More news in the Hasan murder trial at Ft. Hood, Texas. More specifically, the is more news about his facial hair.
Col. Gregory Gross, the judge who will oversee the military trial of Maj. Nidal Hasan, ordered the Army psychiatrist to be forcibly shaved for his trial, according to Tyler Broadway, a spokesman at Fort Hood.
There is no way this could be easy. After all, I have enough problems when I voluntarily shave my own face. What is it like to attempt to shave someone else by force? I suppose sedatives will likely be administered. Again, forcibly.
Let’s look at the potential impact on court-martial procedure.
The order is likely to trigger an appeal that would further delay the case, which has dragged on now since 2009.
Hasan’s attorney had filed an appeal when Gross threatened to order the shaving but the appeals court said it wouldn’t issue a decision until the shaving was actually ordered. Thursday’s order by Gross opens the door for that appeal.
I’m trying to remember. What year did the acts in question occur? At this point, it seems like it happened around 1983. Get ready for more delays.
This creates many interesting dilemmas, but one in particular is interesting to me.
- Suppose he is forcibly shorn. I can’t imagine that it would be done well. So, he arrives at his court-martial with a crappy shave. Considering that most officers in the military are rigid in their belief that other officers should adhere to high standards of personal appearance, this may create issues on appeal (in an appellate system that is historically tedious with death penalty case minutiae).
- Suppose the court grants the defense request for him to maintain his beard. Assuming he is convicted and sentenced to death, this could be the basis of an ineffective assistance of counsel claim (in an appellate system that is VERY liberal with IAC claims) where appellate counsel asserts that defense counsel hurt their client by supporting personal appearance that suggests to the jury that the accused has no disregard for the law/regulations.
Knowing this, he may have already won a technical, future victory.