April 25, 2006

Oh, good grief.

Moussaoui jury can't have dictionary

The Associated Press

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) — Jurors in the trial of Zacarias Moussaoui asked for but were denied a dictionary Tuesday for use during their deliberations on whether the Sept. 11 conspirator should receive a death sentence or life in prison.

Before their lunch break, the jurors — and Moussaoui — filed into the courtroom to hear the response of Judge Leonie Brinkema to the request to have a dictionary in the jury room.

Brinkema told them that sending a dictionary in would be like adding additional evidence in the case, but she invited them to come back if they had questions about specific definitions. And she warned them against doing their own research, including looking up definitions. [...]

I feel for these folks because they do have a tough job to do. But this is stupid. I have a feeling there must be one or two people holding out (for either decision--life in prison or execution) and my guess is that it all probably boils down to what the definition of martyr is. In any case, the judge's instructions seem sound, and to me basically boil down to telling them to go on the evidence they have in front of them, not on their feeling that they might look around at something else long enough to find an 'out' to justify one particular decision or another.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at April 25, 2006 11:35 AM