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.
Greg Flakus
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

Photogallery South Africa Bans Travelers From Ebola-stricken Countries

South Africans returning from affected West African countries will be thoroughly screened, required to fill out medical questionnaire, health minister says More

Multimedia UN Launches ‘Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years’ in Iraq

Move aims to help thousands of Iraqi religious minorities who fled their homes as Kurdish, Iraqi government forces battle Sunni insurgents More

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

IT specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about disease More

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.
African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebolai
X
George Putic
August 20, 2014 8:57 PM
While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ferguson Calls for Justice as Anger, Violence Grips Community

Violence, anger and frustration continue to grip the small St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri. Protests broke out after a white police officer fatally shot an unarmed black teenager on August 9. The case has sparked outrage around the nation and prompted the White House to send U.S. Attorney Eric Holder to the small community of just over 20,000 people. VOA’s Mary Alice Salinas has more from Ferguson.
Video

Video Beheading Of US Journalist Breeds Outrage

U.S. and British authorities have launched an investigation into an Islamic State video showing the beheading of kidnapped American journalist James Foley by a militant with a British accent. The extremist group, which posted the video on the Internet Tuesday, said the murder was revenge for U.S. airstrikes on militant positions in Iraq - and has threatened to execute another American journalist it is holding. Henry Ridgwell has more from London.
Video

Video Family Robots - The Next Big Thing?

Robots that can help us with daily chores like cooking and cleaning are a long way off, but automatons that serve as family companions may be much closer. Researchers in the United States, France, Japan and other countries are racing to build robots that can entertain and perform some simpler tasks for us. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.

AppleAndroid