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WEDNESDAY, APRIL 20, 2005
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EDITORIAL

If Moussaoui wants to die, judge should grant his wish

For the second time Tuesday, Zacarias Moussaoui attempted to plead guilty. The first such request was in 2002, but the judge let him withdraw the plea.

His most recent request acknowledged that by entering a plea, he was risking a death sentence.

Due process is an important right in the United States. Arguably it is even more important when the world is watching, hoping to see this nation break a few of the rules we preach to other countries.

But this case has been pending since December 2001. If the court does not accept his guilty plea this time, the Mr. Moussaoui case could drag on for years.

The decision to take the Moussaoui case to a civilian court rather than a military tribunal surprised many in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. The indictment came just as the Department of Defense was proclaiming loudly that foreign terrorists would get a fair and speedy trial in military courts.

While it is important that the judge provide Mr. Moussaoui with necessary legal protections, he appears to be giving the suspected terrorist too much of a good thing.

We know our court system is unreasonably slow. If Mr. Moussaoui is willing to expedite it, we should accept.

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