Monday, April 03, 2006

Moussaoui verdict and the 5th Amendment

Calling any and all lawyers out there. I need help with today's decision that Zacarias Moussaoui is eligible to face the death penalty.

According to the BBC
the jurors had to agree that Moussaoui's actions led directly to at least one death on 11 September 2001.

Now, from what I know about the case, Moussaoui was detained in August of 2001. So he was in custody when the attacks in NYC, DC and PA happened. It appears to me that it would be difficult to prove that Moussaoui's actions led to one death since he was in jail, unless the United States government is arguing that he should have told someone that something was going to happen.

Yet, in the 5th amendment to the Constitution, it states "...nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself..." so Moussaoui has a Constitutionally protected right to avoid self-incrimination. He shouldn't be required to tell on himself and I'm not sure he should be put to death because he didn't turn himself in.

The guy is a scumbag and should be locked up in a small cell and the key thrown away, but that doesn't change the fundamental legal basis that this case is being argued on.

So lawyers and/or legal minds, what am I missing or do I have cause for concern?

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