FORT HOOD — The recently appointed judge in the capital murder case for alleged Fort Hood shooter Maj. Nidal Hasan on Wednesday scheduled a Tuesday hearing on post.
It will be the first hearing since Sept. 6, when judge Col. Gregory Gross ordered Hasan shaved. Hearings were on hold while Hasan’s attorneys appealed the order and successfully had Gross thrown off the case for perceived bias.
Col. Tara Osborn, the chief circuit judge at Fort Bragg, N.C., was assigned to the case last week, one day after Gross was removed. During Tuesday’s hearing, lawyers will take up trial scheduling, according to a release from Fort Hood.
The Army has wasted little time in restarting Hasan’s pretrial hearings. The 42-year-old Army psychiatrist was set to enter pleas to 13 counts of premeditated murder and 32 counts of attempted premeditated murder in the Nov. 5, 2009, shooting on post when an appeals court halted proceedings.
Hasan’s former counsel, Belton defense attorney John Galligan, said the Army Court of Criminal Appeals ruling that the previous judge may have been biased opens up all previous hearings to litigation.
“If they said he’s biased, it carries over to virtually every ruling,” Galligan said.
Hasan’s chain of command could have him forcibly shaved before Tuesday’s hearing. If they do, that would become a “flash point,” Galligan said. Any order could be construed as pretrial punishment.
“The issue is not going away,” he said.
Osborn presided over numerous felony trials at Fort Bragg, including the 2011 capital murder trial of Sgt. Joseph Bozicevich, who was convicted and sentenced to life in prison for killing two soldiers in Iraq in 2008.
Osborn has been on active duty since 1988. She was the judge in the November trial of a sergeant implicated in the suicide of Pvt. Danny Chen, a 19-year-old soldier hazed by fellow soldiers while deployed in Afghanistan.
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