This WaPo article suggests that Major Hasan has formed an attorney-client relationship with civilian counsel John P. Galligan.  The article also reports that Hasan “agreed to keep his military-appointed attorney, Maj. Christopher Martin.”

13 Responses to “Major Hasan’s representation”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Obviously too early to tell what to make of his contacts with the imam, but will the prosecution try to admit evidence of his contacts with an imam with links to the 9/11 terrorists in order to prove motive? How about his tirades during grand rounds about Islam? Novel 404(b) issues…

  2. Anonymous says:

    You don’t have to prove motive and I don’t think motive is necessary even practically speaking here.

    Merits is already done, it’s sentencing that is the key. I assume the government will couch it as motive to try and get it in though given the inflammatory nature of any such contacts, and the defense will fight hard to say it doesn’t meet 401 or 403 or that it is not 404b evidence.

    Should make for interesting motions!

  3. Phil Cave says:

    Anonymous: Merits is already done[.]

    Agreed.

    So, why would the prosecution want to introduce something like that and possibly introduce error into a case where there’s likely more than sufficient evidence to warrant a death penalty? It strikes me that the hardest job for the prosecution will be to resist putting error into the case – KIS.
    The “motive” will be the elephant in the room without it even being offered into evidence.

  4. Mike "No Man" Navarre says:

    Agree with PC on the stuff after “agreed”. As a TC I’d put on a few days of testinony during findings, eye witnesses, a pathologist, maybe a first responder or two. None of them would be allowed to mention Islam, any statements about Allahu Akbar or anything even close to that during their direct testimony. Sentencing would have a family or two, some of the same folks from findings.

    Not that I am biased or anything after having worked on the defense, but the poster child for the KISS strategy is the Quintanilla case. The TC put on speculative evidence about gangs in a case where the accused was alleged to have killed his Marine XO and seriously wounded his CO. Why would one do that?

  5. Anonymous says:

    Major Martin,

    If you are reading this….go ahead and buy that house in Harker Heights…because you are going to be at Ft Hood for a long time now….

  6. Cossio says:

    Agree with all the well reasoned responses above. The TC needn’t create any possible appeallate issues by overcharging and overreaching during sentencing. Keep-It-Simple-Stupid (Phil, you gotta put that extra “S” for our Army Folks).

    This guy is done, regardless. The only question is whether he gets life or the death penalty. Im sure the Army will have their best Perry Mas— Say. We know who is representing Hasan.

    Any Idea who the Big Cheese will be prosecuting the case?

    In the Air Force we had this guy, LtCl Spath. He did that Murder case, (A1C Witt?). Anyways, he was known as the big dog for these tough cases. He is also known for flawless examination. Wouldn’t touch my case though (lucky he smelled a bomb, it got thrown out).

    I was wondering if the Army has an equivalent to Spath? Who’s the big dog in that Circut?

  7. Cossio says:

    Oh, here you guys go, it Looks like Gene Fidell made the News:

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20091111/ap_on_go_ca_st_pe/us_fort_hood_military_justice

    Death Penalty Rare, Executions Rarer in Military

    By MARK SHERMAN, Associated Press Writer Mark Sherman, Associated Press Writer – 16 mins ago
    WASHINGTON – Though the suspect in the shooting rampage at Fort Hood could face the death penalty, he will be prosecuted in a military justice system where no one has been executed in nearly a half-century.

    Maj. Nidal Hasan, the Army psychiatrist alleged to have killed 13 people at the massive Army installation in Texas last week, might also benefit from protections the military provides defendants that are greater than those offered in civilian federal courts.

    “Our military justice system is not bloodthirsty. That’s clear,” said Eugene R. Fidell, who teaches military law at Yale.

    Much about Hasan’s case will be decided by a senior Army officer — perhaps Lt. General Robert Cone, Fort Hood’s commander — including whether to seek the death penalty and, in the event Hasan is convicted of capital murder, whether to commute a possible death sentence to life in prison.

    Before a military execution can be carried out, the president must personally approve.

    George W. Bush signed an execution order last year for a former Army cook who was convicted of multiple rapes and murders in the 1980s, but a federal judge has stayed that order to allow for a new round of appeals in federal court. There hasn’t been a military execution since 1961, though five men sit on the military’s death row at Fort Leavenworth, Kan.

    Federal civilian executions also are rare. Three men, including Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh, have been killed by lethal injection in federal cases since 2001. Death penalties carried out by states are more common — Tuesday night’s execution of John Allen Muhammad in the Washington, D.C., sniper case was Virginia’s second of the year.

    In the Fort Hood case, Hasan’s family has hired a private attorney, John Galligan, although the military also will provide a lawyer at no charge. Galligan said that he and Maj. Christopher E. Martin, Fort Hood’s senior defense attorney, spoke with Hasan on Monday and that Hasan had requested a lawyer when first approached by investigators.

    Experts in the military justice system said the decision to prosecute Hasan in military court, revealed Monday by officials involved in the investigation, appears clear cut.

    The shootings took place on an Army base. The suspect is an Army officer and all but one of those killed also were officers or enlisted personnel. The other person who was killed worked at Fort Hood.

    Authorities would have had more reason to take the case to federal court if they had found evidence Hasan acted with the support or training of a terrorist group, but investigators believe he acted alone, without outside direction.

    The military system operates under rules that are similar to those in civilian courts. The differences generally give military defendants more rights than their civilian counterparts.

    A defendant and his lawyer can be present at the military equivalent of a grand jury hearing, and the lawyer may present evidence and cross-examine witnesses. Lawyers for witnesses and potential defendants are barred from civilian grand juries.

    Prosecutors in the military system also turn over many more documents to the defense before trial. “It’s very rare that something in the prosecutor’s file isn’t in the defense file,” said Charles Swift, a former Navy defense lawyer who represented Osama bin Laden’s one-time driver. “What’s taught to prosecutors in military death cases is be overly generous. You’ll win on the facts. You don’t need to play games. In fact, how you’ll lose is to play games.”

    At trial, Hasan’s jury would consist of at least 12 officers of higher rank or seniority than Hasan. “This is a very educated jury,” said Duke University law professor Scott Silliman, consisting exclusively of college graduates and possibly including Army generals.

    Galligan, Hasan’s lawyer, already has suggested that it could be difficult to receive a fair trial at Fort Hood because of the glare of publicity surrounding the bloody attack, the raw emotions of those who work at the base and President Barack Obama’s emotional visit to the base Tuesday.

    But the military law experts said several factors could ease those concerns. The base’s population turns over frequently. In fact, Hasan himself had been there only a short time. “Some of his jurors might be in Iraq or Afghanistan at the moment,” Swift said.

    If there were problems finding impartial jurors at Fort Hood, the Army could draw them from virtually any Army facility in the United States.

    A military jury must be unanimous to convict and sentence a defendant to death. Imposing a life sentence, however, requires only three-fourths of the jury to agree.

    Fifteen members of the military have been sentenced to death in the past 25 years. Commanding generals commuted two of those sentences to life in prison and eight others were overturned on appeal.

    The president’s involvement also sets military death-penalty cases apart. The president can commute any federal death sentence, civilian or military but must personally approve each military execution and sign an order to carry it out.

    “That’s a political act,” Silliman said. “The president of the United States personally approving a death penalty is a political act.”

    When President Bush signed Ronald Gray’s execution order in July 2008, it was the first time a president had done so in 51 years.

    In 1957, President Dwight Eisenhower approved the execution of John Bennett, an Army private convicted of raping and attempting to kill an 11-year-old Austrian girl. Bennett was hanged in 1961.

    ___

    Associated Press Writer Mike Graczyk in Houston contributed to this story.

  8. Anon says:

    MAJ Chris Martin is a fine American, and will do a great job representing Hasan.

  9. Socrates says:

    Are courts supposed to be forums for establishing the truth, or not? So now we are going to “airbrush” history and avoid “any statements about Allahu Akbar or anything even close to that during their direct testimony.”

    The counter-argument here is to permit appellate review on this issue and get the law clearly established, because we are going to see this issue again. Shouting “Allahu Akbar” is a rather classic signal of a pre-meditated act of politically-motivated violence.

    If this were a weak case, I could agree on the tactic of avoiding appellate issues. But precisely because this case is so strong, the prosecutors should NOT be timid about laying out exactly what happened.

    If he called or met with radical imams – put it on the record. If he yelled “Allahuh Akbar” – put it on the record. But just put it forth matter-of-factly, do not speculate in closing argument.

  10. Socrates says:

    By the way, is the red “thumbs-down” rating merely an indication that a reader disagrees with my argument, or does it indicate that I have breached the bounds of topicality or good taste?

    I thought the rating system was established to monitor and enforce the civility of our discourse, not become an “American Idol” method of evaluating comments.

    I WANT to be controversial occassionally and desire disagreement. But I do NOT want to attack, offend or engage in ad hominem attack.

  11. Comrade Cossio says:

    Socrates: By the way, is the red “thumbs-down” rating merely an indication that a reader disagrees with my argument, or does it indicate that I have breached the bounds of topicality or good taste?

    ??? Com’on Sox,
    You know the answer to that one already. Its whatever the rater wants. If they just don’t like you they can give you a thumbs down. I’ve been censured for statements that had nothing substantial in them. If I wrote “I like Ice Cream” how many people would thumb down.

    Now intersting I still recieve ratings after cesure. which mean the Cossio Fans (Cossio-holics) are still reading my post, even if they hate my guts, they can’t get enough.

  12. Socrates says:

    Cossio,

    I find myself agreeing with your general points, but often take issue with your delivery. I think this could be what has turned many against you. Constructive criticism: Your instincts are often right, but you exhibit some traits that will often offend the legally trained mind. Remember, mostly military lawyers participate in this blog. First, please stay away from labels, insults and attacks, such as “idiot,” “liberal,” etc. Try to enjoy the parry-and-thrust of disagreement without getting mad. Second, be more sparing with political commentary. I love politics, but this is a legal blog. I sometimes get the impression you are re-cycling last night’s “Savage Nation” monologue. (OK, I admit it, I listen to Uncle Mike) Third, try to avoid massive generalizations and black-and-white simplifications. I think this is your biggest weakness as a poster. Finally, and this is one of MY weaknesses, try to shorten your posts.

    I put forward these criticisms with love because we want to hear a variety of viewpoints.

  13. Comrade Cossio says:

    O-tay,

    Hey, BTW, Charges have been filed against Hasan, I’m emailing CAAFlog right now :)

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20091112/ap_on_go_ca_st_pe/us_fort_hood_shooting_charges