Highest US Military Court ejects Judge in Fort Hood Case for “bias”
Maj. Nidal Hasan on 11-5-09 in Killeen, TexasMaj. Nidal Hasan at Fort Hood Court Martial 2012
The Military Justice system have handed a politically correct victory to Fort Hood massacre perpetrator, Maj. Nidal Hassan by ejecting the circuit judge in the Court Martial proceeding over the appearance of bias. The AP reported that In a ruling issued yesterday by the Washington, DC US Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces (USCAAF) in the matter of Hasan v Gross (13-8011 / 13-8012/AR), the highest military court determined that circuit court Judge Col. Gregory Gross “didn't appear impartial while presiding over the case of Maj. Nidal Hasan, who faces the death penalty if convicted in the 2009 shootings on the Texas Army post that killed 13 people and wounded more than two dozen others.”
The court said it was not ruling on whether the judge's order violated Hasan's religious rights. Hasan has argued that his beard is a requirement of his Muslim faith, although facial hair violates Army regulations.
"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.
Hasan appealed after Gross ordered that he must be clean-shaven or be forcibly shaved before his court-martial, a military trial.
The court-martial had been set to begin three months ago, but it remains on hold pending the appeals.
An Army appeals court had upheld the shaving requirement in October.
The USCAAF ruling said the command, not the judge, was responsible for enforcing grooming standards. The ruling said that was one example of how Gross appeared impartial in the case.
Gross had repeatedly said Hasan's beard was a disruption to the court proceedings, but the military appeals court ruled that there was insufficient evidence to show that his beard interfered with the hearings.
Gross found Hasan in contempt of court at six previous pretrial hearings because he was not clean-shaven, then sent him to a nearby trailer to watch the proceedings on a closed-circuit television.
At a June hearing, 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 previous hearing. Hasan, who is paralyzed from the waist down after being shot by police 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.
In August, Maj. Nidal Hasan had addressed Judge Gross at the Courts Martial proceeding explaining that his beard was ordained buy his religious beliefs as a practicing Muslim. At the time, the Washington Times reported Hasan as saying:
Speaking in court for the first time since showing up with a beard in violation of Army regulations in June, Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan responded to Col. Gregory Gross when the judge asked why he had the beard.
“In the name of almighty Allah, I am a Muslim,” Maj. Hasan said. “I believe my religion requires me to wear a beard.”
The pretrial hearing was the first since a military appeals court stopped proceedings Aug. 15 to consider the dispute over Maj. Hasan’s beard less than a week before his court-martial was to begin. Col. Gross held Maj. Hasan in contempt of court and fined him $1,000 for a sixth time Thursday and again sent him to a nearby room to watch the rest of the proceedings on closed-circuit television.
“I am not trying to disrespect your authority as a judge,” Maj. Hasan said before his latest removal from the courtroom.
“When I stand before God, I am individually responsible for my actions,” he said, apparently referring to the beard.
We note that on November 5, 2009, Maj. Hasan was caught on a CCTV camera at a local Killeen, Texas convenience store decked out in Shari’a compliant garb replete with taqiyya or Kufi cap clean shaven – see photo. Given Maj. Hasan’s sudden reversion to his Muslim belief practices as evident by his controversial hirsute beard, an affront to military grooming standards, do you think was done to obscure possible eyewitness identification in the courts martial proceeding?
Perhaps another ostensible reason for Col. Gross’ appearance of bias was the fact that both he and his family were on the Fort Hood Army post the day of the massacre perpetrated by Maj. Hasan. Note this excerpt from the USCAAF ruling:
The military judge in this case serves as the Chief Circuit Judge at Fort Hood. In this capacity, he detailed himself to Appellant’s case. At the time of the incident, he was at Fort Hood presiding over a court-martial and his family was shopping at a location on the installation. During and after the shooting, the buildings on the installation were placed on lockdown, including the building in which the military judge was hearing the court-martial.
One wonders how the Army will be able to assign a more impartial circuit judge given the publicity the massacre engendered that day. After all what were the remarks by then US Army Chief of Staff George W. Casey, Jr. when he appeared at Fort Hood press conference shortly after the commission of the massacre by Maj. Hasan:
I'm concerned that this increased speculation could cause a backlash against some of our Muslim soldiers ... Our diversity, not only in our Army, but in our country, is strength. And as horrific as this tragedy was, if our diversity becomes a casualty, I think that’s worse.
Renowned Forensic Psychiatrist, Dr. Michael Welner, Chairman of the Forensic Panel, was an expert witness for the prosecution in the 2010 Guantanamo military tribunal of Omar Khadr Canadian Al Qaeda killer of US Special Forces medic SFC. Christopher Speer at the Battle of Khost in Afghanistan in August 2002. Welner opined about Maj. Hasan’s jihadist behavior:
. . . the motivation was to create a "spectacle", said that a trauma care worker, even one afflicted with stress, would not be expected to be homicidal toward his patients unless his ideology trumped his Hippocratic oath–and this was borne out in his shouting "Allahu Akhbar" as he killed the unarmed.
We wonder what the reactions are to the USCAAF ruling by the wounded survivors and the loved ones of those victims whom Maj. Hasan killed at Fort Hood on November 5, 2009. The mills of military justice have now ground to a halt until presiding circuit judge Col. Gross is replaced with a more impartial officer of this courts martial proceeding at Fort Hood. Pity! Justice is being denied.