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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review April 10, 2006 / 12 Nissan, 5766

Justice for Moussaoui

By Jeff Jacoby

Jeff Jacoby
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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | It isn't clear to me that Zacarias Moussaoui deserves the death penalty. And it isn't clear to me that he doesn't.


On the one hand, the Al Qaeda conspirator admits he was involved in a savage plot to kill many innocent Americans; he knew about the attacks planned for Sept. 11, 2001, and lied when he was arrested so they could proceed unimpeded. On the other hand, the federal government failed to follow up the leads it already had about a possible terrorist hijacking; it is not at all clear that 9/11 would have been prevented had Moussaoui told the truth. In short, there are serious arguments to be made for and against putting Moussaoui to death. It will be for the jury to decide what justice requires.


Already, the jurors have spent more than a month hearing testimony in this case. Last week they deliberated for 16 hours before concluding unanimously that Moussaoui's crimes made him eligible for the death penalty. Now, in the trial's second phase, they will have to consider whether the aggravating factors of those crimes, such as the cruel and terrifying nature of the victims' deaths, outweigh any mitigating factors, such as Moussaoui's apparent mental instability. The jurors will be spending most of the next two months listening to often-wrenching testimony from dozens of witnesses. Then will come more — perhaps many more — hours of deliberation as they attempt to reach a just verdict.


By that point, not many people will be better qualified to decide what "a just verdict" means in the context of United States v. Moussaoui than the 12 men and women who will have invested so much time and effort into absorbing the evidence, studying the witnesses, considering the arguments of the prosecution and defense, and applying the law as instructed by the judge. Under the American system of due process, the verdict they reach (while subject to appeal) is presumed to be the right one. If the jurors all agree that Moussaoui should be executed, their agreement will signify that for this particular defendant, in these particular circumstances, the death penalty was what justice required.


Those who call for abolishing capital punishment, therefore, are really calling for reducing the options available to juries to do justice. Less justice can hardly be in society's best interest.


Nonetheless, opponents of capital punishment argue that putting Moussaoui to death would amount to nothing more than blind vengeance.


"Revenge . . . is sweet," writes Nicholas Coates, an editor at Gulf News; it "is what Americans want more than anything else." Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen labels Moussaoui's trial "a laborious procedure to carry out what most of us recognize is nothing more than revenge. Call it justice if you will, we all know what it really is." Elizabeth Hayden, whose husband was among the murdered passengers on United 175, argues that the death penalty is "pure vengeance," the mark of a nation "acting out of fear and hatred."


But if the death penalty is revenge, life imprisonment must be revenge as well. How can it be "pure vengeance" to execute a man, but not to lock him behind bars for the rest of his life? Especially if, as some death penalty critics claim to believe, life in prison is actually worse than death? A dictionary definition of vengeance is "infliction of punishment in return for a wrong committed." By that standard, every punitive sanction from a parking ticket on up is a form of revenge. Eliminate the element of retribution from the penal code, and a lot of prison cells would stand empty. Is that what the opponents of "revenge" have in mind?


Defendants in death penalty cases are no more threatened by runaway emotionalism and rage than any other criminal defendants. Like every accused criminal, they are shielded by due-process provisions that are specifically designed to take revenge and hatred out of the legal process. Indeed, death-penalty cases are characterized by "super due process," from the fine-tooth screening of potential jurors to the mandatory consideration of mitigating factors to the years of appeals that typically follow any death sentence. Just two weeks ago, the judge in Moussaoui's case suppressed a very large chunk of the prosecution's case when a government lawyer was found to have improperly contacted witnesses. Was that the act of a criminal-justice system acting out of fear and hatred, hellbent on putting Moussaoui to death?


Of course not. It was just another illustration of the gulf that yawns between Al Qaeda's values and ours. Those the terrorists put to death are always innocent, always denied due process, always the victims of hatred and revenge. But Moussaoui will not be executed — if he is executed — without first being given a fair trial, an unbiased jury, and the right to appeal. There was no justice for the victims of 9/11. For Zacarias Moussaoui, there will be.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Jeff Jacoby is a Boston Globe columnist. Comment by clicking here.

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