News / USA

    Fort Hood Judge Considers Hasan Plea

    Undated file photo provided by the Bell County Sheriff's Department shows Nidal Hasan, the Army psychiatrist charged in the deadly 2009 Fort Hood shooting rampage.
    Undated file photo provided by the Bell County Sheriff's Department shows Nidal Hasan, the Army psychiatrist charged in the deadly 2009 Fort Hood shooting rampage.
    A military judge at Fort Hood, in central Texas, has rejected a request to disallow the death penalty in the case of Major Nidal Hasan, who is accused of murdering 13 people and attempting to murder 32 others in a shooting spree in 2009.  The judge is still considering a number of other defense requests that could have a profound impact on the case.

    The presiding judge in the case against Major Nidal Hasan, Colonel Tara Osborn, ruled Wednesday that the death penalty will still apply, rejecting a request by defense lawyers that seemed aimed at a plea bargain.  In a separate request, Hasan's lawyers asked for consideration of a guilty plea, but the judge may not be able to grant that since the military code does not allow a guilty plea in a case in which the death penalty could be imposed.  

    Geoffrey Corn, a former military prosecutor and law professor at South Texas College of Law in Houston, says Judge Osborn will carefully review all defense requests in spite of public frustration over the length of the process.
     
    “There is no such thing as an open-and-shut capital murder case, especially in the military," said Corn. "The process, the rights of the accused, have to be scrupulously protected and honored, and there is no way that a case like this is going to be fast.”

    Corn says any attempt to bypass defense requests could open the way to appeals, which could take years to resolve.  Witnesses say Hasan opened fire on soldiers who were about to be deployed to Afghanistan at a Fort Hood facility on November 5, 2009.  Fort Hood civilian police shot him four times, leaving him paralyzed below the waist.

    Hasan's lawyers are also asking the military to pay for a media specialist to help the defense show that news media coverage has prejudiced the case.

    The case was held up last year over orders that Hasan shave off his beard, which he says is an expression of his Islamic faith.

    The military's highest appeals court removed the judge who made that order after determining that he had shown bias.  Judge Osborn has made only brief mention of the beard so far, telling the defense team to prepare a statement that can be issued to the jury to prevent any prejudice based on Hasan's appearance.  

    Corn says an attempt by the judge or Fort Hood commander to enforce military grooming codes at this point would only open the way for Hasan to file an appeal based on federal statutes that protect religious freedom.
     
    “He probably would file a suit in federal district court, and he would ask a federal judge, a civilian judge, to issue an injunction against the military commander on the theory that the military regulation and the order violates this federal statute.  That would take another six months at least," he said.

    Corn says that if Judge Osborn can rule on all the defense requests by the end of the week, with no further procedural delays, jury selection for the trial would likely begin by April or May.

    You May Like

    Hope Remains for Rio Olympic Games

    Facing a host of problems, Rio prepares for holding the games but experts say some risks, like Zika, may not be as grave as initially thought

    IS Use of Social Media to Recruit, Radicalize Still a Top Threat to US

    Despite military gains against IS in Iraq and Syria, their internet propaganda still commands an audience; US officials see 'the most complex challenge that the federal government and industry face'

    ‘Time Is Now’ to Save Africa’s Animals From Poachers, Activist Says

    During Zimbabwe visit, African Wildlife Foundation President Kaddu Sebunya says poaching hurts Africa as slave trade once did

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolatei
    X
    July 29, 2016 4:02 PM
    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolate

    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Tesla Opens Battery-Producing Gigafactory

    Two years after starting to produce electric cars, U.S. car maker Tesla Motors has opened the first part of its huge battery manufacturing plant, which will eventually cover more than a square kilometer. Situated close to Reno, Nevada, the so-called Gigafactory will eventually produce more lithium-ion batteries than were made worldwide in 2013. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Polio-affected Afghan Student Fulfilling Her Dreams in America

    Afghanistan is one of only two countries in the world where children still get infected by polio. The other is Pakistan. Mahbooba Akhtarzada who is from Afghanistan, was disabled by polio, but has managed to overcome the obstacles caused by this crippling disease. VOA's Zheela Nasari caught up with Akhtarzada and brings us this report narrated by Bronwyn Benito.
    Video

    Video Hillary Clinton Promises to Build a 'Better Tomorrow'

    Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton urged voters Thursday not to give in to the politics of fear. She vowed to unite the country and move it forward if elected in November. Clinton formally accepted the Democratic Party's nomination at its national convention in Philadelphia. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more.
    Video

    Video Trump Tones Down Praise for Russia

    Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is toning down his compliments for Russia and Vladimir Putin as such rhetoric got him in trouble recently. After calling on Russia to find 30.000 missing emails from rival Hillary Clinton, Trump told reporters he doesn't know Putin and never called him a great leader, just one who's better than President Barack Obama. Putin has welcomed Trump's overtures, but, as Zlatica Hoke reports, ordinary Russians say they are not putting much faith in Trump.
    Video

    Video Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Bus

    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Silicon Valley: More Than A Place, It's a Culture

    Silicon Valley is a technology powerhouse and a place that companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple call home. It is a region in northern California that stretches from San Francisco to San Jose. But, more than that, it's known for its startup culture. VOA's Elizabeth Lee went inside one company to find out what it's like to work in a startup.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora