Fort Hood shooting military judge removed for lack of impartiality (+video)
It was not immediately clear what impact the US Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces ruling Monday would have on the long-delayed military trial of Maj. Nidal Hasan.
FORT WORTH, Texas
A military judge has been thrown off the Fort Hood deadly shooting case after an appeals court found that his treatment of the suspect, including an order to have the man forcibly shaved, indicated a lack of impartiality.
It was not immediately clear what impact the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces ruling Monday would have on the long-delayed military trial of Maj. Nidal Hasan. The Army psychiatrist is charged with 13 counts of murder in the 2009 shooting rampage.
Hasan appealed after Col. Gregory Gross ordered that he must be clean-shaven or forcibly shaved before his military trial, which was supposed to begin three months ago. It has been on hold pending the appeals. Hasan has argued that his beard is a requirement of his Muslim faith. Facial hair violates Army regulations.
An Army appeals court upheld the shaving requirement in October, but on Monday the appeals court said the command, not the judge, is responsible for enforcing grooming standards.
Gross had repeatedly said Hasan's beard was a disruption to the court proceedings, but the military appeals court ruled there was insufficient evidence to show that was true.
"Should the next military judge find it necessary to address (Hasan's) beard, such issues should be addressed and litigated anew," judges wrote in the ruling.