Maj. Hasan beard controversy

Maj. Nidal Hasan first appeared in a Fort Hood courtroom wearing a beard in June.

Courtroom sketch courtesy/Brigitte Woosley

A high military court has ordered the removal of the judge in accused Fort Hood shooter Maj. Nidal Hasan’s court-martial, stating the judge showed bias by ordering Hasan forcibly shaved.

The Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces stated in a ruling issued late Monday that Fort Hood judge Col. Gregory Gross showed an appearance of bias against Hasan in that order and repeated contempt citations.

The court nullified Gross’ order to have Hasan forcibly shaved and vacated six findings of contempt Gross had issued against Hasan for breaking military appearance regulations by wearing a beard.

The court made no ruling on whether Hasan could be forcibly shaved, stating it would take up the matter if the next military judge assigned to the case addresses the issue, the ruling stated.

Hasan has maintained he began growing a beard in May because of religious purposes.

A devout Muslim, Hasan has stated a premonition of his death led him to defy military regulations.

The ruling throws yet another wrench into the procedures leading up to Hasan’s court-martial.

The 42-year-old Army psychiatrist could face the death penalty for 13 counts of premeditated murder and 32 counts of attempted premeditated murder in connection with the Nov. 5, 2009, mass shooting on post.

Gross presided over the case since charges were brought against Hasan in 2010. Gross is the chief circuit judge at Fort Hood, and viewed hundreds of exhibits and made dozens of rulings in the case during numerous pretrial hearings.

All of those rulings will now have to be reviewed, Hasan’s former counsel John Galligan said.

Any new judge will have to be assigned by officials in Washington, D.C., and Gross’ removal could easily delay Hasan’s trial for months, the Belton attorney said.

“This never should have happened,” Galligan said. “This was a sideline issue that the government took and just stepped all over it in the appeals.”

Hasan’s court-appointed military defense attorneys had challenged whether Gross violated Hasan’s free practice of religion by holding the major in contempt and ordering him forcibly shaved.

They also repeatedly challenged whether Gross illustrated bias in his rulings.

Monday’s ruling states that, at the very least, an outsider would have doubts about Gross’ impartiality.

Courts had repeatedly ruled in Gross’ favor in previous attempts to have him removed from the case.

However, in an Oct. 18 ruling by the U.S. Army Court of Criminal Appeals, two dissenting judges stated Gross should never have taken up the beard matter.

Any order to have Hasan shaved should have been made by Hasan’s chain of command.

Throughout pretrial hearings, Gross called Hasan’s appearance “disrespectful” and “disruptive.” He refused to allow Hasan in the courtroom except to hold him in contempt.

During those hearings, Gross would then remand Hasan to a trailer adjacent to the courtroom, where Hasan watched on a closed-circuit television.

Gross’ rulings amounted to a “duel of wills” between him and Hasan, the ruling stated.

To avoid any further litigation on the matter, the next judge could either follow the blueprint issued in the Army appeals court’s ruling or seek a compromise with the defense.

Prosecutors have argued Hasan’s beard would create enmity between him and a jury of 12 commissioned officers.

A judge can choose to issue an instruction to jurors, telling them to ignore any regulation violations when deciding Hasan’s guilt or innocence.

Contact Philip Jankowski at or (254) 501-7553

(4) comments


lets just let him go free and let the families of the dead & wounded take care of him instead o spending millions of dollars on him to give him ever thing hes wants in jail.


If John Galligan wants to speak for Hasan Why don't we put him in Jail with Hasan why does he still has his big mouth open as his former counsel. seems to me he wants Hasan to get off & file a law sue again the government


this is sad that our military is dragging this case that clearly appoints the Criminal. This shows how backwards is the law. The American Soldier that went into the village in Afghanistan and 'killed" some civilians, the U.S didn't WASTED no time to found him Guilty and now he is serving Life in Prison. And this American Soldier, a Middle East descendant, still Alive after years and years of Murdering 13 U.S Army members, knowingly 'Reloading' to complete his Masacre. This government Needs to Stop all this B.S. On the United States Constitution states that "any Traitor(Hasan)to his country( the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA) is Punishable by DEATH." Major Hasan Still a MEMBER OF THE U.S. ARMY, he is a Government Property, and he is Out of Uniform, wearing that beard. He was Cleaned Shaved when he killed his fellow Soldiers and now he is looking for sympathy, appealing to all Muslims. Mr. President; Please bring Justice now. How many more TERRORISTS DO WE HAVE TO LET GO FREE?

Mamma Griz

So the military high court is thumbing its nose at military regulations? This never should have .happened. Oh boy, if they can do it why can't anybody? Tho I wouldn't advise it of anybody-- but this nut is a little tin god on wheels and has the high court kissing his whatever.

The one attorney for the defendent said that "This never should have happened". True-- this nutcase murdered a bunch of people so why is he still alive? He's nothing but a terrorist, and a worthless nutcase at that.

Oh well, what do I expect of today's military! What was wrong with the military of my dad's day?

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