After less than two hours of deliberations, the members sentenced Major Hasan to total forfeitures, a dismissal, and to be put to death. AFP reports:

The forewoman of the jury, a colonel, said the verdict was unanimous that Hasan should be executed.

“It is my duty as president of this jury to inform you that.. the court martial in closed session in a secret ballot of all members concurs to the sentences, to forfeit all pay and allowances, to dismissal from service, to be put to death,” she said.

Hasan, who conducted his own defence during the trial, showed no emotion as the verdict was read.

27 Responses to “Major Hasan sentenced to death”

  1. Devildwglt says:

    He still wins.  In his eyes he sees himself as a martyr!!!!

  2. ResIpsaLoquitur says:

    One of those oddities of the law: it’s a secret ballot, but death requires a unanimous verdict.  (I assume that they don’t have to be unanimous on the forfeitures and dismissal….)

  3. Matt says:

    RIL, of course, by sentencing him to death we all know how each person voted, but the protection of the secret ballot is so that if a member chose not to sentence him to death, that member’s identity would remain secret.  This protects the member from both the public and any thoughts of reprisals by the command.

  4. Gordon Smith says:

    Just as a matter of historical curiosity,  there was a mass-murder case in California in 1944 which has certain parallels to this incident. Second Lieutenant Beaufort Swancutt went on a shooting rampage,  killing two women,  his commanding officer and a policeman. Four others were wounded. In a shoot-out with police,  Swancutt was left paralysed for life. Swancutt was sentenced to death in a speedy court-martial (if memory serves it took place about three months after the incident),  but committed suicide at Letterman Army General Hospital before his case was reviewed.  I wonder if Hasan will follow Swancutt’s example.

  5. stewie says:

    Obviously despite my opposition to the DP, I’m not shedding any tears over the results here, except that I think the way it went down carries significant risks as I’ve, probably incessantly, already stated.

  6. ResIpsaLoquitur says:

    Well, yeah.  I was thinking more that it was amusing “as applied.”

  7. biff says:

    Soldier who kills 22 civilians (17 children) in their beds gets LWOP.
    Soldier who kills 16 active-duty adults on a military base gets death.
    Can you say arbitrary and capricious?

  8. David Bargatze says:

    One pleaded guilty to avoid the death penalty; the other likely would have pleaded guilty to get the death penalty. I can say arbitrary and capricious; it’s just not applicable in this case.

  9. AFJAGCAPT says:

    @biff –
    Doubt it matters WRT your point, but Hasan killed 13, 12 of which were active-duty, and wounded 29 others. Bales killed 16, 9 of which were children, and wounded 6 others.

  10. Contract Lawyer says:

    There is some rule or line of cases about consistency in sentencing.  Just throwing it out there as some lib judge could hang their hat on it.  
    As to the result, congratulations to COL Mike Mulligen and the Govt team.  I will be glad to see Hasan hang, though all hey need to do is put him in a cell with Bales.  “Death by Bales!”

  11. some TC says:

    Let’s not forget that Bales was on his fourth deployment in 10 years and there is at least some question as to his mental responsibility, due in no small part to the bizarre nature of his crime. i don’t think it was offered during sentencing, but there’s also been questions raised regarding his malaria medication. Hasan’s crime, by comparison, is a relatively straightforward mass-murder–an incident sadly too common in the US.  

  12. ResIpsaLoquitur says:

    I’ve heard buzz that Hasan (or somebody arguing on his behalf) may have a plausible ineffective assistance claim on appeal.
    I am not a subscriber to this theory.  Now I’m no big-city lawyer (I write while tugging on my suspenders), but the whole notion of “counsel” is to place special trust in someone well-versed in the law to act on your behalf.  One is not required to exercise this right.  Society tends to use “lawyer” and “attorney” interchangeably, but the notion of the word “attorney” is someone acting on your behalf in a place of special trust.  (Giving someone a “power of attorney” does not make them your lawyer, but only your proxy.)  The massive legal-industrial complex that we have today is a relatively new creation and is not a part of the American tradition of individuals availing themselves of the courts–people are free to do so without counsel.
    I am, however, curious if anyone else has heard this buzz.  I imagine that we’ll be entering a new era of madness if anyone even considered a claim that a pro se individual can claim IAC.

  13. stewie says:

    case law seems pretty clear that you can’t claim IAC after you represent yourself so I doubt you are hearing that buzz, what you may be hearing is buzz that suggests that public policy and constitutional considerations don’t/shouldn’t allow an accused to prevent mitigation evidence from being considered during a capital sentencing case.
    That’s really the only viable path for an appeal.

  14. Christopher Mathews says:

    @ Devildwglt – He still wins.
    Like I said a while ago, I like to think of Major Hasan’s execution as a “win-win” scenario.

  15. ResIpsaLoquitur says:

    The specific buzz I heard was “IAC for failing to represent himself properly.”  Now, the person whom I heard it from may have been mis-translating what they had heard and were relaying it incorrectly.  I’d hope that was the case (although I don’t like your option much better–“public policy” is such a nebulous concept that I’d wish it were imposed by a reviewing authority in the chain of command rather than by the judiciary, who would have to invent it out of whole cloth).

  16. Contract Lawyer says:

    I like the win-win idea.  The enemy of my enemy is my friend, so therefore Hasan is our friend!  Works for me.

  17. Tami says:

    The issue on appeal will be whether COL Osborn abused her discretion in deciding Hasan was competent to represent himself.  The defense will argue that Hasan wasn’t competent, because he’s crazy, as evidenced by his “suicide by court-martial.”  Only a crazy person wants to be executed.  if an appellate court is convinced COL O was wrong, then at the very least, the sentence will get tossed and we’ll be no further along than we were on November 9, 2009.

  18. Some Army Guy says:

    In that case, we all lose.

  19. Nancy Truax says:

    Assuming that Hasan’s strategy is “suicide by court-martial,” and assuming he doesn’t change his mind about that while his case is on appeal, it isn’t entirely clear to me that the defense will be arguing anything, let alone that the trial judge erred in permitting him to represent himself. In fact, I think it’s more likely that the fight on appeal will be about whether his appellate defense counsel can be forced (or permitted, depending on what the counsel believes his or her ethical responsibilities require) to file anything over his objection. Whether that question will be posed by detailed counsel or by the court remains to be seen.

  20. Christopher Mathews says:

    @ Contract Lawyer:  It’s more like the inverse of Mal Johnson’s comment:  “Now, I don’t wanna kill you, and you don’t wanna be dead.” 

  21. stewie says:

    It seems difficult to me to square having a de jure rule that says you can’t waive your capital appeal if you are going to have a de jure rule that says, but no really, you can because we won’t let anyone do anything unless you say so.  It defeats the purpose of the law.

  22. ResIpsaLoquitur says:

    I’m sure there’s a line between insanity and stupidity.  I certainly hope we don’t, as a matter of practice, start shoving “wacky religious beliefs” over the “insanity” line.  Otherwise, any military member who has anything beyond a deistic belief system should turn themselves into mental health now.

  23. Nancy Truax says:

    Assuming his attorneys believe they can’t file anything over his objection doesn’t mean he’s effectively waived appellate review.  The Army Court still has to review the case, no matter what he or his counsel does.  Congress wants him to have appellate review and he’s going to get it, whether he wants it or not.  

  24. Nancy Truax says:

    … over his objection, that doesn’t mean …

  25. stewie says:

    So what’s the difference between the army court acting as his counsel and raising issues, and DAD counsel doing it? It’s effectively the same thing.
    And usually when ACCA spots an issue, they direct DAD counsel to write it up as an assignment of error, they don’t write up their own assignments of error.

  26. soonergrunt says:

    @Christopher Mathews, 173929AUG2013,
    I love that movie.

  27. umkemesik says:

    @Contract Lawyer sentence consistency in the UCMJ is a pipe dream.  There are dozens of cases more arguable than this one – legitimate instances of disproportionate sentencing that get ignored and tossed out.
    The case law has made it nigh impossible for two independent cases to be considered “like”.  There would have to be two defendants with nearly the exact same service record and charges/background.

    Also obvious outcome is obvious.