Barring a last-minute roadblock, the court-martial of Maj. Nidal Hasan will begin this week at Fort Hood.

When judge Col. Tara Osborn calls the proceedings to order Wednesday, it will be exactly three years and seven months since the horrific shooting on post that left 13 people dead and 32 wounded.

That it has taken so long to bring Hasan to trial is no doubt a source of frustration for many in the Fort Hood community — including the shooting victims’ families, as well as the survivors.

The long road to this week’s jury selection has been marked by intense legal maneuvering on the part of both the defense counsel and the prosecution.

Some of the issues that had to be settled included whether the trial should be moved to another venue, whether to include testimony from a witness who had labeled Hasan “a homegrown terrorist” and of course, whether Hasan should be allowed to wear a beard in court — a violation of military code.

After all was said and done, the trial was kept at Fort Hood, the testimony of the disputed expert was excluded and Hasan was allowed to keep his beard.

That beard ruling was rendered by the nation’s highest military appeals court, which also removed the initial judge, who had favored shaving the defendant.

Now, Osborn, the new presiding judge, must decide whether Hasan can represent himself during his court-martial, as he requested last week. Before ruling on the request, Osborn ordered Hasan to undergo a medical exam to determine whether he is physically up to the task.

Hasan is paralyzed from the waist down and confined to a wheelchair after being shot multiple times by Fort Hood police during the Nov. 5, 2009, shooting on post. He reportedly has difficulty sitting for long periods of time.

The results of that exam, as well as Osborn’s ruling on Hasan’s request to fire his attorneys and serve as his own defense counsel, will be discussed at Monday’s hearing.

The Army has gone to great lengths to establish and prepare its case. How the defense counsel proceeds — especially if Hasan is in charge — remains to be seen.

The accused shooter has repeatedly sought to plead guilty to the 13 counts of murder, but since this is a death-penalty case, military law will not allow the judge to accept a guilty plea.

It’s possible that Hasan wants to be found guilty and therefore will offer a minimal defense during the trial. Another possibility is that Hasan wants to use the court-martial as a forum for his political views, although it’s likely the judge would severely restrict such behavior. It’s also possible that in firing his lawyers, Hasan is trying to set up a potential appeal on the grounds that he had inadequate legal representation.

Osborn has advised the defendant that serving as his own counsel will be much more taxing than just sitting with his attorneys. Undoubtedly, she will make sure Hasan also understands the possible legal consequences of his request, should she grant it.

Of course, the judge could deny Hasan’s request, but if she does so solely for health reasons, she runs the risk of having the verdict overturned on appeal, as some experts have cautioned.

So, it now appears likely that the court-martial will get underway this week — more than 15 months after its originally scheduled start date of March 2012.

It was already destined to be a media circus, especially once testimony gets underway on July 1.

With the strong possibility that Hasan, as sole defense counsel, could question the witnesses — some of whom he is accused of shooting — and have a hand in selecting the jurors who will determine his fate, the media hype could be even more intense.

But what must not be lost in the glare of national attention is the fact that this court-martial is ultimately about rendering justice for the victims, the survivors and their families. That’s what they’ve been waiting for during the past 3½ years — and they deserve a trial that is as dignified, professional and as equitable as is humanly possible.

No doubt, Col. Osborn will make sure all the pertinent questions are asked and that all precautions are taken before setting this court-martial in motion.

Having done that, it’s time to move forward with these proceedings.

As it is, justice has been deferred for far too long.

Contact Dave Miller at or (254) 501-7543

(5) comments


I am waiting on the Curt Marshal of President Obama for giving aid and comfort to the enemy to began.
ASAP I hope.

We in the Ft.Hood Area should demand that President Obama be tried for treason ASAP. and demand he be kicked out of the White House .and lose all pay and privileges and be charged rent for time spend in OUR white House.. The Unions who are also fellow thugs should pick up the tab and not we tax payers .Whom are loyal to the USA and not Egypt or the Muslim cause.

Our Children did not deserve to be kicked out of OUR house . Think of this one of the first to be denied access to Our House was from my old home state of Kansas.
The fore fathers of those children were prosecuted by the Democrats in MO to try to force Kansas be a slave state. so much blood was spilled by the fore fathers of the denied children of Kansas where the civil war was fought 10 years before the rest of the nation and they are told by a Nergo That they are not welcome to Our house.
If any one should be denied access to Our house is is President Obama and his staff of thugs.

Mamma Griz

Smithjr38:: Our children did not deserve to be sent to Iraq to fight an unneeded war. What had the Iraq people done to us? They weren't involved in 9/11. This country lost thousands of its military fighting for what. Oh that's right-- your savior had to redeem the incident regarding his Pappy-- who didn't get injured or killed. And we are still in Afghanistan, another of your savior's wars.

Your savior's wars were put on the country's credit card and we are still paying for them-- tho they are included in the budget now. And don't forget your savior's UNFUNDED Medicare Part D-- just like his UNFUNDED wars.

"Mission Accomplished" is what the banner read. He did accomplish his mission-- he got out of the plane on the deck, walked over to the cameras and HE MANAGED TO STAY ON HIS FEET.

Your savior should have been tried for treason-- him and his two disciples, Cheney and Rumsfield. But then, they were white republican'ts so shouldn't be touched.

Mamma Griz

Don, it isn't that we have an anti-American muslim president-- WHICH WE DON'T HAVE-- but the age-old military method of doing it. RANK HAS ITS PRIVILEGE.


Isn't it interesting that soldiers accused of defiling the Quoran were court martialed in less than 3 months, while a muslim terrorist who kills Americans has such unreasonable delays in his trial, continuing to draw his pay? Guess this is what happens when you have an anti American pro muslim president.


You are probably right Don on all the above, Many have question why trial was so quick for these other cases but not this one, when the evidence didn't even have to be proven, the man said he's guilty and many saw him as he committed his crime.

Hasan is trying to set up a potential appeal on the grounds that he had inadequate legal representation.---

He has more then likely received advise on how to delay delay.
The SOB was more then willing to die the day he murdered, he thought he wouldn't walk away, but be killed. More Glory for the Radical Muslims.
But now he ,who is really a true coward, has had second thoughts.

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