The military judge who ordered the Fort Hood shooting suspect’s beard to be forcibly shaved has been thrown off the case, but the ruling ends lengthy delays in the trial of the Army officer charged with the 2009 rampage that killed 13 people.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces ruled Monday that Col. Gregory Gross did not appear impartial while presiding over the case of Maj. Nidal Hasan. Hasan faces the death penalty if convicted in the 2009 shootings on the Texas Army post that killed 13 people and wounded more than two dozen others.
The court said it was not ruling on whether the judge’s order violated Hasan’s religious rights. Hasan has argued that his beard is a requirement of his Muslim faith, although facial hair violates Army regulations.
“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.
Hassan has successfully delayed his trial by refusing to shave. Now he gets a new judge, and after that, maybe a new delay.
It should be noted that Hassan reached the rank of Major in the US Army without having the beard that he now says his faith requires of him. It was only after he allegedly committed that act of “workplace violence” on Nov. 5, 2009 at Ft. Hood, and faced the possibility of the death penalty, that he got the religious call to toss his razor.