How did we let this guy plead?

Zacarias Moussaoui is now permanently banned from helping to select a jury which will determine whether he lives or dies. The ban is the result of his constant crazy outbursts in court and his regular disruption of the proceedings. Now I've been in a similar situation, and even once tried a case with a defendant who was so disruptive he was removed from court, and, when he refused to come back, tried in absentia.

Moussaoui in his Fed-wear

But as I watch the Moussaoui lunacy unfold, I keep wondering--how did we let this guy plead guilty in the first place. How is it that a judge who seems as decent and considered as Brinkema seems to be, found him able to waive his defense, and enter a plea to capital charges?

Here's an account of today's shenanigans from the LA Times:

"Today's hearing was set up for the judge to go over the individual jury selection process. She began by saying her "main reason" was to "determine how Mr. Moussaoui plans to behave." He wasted no time telling her.

Speaking in Arabic and English, Moussaoui rose and called the proceedings nothing more than my "organized death." In April he pleaded guilty to capital murder for participating in the Sept. 11 terrorist plot, but also claimed that he was being recruited to fly an airplane into the White House at a later date. The question now is whether he should be sentenced to death or life in prison with no parole.

Moussaoui started today by disavowing any allegiance to France, calling it a "nation of homosexual Crusaders." He said, "I tell you I am a Muslim.... I am not a frog."

Brinkema could not silence him.

"Today is my death, today is my death," he repeated, angry that the judge would not excuse his defense lawyers and let him represent himself.

"If I don't make sure that these people are not going to represent me, I know that I am dead, OK?"

But even then, Moussaoui said, he did not expect justice. "You own everything," he told the judge and the lawyers seated around him. "You are America — the defense, the judge, the attackers. These people are American. I'm Al Qaeda. I'm a sworn enemy of you. You, you, you, you. For me, you are enemy."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

For what little I know of teh case and the defendant, I couldn't agree more.