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May 12, 2006

Dealing With Moussaoui Stupidities

...as provided by liberal idiot commenters.

First, something that seems to escape most of you. The jury is a finder of fact; the judge is the finder of law.

Many liberal trolls claim that we "can't" execute someone who didn't actively participate in murder. That is simply not true. While there is a general rule that someone actually has to actively participate in murder to get the death penalty, it is not a categorical rule.

In any event, Moussaoui did in fact "actively participate" in the murders of 2800 people; in case you didn't notice, he pleaded "guilty" to conspiracy to commit the murders of 11 September 2001, and conspiring is active participation.

The judge determined that, if found guilty of the crime, Moussaoui could be eligible for the death penalty. Not automatically, of course; the jury would have to find for death unanimously and the judge would have to allow that verdict to stand. But, as a matter of law, the case was certified as a death-eligible case.

That's the law. The law says that someone who conspires to commit terrorism and who aids and abets in the murder of anyone as part of that conspiracy is eligible for the death penalty. The judge here -- resistant, I believe, to imposing the capital penalty -- nevertheless found that, as a matter of law, he was eligible for it.

At that point, it turns to the finder of fact -- the jury -- to determine if the facts are such as to earn him a trip to the death chamber.

But note that the jury must make this decision on the facts. That's why juries in in death-penalty cases are "death qualified." They cannot object to the law against the death penalty generally, or else they are to be barred from the jury. That's because they sit as a jury as finder of facts, not finders of law. A juror who believes the law shouldn't allow the death penalty at all, or that it shouldn't allow the death penalty in a particular case -- even though the death penalty is the law of the land, and a judge has found that law does, in fact, allow the penalty in a particular case -- is not judging a case on the facts, but on the law. Or, rather, not on the law, but what the juror imagines the law should be.

Someone who categorically thinks the law should be such that Moussaoui should not be eligible for the death penalty is substituting his legal judgment for the judge's (and also for the broad American public that has democratically instituted the penalty and the laws regarding it).

Which is not permitted. A juror can find that the facts do not support the death penalty, but not that the law does not, or worse yet, should not support the death penalty. If that's permitted, then a juror is allowed to effectively veto the legal decisions of a judge, and the American democratic process generally.

A juror who doesn't like the death penalty or the specifics of when it is permitted has the same recourse the rest of us do to change the law-- to vote, to advocate, to agitate, etc. He does not gain extra-legal, extra-political powers simply because he has been empanelled on a death-penalty jury. He can vote against a judgment of death only based upon the facts.

The lone holdout (and there was only one holdout on all three counts; two jurors voted against the penalty on two counts, but not on the third) does not seem to have done so based upon the facts.

This is an inference, not conclusive proof, but the simple evidence that he refused outright to discuss the facts with his fellow jurors suggest that his decision was not based on facts. He hid his reasons for voting against the death penalty, and a reasonable inference is that he hid his reasons because he knew they were impermissible.

His reason was either that he just opposes the death penalty on principle -- an impermissible "finding of law" by a juror only empowered to find facts.

Or that he didn't think the death penalty should be possible here because he doesn't think the law should allow it for anyone except those directly invovled in murder -- again, an impermissible "finding of law" by the juror, as the defense and prosecution had made their arguments on this point, and the judge, the actual finder of law, had determined he could be eligible for it.

Or that he was simply a coward, and he didn't want Al Qaeda coming after him should Moussaoui be put to death. This is an understandable reason, but it is still impermissible.

One juror, in fact, expressed fears about security and ramifications, but Brinkema wouldn't let her off.

If the juror had a permissible, legally-acceptable reason for voting against the death penalty -- one based on actual facts -- he sure didn't share it with anyone.

And that is misbehavior in itself. A juror is supposed to deliberate, supposed to argue, supposed to attempt to change the minds of the other jurors-- and, importantly, allow other jurors to attempt to change his mind.

But this juror, by keeping silent, and secret, denied the other jurors that opportunity. Again-- even assuming a permissible reason for voting against the death penalty, that is juror misconduct in itself. He undertook an oath to debate the facts before him, not simply rely upon his power of a one-man veto, while meanwhile preventing anyone from even attempting to change his mind by refusing to provide the reasons for his decision.

One liberal nitwit claimed that he was entitled to keep quiet and keep secret, otherwise he might be "ganged up on" by the other jurors. Are liberal sensitivities now so exquisitely fine they are to be disobligated from the burden of having to argue with other jurors, and even -- horror of horrors! -- be called bad names by them?

Obviously the other jurors were annoyed with the secret holdout (who, by the way, pretended, in conversation, to be part of the pro-death majority). Obviously they would have made their frustrations with this juror quite clear.

Are liberals saying that the fact he may have been "bullied" by annoyed (but unarmed!) jurors is enough to permit him to violate the oath he took as a juror?

No doubt, this Unknown, Secret, Silent Dissenter is a hero to a great many liberals. Because, of course, he showed the great courage of abject cowardice. He refused to express his reasons for voting against the death penalty; he even refused to simply identify himself as the one juror voting against the death penalty.

And like many other liberal heroes, his mind was made up from the beginning, before any facts were presented, and he steeled himself to be impregnable to and wholly uncontaminated by any facts or debate over such.

Further, he broke the rules-- and the actual law -- to vindicate his "conscience."

And of course he did so in the most cowardly way possible, because God forbid that some juror he would never see him again call him a "liberal" or "unpatriotic."

No wonder the guy gets so vigorously defended by liberals. He's everything the aspire to be.

So, We're All Waiting... Please tell us the factual, not policy or legal reasons, that compel that Moussaoui should be spared. You keep insisting there are such reasons, and yet you don't offer them.

A bit like Juror Zero, as a matter of fact, who, if he had good reasons to spare the life of a terrorist, chose to keep silent about them.

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posted by Ace at 03:21 PM

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