Monday, September 13, 2004

Zacarias Moussaoui Decision

The United States 4th Circuit Court of Appeals has handed down a decision in United States v. Moussaoui. I read the (90 page) opinion, and it appears that the court agreed with District Court Judge Robert Doumar that the government's proposed subsitutions for having certain suspected Al-Qaeda witnesses actually appear on the stand were not enough to survive constitutional scrutiny. However, it disagreed with Mr. Doumar in that any form of substitution was a violation of Mr. Moussaoui's rights, and gave guidelines for an alternative form of substitution to be used at trial. It also reinstated the possibility of the death penalty, which Judge Doumar threw out. The panal of Chief Judge Wilkins and Judges Williams and Gregory was unanimous on the unconstitutionality of the government's original proposal, however, Justice Gregory dissented as to the propreity of the alternative substitution method and the reinstatement of the death penalty.

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