Carol Platt Liebau: The Moussaoui Conundrum

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

The Moussaoui Conundrum

Zacharias Moussaoui is the scum of the earth. And as this editorial points out, he richly deserves the death penalty.

But here's the question: How can we mete out that punishment? After yesterday's testimony, it appears that the theory is that Moussaoui knew about 9/11 and was supposed to be part of it, so his failure to disclose the plot after he was arrested on immigration charges makes him, in effect, responsible for the deaths.

Here's the problem. Is there a duty to disclose under U.S. law? Not that I'm familiar with (and if I'm wrong, someone set me straight). Certainly, one can be charged with lying to investigators, but I'm not aware of laws that attribute to Person A the responsibility for crimes committed by Person B, simply because (without more) the crimes weren't disclosed in advance.

Certainly there can be that kind of vicarious responsibility for those engaged in a conspiracy together. But if Moussaoui was part of the 9/11 conspiracy, wouldn't punishing him for having failed to disclose the plot constitute, in effect, a violation of his right against self-incrimination?

I'd love to see Moussaoui fry. I'm just not sure how it can be done consistent with existing law.

7 Comments:

Blogger HouseOfSin said...

Carol, two words: Michael Fortier. Two more words: Charles Manson.

In my opinion, sure he's eligible to fry. My understanding of homicide theory is that if you play *any* role, including being in the know, you are as culpable as the ones who actually carry out the act.

10:48 AM  
Blogger wile e coyote said...

Is Moussaoui a criminal defendant or an enemy agent/saboteur?

If the latter, can't he be summarily executed?

3:17 PM  
Blogger amber said...

Isn't there such a thing as Aiding and Abbetting a crime by not reporting it. I don't think that that would be punnishable by death, but it really does not matter. When the trial is over he will be killed anyways. Someone will do it in prison or if he gets out someone will be waiting for him. I know that sounds horrible, but I think it would be justified. The issue is not his punnishment, but the protection of our country and people. So, I would not worry about it. I'm not saying it would be me, please do not read that into what I am typing, I am just saying that there are too many people out there capable of such a thing and it is more likely than not that he will be taken care of one way or another.

4:06 PM  
Blogger Ex-Prosecutor said...

I think this is the case. A co-conspirator is just as guilty as the other co-conspirator-actor commiting the actual predicate offense. All it takes is an agreement with requisite intent and an overt act in furtherance of the conspiracy. A co-conspirator who leaves the conspiracy prior to the prediate offense taking place must take affirmative acts to stop the predicate offense to avoid culpability.

7:27 PM  
Blogger stackja1945 said...

Life in jail and a slow wasting away. Not a quick fry.

12:45 AM  
Blogger Pete said...

Life in the can is a waste of taxpayers money. Crank up Old Sparky and buy a couple of bucks worth of juice!

4:35 AM  
Blogger dodger said...

Good posit, better ripostes. I'm not used to seeing comments that resort to logic and reason.

8:05 AM  

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