www.TalkLeft.com
    Jeralyn seems to think it’s about covering the FAA’s ass in the civil trials related to 9/11.

  23. Hopefully we will see some nice HnR dispatches on those civil trials. Talk Left was a little bit sketchy about them, but they seem like a fascinating topic.

  24. If Moussaoui gets life, it probably won’t be long before he’s wishing he got the Death Penalty.

    Imagine what life will be like for a french-speaking, Arab Muslim in an American prison.

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