The Fort Hood shooting trial judge was removed for a lack of impartiality. Military Judge Colonel Gregory Gross was presiding over the long-delayed trial of Major Nidal Hasan. The trial has been mired in controversy since the case began. Many Americans feel that Hasan should be charged with terrorism for the shooting, which took place on the Texas base, and not workplace violence style charges.
The removal of the Fort Hood judge came after an appeals court decided that his treatment of Major Hasan indicated the military officer was not impartial in the case. The appeal began largely because Judge Colonel Gross mandated that Nidel Hasan be forcibly shaved so his appearance was not in violation of military code.
Hasan, an Army psychiatrist, is charged with 13 counts of murder, which occurred during the 2009 Texas shooting rampage, according to the Christian Science Monitor. Major Hasan faces the death penalty if convicted of killing 13 and wounding more than two dozen others, the Los Angeles Times notes.
The military murder trial was supposed to being three months ago but was delayed because the accused mass murdered felt he should not be made to comply with the standard Army regulations all soldier agree to upon enlistment.
During the appeals court hearing, which resulted in the Fort Hood judge removal, Major Nidel Hasan’s attorney claimed the shaving of facial hair as per Army regulations would violate the accused’s Muslim faith. Exactly why the facial hair is a religious issue for Hasan now even though he was bound by the same regulations prior to the alleged Fort Hood shooting is unknown.
An Army appeals court upheld the mandate for Hasan to be clean shaven in October. On Monday, the court decided that is it the responsibility of Army command to force the shaving regulation and not the judge. Fort Hood officials noted that Hasan’s trial will continue once a new judge is appointed by the Army’s highest legal branch.