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Judge refuses to let Hasan lawyers drop out of case

Judge refuses to let Hasan lawyers drop out of case

The Fort Hood shooting trial resumed Thursday after the judge refused to grant a request from Nidal Hasan’s standby defense attorneys to drop out of the case.  The attorneys argued Wednesday that Hasan’s strategy in court thus far has demonstrated that the defendant – who is representing himself – appears to be arguing for his own death sentence.

From CBS News:

The judge, Col. Tara Osborn, denied that request Thursday, saying it was clear the lawyers simply disagreed with Hasan’s defense strategy.

“Standby counsel may not agree with way case is proceeding, but Major Hasan determines his trial strategy,” said Osborn, CBS News’ Paula Reid reports from court. “This is nothing more than their disagreement with Major Hasan’s trial strategy.”

But the attorneys were adamant and said they would appeal to a higher court.

“We believe your order is causing us to violate our rules of professional conduct,” Lt. Col. Kris Poppe told the judge.

Osborn briefly recessed the trial, but the hearing later resumed and jurors were allowed in after the standby attorneys were told to continue in their current duties.

Standby defense counsel said they felt it was “morally repugnant” to continue in their duties.

But the judge pushed back against their concerns, saying that the court’s order released them of any liability, and ordered that anything filed by standby counsel must now first be reviewed by Hasan.

The prosecution indicated that Hasan’s defense strategy is not all that surprising or extraordinary, according to CBS News.

The prosecutor, Col. Michael Mulligan, defended Hasan’s strategy, saying Thursday that it would have been “absurd” for Hasan to contest the facts of what happened the day of the attack in November 2009.

Mulligan said Hasan appeared to be taking on a “tried and true” defense strategy of not contesting the facts but rather offering an alternative reason about why they occurred.

“I’m really perplexed as to how it’s caused such a moral dilemma,” Mulligan told the judge.

After the jury returned and proceedings finally resumed, Hasan did not cross examine witnesses who had been shot in the incident.




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How does this judges’ order intersect with the idea that “just following orders” is not a legal defense?

I fully expect, if Hasan is found guilty, for him to sue his council at some point .. is the judge setting them up for a career-killing event here?


    ThomasD in reply to acat. | August 8, 2013 at 6:24 pm

    He will never be executed and he will spend the rest of his life filing bullshit claims.

    The long march has clearly extended into the Services.

      GrumpyOne in reply to ThomasD. | August 8, 2013 at 8:24 pm

      All I can say is that this whole affair should have been an open/shut case that was completed at least a couple of years ago; Preferably at Gitmo.

      “Workplace Violence” my eye…

    MSO in reply to acat. | August 8, 2013 at 7:14 pm

    Under UCMJ, all legal orders must be obeyed.

    I’m no attorney, but in my opinion, the judge is acting correctly in this case and so her order is legal. The standby attorneys are provided to the defendant should he ever need or ask for advice.

    If I were a betting man, I would bet that the military careers of these standby attorneys are now, for all intents and purposes, finished.

    PersonFromPorlock in reply to acat. | August 8, 2013 at 8:51 pm

    For all practical purposes, “I was just following orders’ is an absolute defense. Nuremberg was the exception.

I find it morally repugnant that a lawyer finds it morally repugnant to execute someone who killed 13 people in cold blood.

    ThomasD in reply to txantimedia. | August 8, 2013 at 6:29 pm

    You are free to have your morality, and it is one I am personally sympathetic towards.

    But I’m also sympathetic towards the attorney(s) denied their own moral freedom so that Hasan may be said to have had an attorney, if in ‘name’ only.

    It’s like the people who come to me wanting to commit suicide. My response boils down to “you can do what you like, just don’t do it here.”

It’s clear Hassan is begging for a death sentence so he can be a martyr. I wouldn’t give it to him.

    Anchovy in reply to ironghost. | August 8, 2013 at 4:36 pm

    You are absolutely right. And the day they execute this guy hundreds of innocent people will be killed by the perpetually outraged practitioners of the religion of peace.

Carol Herman | August 8, 2013 at 4:05 pm

Well, that’s it, I guess. This guarantees this case bounces all the way up to SCOTUS. Maybe, there, they will find he’s not labeled a terrorist, so he “can’t do” a terrorist act.

And, maybe, they’ll wave a magic wand … and Hasan will rise out of his wheel chair. (This works if you lower a rope from the ceiling. And, he’s not strapped to the chair … So the chair goes down. And, he goes up. And, all nine supreme court judges go crazy.)

Maybe, there’s hope for the law after all?

“the court’s order released them of any liability”


Morally speaking that is horseshit.

Of course, coming from a judge, it is also legal chickenshit.

There is no honor on that bench.