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Fort Hood shooting judge removed for showing bias

This undated file photo provided by the Bell County Sheriff's Department via The Temple Daily Telegram shows Nidal Hasan, the Army psychiatrist charged in the deadly 2009 Fort Hood shooting rampage. A military appeals court has thrown out a judge's order to forcibly shave the Fort Hood shooting suspect and removed the judge from the case. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces ruled Monday, Dec. 3, 2012 that Col. Gregory Gross didn't appear impartial while presiding over the case of Maj. Nidal Hasan.

This undated file photo provided by the Bell County Sheriff's Department via The Temple Daily Telegram shows Nidal Hasan, the Army psychiatrist charged in the deadly 2009 Fort Hood shooting rampage. A military appeals court has thrown out a judge's order to forcibly shave the Fort Hood shooting suspect and removed the judge from the case. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces ruled Monday, Dec. 3, 2012 that Col. Gregory Gross didn't appear impartial while presiding over the case of Maj. Nidal Hasan.

FORT WORTH, Texas — A military judge has been thrown off the Fort Hood deadly shooting case after an appeals court found that his treatment of the suspect, including an order to have the man forcibly shaved, indicated a lack of impartiality.

It was not immediately clear what impact the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces ruling Monday would have on the long-delayed military trial of Maj. Nidal Hasan. The Army psychiatrist is charged with 13 counts of murder in the 2009 shooting rampage.

Hasan appealed after Col. Gregory Gross ordered that he must be clean-shaven or forcibly shaved before his military trial, which was supposed to begin three months ago. It has been on hold pending the appeals. Hasan has argued that his beard is a requirement of his Muslim faith. Facial hair violates Army regulations.

An Army appeals court upheld the shaving requirement in October, but on Monday the appeals court said the command, not the judge, is responsible for enforcing grooming standards.

Gross had repeatedly said Hasan's beard was a disruption to the court proceedings, but the military appeals court ruled there was insufficient evidence to show that was true.

"Should the next military judge find it necessary to address (Hasan's) beard, such issues should be addressed and litigated anew," judges wrote in the ruling.

Gross found Hasan in contempt of court at six pretrial hearings because of his beard and sent him to a trailer to watch the proceedings on a closed-circuit television. The appeals court's ruling also vacated the contempt of court convictions.

The court said it was not ruling on whether the judge's order violated Hasan's religious rights.

Lead defense attorney Lt. Col. Kris Poppe said the judge showed a bias against Hasan when he asked defense attorneys to clean up a court restroom after Gross found a medical waste bag, adult diaper and what appeared to be feces on the floor after a June hearing. Hasan, who is paralyzed from the waist down after being shot by police on the day of the shootings, has to wear adult diapers — but the mess in the restroom that day was mud from a guard's boots, Poppe said.

"In light of these rulings, and the military judge's accusations regarding the latrine, it could reasonably appear to an objective observer that the military judge had allowed the proceedings to become a duel of wills between himself and (Hasan) rather than an adjudication of the serious offenses with which (Hasan) is charged," judges wrote in the ruling.

Fort Hood officials said late Monday that proceedings in the case will resume after a new judge is appointed by the Army's highest legal branch. This indicates Army prosecutors will not appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Hasan faces the death penalty if convicted in the shootings on the Texas Army post that killed 13 people and wounded more than two dozen others.

Comments

waltspecht 1 year, 9 months ago

Anybody else remember a certain Federal Court Judge that used to make Jurors change clothes if they didn't meet his standards for his court? I see no problem, it is a matter of enforcing military discipline. Now if it is a relegious issue, all Muslims in the Military should have beards or be filing complaints. I think the system is being played to delay the death of this Terrorist, even tho the Government does not want him called a Terrorist.

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ObjectiveEyes 1 year, 9 months ago

Three years later and still no justice. Of course, the Obama administration deemed this act to be "work place violence."

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ittybittyme 1 year, 9 months ago

Just try the guy and be done with it. Nitpicking something this trivial is an expel of why this country is going to you know where in a hand basket.

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Abytaxpayer 1 year, 9 months ago

Ok I am going to jump on a landmine… here goes? A few days ago I was criticized because I felt no compassion for a criminal who placed himself in the position of being killed by a property owner. Hasan is a perfect example of what you get when you show compassion to a criminal you are forced to shoot but stop once he is knocked down. Criminals make the choice to place themselves in danger and once he has made that choice he knows death could be the outcome unless he is very lucky. Hasan knew when he started shooting he most likely would be killed, but as luck would have it he was only crippled. The criminal world including terrorist know Americans will not use every means necessary to stop them, so they keep victimizing us. Sorry but I believe if you are forced to use deadly force then it should be DEADLY, and not just enough to stop them so they can drag you around by the nose defending yourself in a court. Hasan’s treatment has sent a message around the world we are afraid of them. Afraid to stand for our right to be safe from terrorists because we will not even call them terrorists, just participates of work place violence. Criminals rely on your fear of them also, but when criminals have a fear of severe punishment and even death then their choice is directed by what they see as the threat to themselves…or simply the risk vs the reward.

Let the piling on begin, but just remember if you reward bad behavior then you breed bad behavior and if you punish bad behavior it will wither. No one has the right to just shoot another human but if that human decides to put himself in the situation of risking his own life then he alone decided he is willing to take the consequences.

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