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Moussaoui jury to resume deliberations after dictionary debacle

[JURIST] The jurors in the sentencing trial of Zacarias Moussaoui [JURIST news archive] are set to resume deliberations Monday after spending a weekend at home. The Alexandria, Virginia, jury stopped work Friday in the wake of an admonishment from Judge Leonie Brinkema against doing "outside research", prompted by one of the jurors looking up the potentially-key word "aggravating" in his son's dictionary Thursday evening. The juror later admitted to the judge that he made the investigation contrary to Brinkema's instructions, saying he thought her mandate against research was limited to Internet surfing. Brinkema ruled that the breach of her directions was not intentional or material, but told jurors that they all had to work from the same information, and encouraged them to send her notes if they were not sure of something. Monday marks the beginning of the second week of the Moussaoui deliberations; the case went to the jury [JURIST report] last Monday after closing arguments. The Washington Post has more.

Moussaoui pleaded guilty [JURIST report] to six conspiracy charges [indictment] last year. The jury has already determined that Moussaoui is eligible for the death penalty [JURIST report] and now must decide whether he deserves it, or will get life in prison instead. Review the special verdict form [PDF] that the jury foreman will fill out once the deliberations are over.

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Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

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