Why the death penalty can't be implemented
The lastest news from the trial determining whether confessed Al-Qaeda member Zacarias Moussaoui will receive life in prison or the death pentalty is that the government deliberately and illegally coached witnesses.
According to an AP report, "The FAA witnesses have been tainted and no matter how much they contend that they can be truthful, they have been coached concerning the defects in the government's case and how to overcome those defects."
Carla Martin, one of the lawyers for the prosecution, e-mailed "the upcoming witnesses includ[ing] excerpts of the government's opening statement and Martin's assessment that the opening statement "has created a credibility gap that the defense can drive a truck through." She expressed concern that FAA witnesses would be made to look foolish on cross-examination and warned them to be prepared for certain topics."
The judge said that she had "never seen such an egregious violation of a rule on witnesses." Even the prosecutor, David Novak, agreed that Martin's actions were "horrendously wrong."
Of course, he doesn't think that should invalidate the testimony of those witnesses who have been coached on what to say, or result in a mistrial. No, he says to let things proceed, even though the witnesses have been told what to say, and a man's life is in the balance.
This is precisely why we can't implement the death penalty -- because our justice system is far from infallible and our government is apparently determined to get terror convictions and executions even if they don't have a case that will hold water.
So much for due process...