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Moussaoui jury enters fourth day of deliberations

[JURIST] Jurors in the sentencing trial of Zacarias Moussaoui [JURIST news archive; case docket] head into a fourth day of deliberations Thursday after no verdict was reached Wednesday. The jurors, who have been deliberating now for 16 hours over the past three days, asked for a dictionary Tuesday, but that request was denied. Judge Leonie Brinkema [official profile] said that it would be equivalent to introducing extraneous evidence, and that jurors could submit a written question if they wanted to know the meaning of a specific term. The jurors are weighing the options of life imprisonment and the death penalty for Moussaoui after deciding earlier this month that he was eligible for death [JURIST report]. In closing arguments earlier this week, government prosecutors told jurors they could "put an end to his hatred and venom" by electing to have Moussaoui executed. The defense has maintained that Moussaoui is mentally ill [JURIST report]. If the jury does not come to a unanimous decision, he will automatically be awarded a life sentence. Review the special verdict form [PDF] that the jury foreman will fill out. AP has more.

Brinkema, who has been vigilant about keeping the jurors’ identities secret, has also declined a request from 14 news organizations for her to tell jurors after the verdict of the public's interest in knowing how they reached their decision, saying in a letter Wednesday that she thinks it would be inappropriate for the court to “serve as an intermediary between the media and the jurors.” Instructing the jury Monday, Brinkema reminded members of their First Amendment rights to speak or to refuse to speak to the media. AP has more.

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