Last Updated:November 27 @ 11:19 am

Judge who ordered Ft. Hood shooter shaved removed from case

By AP Staff

FORT HOOD, Texas (AP) - The military's highest court ousted the judge in the Fort Hood shooting case Monday and threw out his order to have the suspect's beard forcibly shaved before his court-martial.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces ruled that 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.

But 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 has been on hold pending the appeals.

It wasn't immediately clear if Army prosecutors would appeal this ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court. Prosecutors have said they would not comment about the case until the trial is over, and Fort Hood officials did not immediately return calls Monday or issue a statement.

An Army appeals court had upheld the shaving requirement in October. But on Monday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces said the command, not the judge, was responsible for enforcing grooming standards. The ruling said that was one example of how Gross did not appear 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. The appeals court's ruling also vacated the contempt of court convictions.

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.

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  1. capricorn1Comment by capricorn1
    December 4, 2012 @ 9:51 am

    shave him and hang him.or just hang him.but make him pay for his jihad.

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  2. bna42Comment by bna42
    December 4, 2012 @ 10:16 am

    HASAN is making a mockery of our military court system. His civilian lawyers appealed to a civilian court of appeals hoping that activist judges would overturn the military judge and further delay the proceedings. It would be very interesting to see the Supreme Court weigh in on this issue, but that would delay this trial for another year or so.

    There is no reason for this human garbage to still be breathing U.S. air more than three years after his terror attack on unarmed military troops. Forget the technicalities and burn him.

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    • SAnnComment by SAnn
      December 4, 2012 @ 11:45 am

      Obama and his leftist Generals are also making a mockery of our military! All the lives that have been lost protecting this country for this administration are nil, obama and his people could care less because their agenda is to take down the military in order to achieve their goals.

      When Hasan joined the military he was not allowed a beard and now all of a sudden he has his religious rights which is a crock since he is still a member of the military codes. Isn’t it grand that our illegal government can do what they do to remove Col. Gross who was doing the right thing. It is a slam in the face to the dead and the injured that Hasan the jihadist did!

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  3. Grouchy OneComment by Grouchy One
    December 4, 2012 @ 11:29 am

    Religious rights my ***! If he was in the US military, he signed a paper that said he’s Uncle Sam’s. How many soldiers, marines or sailors have you seen in the last 100 years with facial hair?

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  4. txmrsComment by txmrs
    December 4, 2012 @ 11:50 am

    If I am not mistaken, this piece of dirt is still getting paid by the USArmy. If that is the case, he should be subject to all Army regulations. He didn’t have a problem shaving his entire body prior to killing 13 soldiers now did he? This whole thing is rediculous and smacks of WH manipulation. By the way….in the late 60′s, Admiral Zumwalt allowed certain navy personnel to grow facial hair, but that was the Navy in the 60′s.

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    • bob8585Comment by Robert
      December 4, 2012 @ 12:13 pm

      The Navy allows beards due to a long tradition of beards in the Navy going back to its beginnings.

      Also when I was in the service beards were allowed on personal who had skin problems. But the beard had to be trimmed neat.

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    • westtexaslibraryladyComment by westtexaslibrarylady
      December 4, 2012 @ 1:47 pm

      He didn’t have a problem shaving his beard in compliance with Army regulations prior to the Ft Hood “incident,” why should it be a problem now? Why doesn’t the Army have the authority to insist he comply with regulations as long as he’s still a commissioned officer? Or is he above all that? Why? Because he’s Muslim? Or perhaps being an alleged murderer gives an individual special privileges? Do all the other Army prisoners currently being held get to pick and choose what regulations apply to them and which ones don’t?

      The whole thing is a mockery of the military, America, and the victims who had their lives taken or shattered. If shaving his beard was a violation of his civil rights (which ones?) now, why didn’t he file a lawsuit fighting the regulation a long time ago? Perhaps because it’s so much fun to play the justice system like a puppet and watch it jump?

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    • usafoldsargeComment by usafoldsarge
      December 4, 2012 @ 7:07 pm

      For Robert— Believe that Navy beards disappeared with a PC Admiral by the name of Zumwalt in the early 70s and were prohibited for shore duty personnel…..Skin disorder?? Sorry sir, but he was clean shaven the day he received his commision…. If this had been a white, enlisted Catholic, the firing squad would have had their weapons cleaned and back on the rack 90 days after the murders……..Just another example of Political Correctness **** run wild……
      And I spent 25 plus years in the military so this scum and his civilian lawyers can make a mockery out of the UCMJ??????

      Had Slick Willie not disarmed the stateside military in 1993, perhaps the muslim might only got a shot or 2 off……
      No, the first judge was right, and there should be no more appeals for anything, except the automatice appeal of a conviction

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  5. BillzillaComment by Billzilla
    December 4, 2012 @ 12:18 pm

    This country has far, far too many lawyers and judges for our common good, most of them without an ounce of sense. There should be strict limits on how many lawyer can “serve” in congress and state legislatures.

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  6. mach37Comment by mach37
    December 4, 2012 @ 5:06 pm

    If the trial involves witnesses, the fact that Hasan was clean-shaven when he committed the crime may be a factor in witness identification of the defendent. I believe this could be grounds for insisting on Hasan appearing without a beard.

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