Tag Archives: military law

Strange Military Law

Major Nidal Hasan, the accused 2009 Fort Hood shooter, attempted to plead guilty to the shootings, but was denied this plea by the judge.  The government is seeking the death penalty in this case.  As [1] states, “under military law, Hasan is not allowed to plead guilty because the premeditated murder charges carry death as the maximum sentence and the government is pursuing the death penalty in Hasan’s case”.  [1] states that under military law, he could plead guilty to lesser charges that do not carry the death penalty (which presumably would concurrently prevent him from being charged with the more serious crimes).  The telegram reporter is quoted as saying “‘Judge Gross said he would enter not guilty pleas in behalf of Hasan, if necessary'”.

[2] clarified some of my confusion.  It simply said “military law does not allow for guilty pleas in death penalty trials”.  It’s fine that the prosecution seeks the death penalty, but it’s absurd that the defendant doesn’t have a guilty plea option under military law, or that a judge could enter a “not guilty” plea against the defendant’s will.  It’s a technicality that really needs to be fixed.

Also, “On Wednesday, for the fifth time, the judge started the hearing with a contempt charge against Hasan and fined him $1,000, for showing up unshaven”.  This seems pretty ridiculous too, although [2] says the beard is “in violation of Army regulations”.

[1]  http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/08/15/13299644-nidal-hasan-barred-from-pleading-guilty-to-murder-in-2009-fort-hood-shooting

[2]  http://www.military.com/daily-news/2012/08/16/ft-hood-judge-rejects-hasans-guilty-plea.html