The Moussaoui Case: The Mess from Minnesota

41 Pages Posted: 27 Nov 2007


This article, written before Zacarias Moussaoui pleaded guilty and was spared the death penalty in the Eastern District of Virginia, argued that it was a mistake to use civilian justice, rather than a military commission, to handle his case. Before "national security courts" became fashionable, this article identified several problems in using civilian justice to deal with someone associated with the high levels of al Qaeda: not being able to interrogate Moussaoui about past and pending plots; compromises to intelligence sources and methods from the discovery process; giving a person linked to 9/11 another opportunity to attack the United States; and unnecessarily adding to the burdens of providing physical security for the proceedings. Moussaoui and other members of al Qaeda, in sum, are better handled outside the usual system of civilian justice.

Keywords: Moussaoui, 9/11, death penalty, civilian justice, national security, al Qaeda, intelligence

Suggested Citation

Radsan, Afsheen John, The Moussaoui Case: The Mess from Minnesota. William Mitchell Law Review, Vol. 31, No. 4, 2005, William Mitchell Legal Studies Research Paper No. 87, Available at SSRN:

Afsheen John Radsan (Contact Author)

William Mitchell College of Law ( email )

875 Summit Ave
St. Paul, MN 55105-3076
United States

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