Phil “My Liege” Cave has posted this piece about MAJ Hasan reportedly refusing to submit to a 706 baord analysis.  He quotes this Santa Cruz Sentinel article.

16 Responses to “MAJ Hasan reportedly refuses to submit to 706 board process”

  1. Anonymous says:

    If he is not going to cooperate with the process can we just call the whole thing off and release him into the streets outside of Ft. Hood?

  2. Cheap Seats says:

    I wonder how many (if any) 706 boards he has worked as a shrink? Interesting dynamic here, shrinking a shrink. I don’t exactly blame the Defense for balking at this 706 at this point.

  3. sg says:

    I’m assuming from the context that a 706 board is a ‘sanity’ board? Why wouldn’t the Defense want to go along with this?

  4. Cloudesley Shovell says:

    The Military Judge can let the defense counsel run the trial, or the Judge can run it.

    Major Hasan has the burden of proving lack of mental resposibility. His refusal to play along is no more demonstrates that he is insane than it demonstrates that he is a perfectly sane but devious sort who just wants to delay delay delay. The 706 board can simply inquire into the matter without interviewing him. (I didn’t see anything in RCM 706 that requires the subject to actively participate). Does that mean the board has no basis for finding a lack of mental responsibility? So what. He’s presumed sane anyway. Press on with the trial schedule and don’t let the defense run the show.

  5. Phil Cave says:


    1. Because they don’t want to know the result. When asked a question I would sometimes ask, ‘do you want to know the answer?’
    2. They want to gather more information themselves to present to the Board. 706 Board’s are not often very good. One of the challenges to them is a failure of the Board to adequately gather and evaluate all the possible information.
    3. Right now there’s is “doubt” as to Hasan’s mental state at the time of the offenses. Doubt may give the defense more leverage in discussing resolutions that take the DP off the table. But if the 706 came back with the standard, ‘he’s good to go,’ then that takes away some of the leverage.
    4. They want to use the 32, as I did recently, to put on the record and document facts and information that the 706 can’t ignore or that would be helpful to be considered by the 706.
    5. (and in partial to CS) There may be concern that the Board members are not sufficiently knowledgeable or skilled in doing a 706 for a mental health professional. There are in fact recommended procedures and testings for evaluation of mental health professionals. Without knowing more about the credentials of the Board members it’s hard to say on this one.

  6. Phil Cave says:

    I agree with the admiral.
    There’s nothing to prevent them going forward with the 706. The Board would merely document the refusal to cooperate.
    I think as the SJA I’d tell them to go ahead anyway. But have a provision that allows or requires reopening should the accused decide to cooperate.
    I’m not sure that the refusal says anything about his mental state at the time of the offenses. But it would indicate that he takes his lawyers advice and is able to currently participate in the proceedings, etc. Thus, an ambiguous finding on prong one of mental state at the time of the offenses, but a good to go on prong two of his mental state now and his ability to understand the nature of the current proceedings and cooperate in his defense.

  7. sg says:

    Thanks Phill, Cheap Seats, and Cloudesley Shovell.
    I learn so much here.

  8. Phil Cave says:

    Cloudesley Shovell is always good for a bottom up review of something.

  9. John O'Connor says:

    Cloudesley Shovell is always good for a bottom up review of something.

    Ha! Like the waters off the Isles of Scilly.

  10. Phil Cave says:

    There’s some new reporting.
    I wasn’t completely close, but close enough for government work on one potential objection — the qualifications of the board members.

  11. publius says:

    Has defense asked for their own hand-picked shrink, paid at government expense yet? Usually comes after the 706, but if he’s refusing to cooperate, who knows? That’s usually good for a a month or six of litigation.

  12. Anon says:

    The Admiral is correct as Phil notes. But, why in the world (or universe) would a defense counsel ever let his/her client sign such a document?

    That, the presumption and the jail staff that deal with him daily, will deep-6 any lack of mental responsibility defense.

  13. Anonymous says:

    if they haven’t, they should, because sanity boards aren’t good most of the time. Sloppy, ignores evidence and most of the folks are just fine.

    Not, he has issues but he isn’t crazy, or couple of diagnoses here but legally sane, but he guys just got a personality disorder.

    It’s particularly laughable when you see certain docs who give the same, mild diagnosis in separate capital cases.

    Not to say that the defense experts don’t probably err too far the other way, they probably do, but what they often don’t do is say the accused is legally insane. Most of these guys probably do have something seriously wrong with them, otherwise, they probably wouldn’t have done what they did.

  14. publius says:

    anonymous @ 2025: that’s mildly better than the usual restatement of the argument.

  15. mikeyes says:

    Phil Cave’s site also mentions that one of the members of the panel was a supervisor to MAJ Hasan during his training and that there were questions about the the objectivity of the panel. Considering the flap about the adequacy of MAJ Hasan’s supervision, that makes sense even if just because it looks bad. (Residents and fellows often have supervisors in name only. They are there to fit a criterion of the residency and not necessarily to actually supervise.)

    I have been out of the military psychiatry business for over 15 years now, but I do know that the Army has board certified forensic psychiatrists both active and Reserve. They should be able to find a few qualified docs who don’t know MAJ Hasan and are willing to be on the board.

    I suspect that the real reasons for objecting are those mentioned by Phil. Insanity defenses, especially for mass murder, are hard to sell. I saw 750 prisoners for this defense early in my career as a neutral examiner (both sides agreed that I do the evaluation) and only found that 10 of them met the criteria for an insanity defense. This is typical for the stats on insanity defense. Many of these exams were a last defense for someone who had no defense, but even prisoners with mental illness problems usually don’t meet the criteria.

    I have not examined MAJ Hasan, so it would be unethical to comment on his particular case. But there is a lot of information on this gentleman already available concerning his mental state prior to the shootings and it should be fairly easy to use this information as part of the evaluation if he agrees to one.

    I agree that such an exam has to be thorough and fair and I don’t see any reason why the Army can’t find a panel of forensic psychiatrists who can do the job.

    Does anyone know what the criteria for the qualifications of a 706 board are? Do the panel members have to be active duty or can they be Reserve, retired or contract physicians?

  16. Phil Cave says:

    The qualification seems to be that they are a licensed psychologist or psychiatrist who ‘is available.’