Moussaoui gets life
The jury deliberated, and the verdict for Moussaoui is life without possibility of parole.
I think that's actually the best possible outcome for this extraordinarily strange case.
Moussaoui himself is a pernicious person, his rantings devoid of even a drop of the milk of human kindness: he has no sympathy for the 9/11 victims or their families, and regards Timothy McVeigh as "the greatest American."
So no, I have no sympathy for Moussaoui himself. Despite his dreadful family background, he is coherent and sane enough to be held fully responsible for what he's done and its consequences.
But what has he done? That's the problem; we don't rightly know. From the lack of hard evidence presented at the trial, it appears he's done less than he would like us to believe--although he intended plenty of harm, as much as possible.
But our system of justice judges the act, not the personality. Intent is an element of some crimes, yes, but it has to be coupled with certain actions, and those actions have to be proven in court. To justify a death penalty it's not enough to have wanted to cause the death of thousands or planned to cause the death of thousands or rejoiced in the death of thousands. One has to actually have caused those deaths--or, in Moussaoui's case, to have withheld pertinent information that, if revealed, might have saved them.
Three jurors agreed that Moussaoui's knowledge of the details of 9/11 was too inadequate to have given authorities the knowledge to prevent it, even if he had divulged those details in time. All twelve jurors agreed that Moussaoui's actions did not result in the 3,000 deaths on 9/11. The fact that Moussaoui is the sort of terrible human being who would have been proud to claim such an accomplishment doesn't change the fact that it probably wasn't his accomplishment; he just didn't have enough insider info.
I have no problem with this verdict. Life imprisonment without possibility of parole is, in my opinion, the very last thing Moussaoui wants, despite his yelling out "I won" at its announcement. Methinks the man doth protest too much. I think Moussaoui has no desire to live out his days in the belly of the hated beast, America, rather than to become a glorious martyr.
And France seems happy that the cowboys held off on the ultimate penalty:
The French Embassy in the U.S. issued a statement that said the trial was ``conducted in an exemplary fashion.''
I think the trial was a circus, actually, as I indicated here. But I think this result is the right one--or at least, a right one.
[ADDENDUM: Varifrank has an interesting take on the death penalty vs. life imprisonment, with a look at the fate of some well-known lifers.]