"Before an execution date is set, Fort Hood shooter first faces years of appeals," is the AP report by Will Weissert. It's via the Daily Journal.
If Nidal Hasan plans to welcome a death sentence as a pathway to martyrdom, the rules of military justice won't let him go down without a fight — whether he likes it or not.
The Army psychiatrist was sentenced Wednesday to die for the 2009 Fort Hood shooting rampage that killed 13 people and wounded more than 30. But before an execution date is set, Hasan faces years, if not decades, of appeals. And this time, he won't be allowed to represent himself.
"If he really wants the death penalty, the appeals process won't let it happen for a very long time," said Joseph Gutheinz, a Texas attorney licensed by the United States Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces. "The military is going to want to do everything at its own pace. They're not going to want to let the system kill him, even if that's what he wants."
Now that Hasan's been sentenced to death, a written record of the trial will be produced and Fort Hood's commanding general will have the option of granting clemency. Assuming none is granted, the case record is then scrutinized by the appeals courts for the Army and armed forces.
If Hasan's case and death sentence are eventually affirmed, he could ask the U.S. Supreme Court for a review or file motions in federal civilian courts. The president, as the military commander in chief, also must sign off on a death sentence.
That process is anything but speedy. The military hasn't executed an active-duty U.S. soldier since 1961.
As the appeals proceed, Hasan is going to military death row at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas He was shot in the back during the rampage, paralyzing him from the waist down. He is confined to a wheelchair and requires specialized care — though the death row facility has a health clinic that apparently can meet his needs.
Military appeals courts have overturned 11 of the 16 death sentences of the last three decades — and that doesn't include former Senior Airman Andrew P. Witt, who is one of five men on military death row but whose sentence was ordered reopened recently on appeal.
There's no way to estimate how long the appeals process could take for Hasan or any other case. The longest current case is that of Ronald Gray, a former Army cook at Fort Bragg in North Carolina who was convicted in 1988 on 14 charges, including two premeditated murders.
Today's New York Times reports, "Death Penalty for Rampage at Fort Hood," by Manny Fernandez.
Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, the Army psychiatrist who admitted to killing 13 unarmed people at Fort Hood nearly four years ago, was sentenced to death by lethal injection by a jury on Wednesday, becoming one of only a handful of men on military death row.
Since the case against Major Hasan was overwhelming, his conviction was a near certainty, and the main question in the trial was whether he would receive the death penalty.
Prosecutors had from the start built a case for execution for an attack that a Senate report called the worst act of terrorism on American soil since Sept. 11, 2001. But Major Hasan, a Muslim, taunted the military justice system, refusing to put up a defense and suggesting in and out of court that death to him was but a means to martyrdom, leaving jurors to ponder whether to give him what he wanted.
His stance left the Army’s lead prosecutor, Col. Michael Mulligan, telling jurors during his closing argument on Wednesday morning that Major Hasan was not and never would be a martyr.
“Do not be fooled,” he told the 13 senior Army officers on the panel. “He is not giving his life. We are taking his life. This is not his gift to God. This is his debt to society.”
The jurors took a little more than two hours to decide on the sentence. If even one of them had objected to Major Hasan’s execution, he would have been sentenced to life in prison. The same jury on Friday found Major Hasan guilty of 45 counts of murder and attempted murder.
Earlier coverage of the Fort Hood military death penalty trial begins at the link.