An Inmate’s Right to Proper Medical Care Is A Legal And Moral Issue

Why all the fuss, some have asked, about Major Hasan’s medical treatment while in the Jail Infirmary? 

It goes without saying, an inmate has a right to whatever care is necessary to treat serious disabilities.  See., e.g., Frost v. Agnos, 152F.3d 1124 (9th Cir. 1998)(holding that a pretrial detainee who wore a leg brace and relied on crutches was entitled to accessible shower facilities); Davis v. Hall, 992 F. 2d 151 (8th Cir. 1993)(inmate sent to facility not equipped to accommodate disability); Hicks v. Frey, 992 F. 2d 1450 (6th Cir. 1993)(paraplegic kept in room, denying mobility and without proper facilities); Mackline v. Freake, 650 F.2d 885 (7th Cir. 1981)(paraplegic given no physical therapy); Leach v. Shelby County Sheriff, 891 F.2d 130 (8th Cir. 1993)(paraplegic inmate given inadequate mattress and no assistance in cleaning himself); Candelaria v. Coughlin, 787 F. Supp. 368, 378 (S.D. N.Y. 1992)(paraplegic had need for “adequate wheelchair and for orthopedic treatment [and]  . . . liquid dietary supplement”).   See also U.S. Dept of Justice, Federal Standards for Prisons and Jail sec 5.27 (1980); ABA Standards for Justice sec 23.5-1 (commentary)(1986); American Correctional Assn. Standards for Adult Correctional Institutions, Standard 3-4358 (1990); National Commission on Correctional Health Care, Standards for Health Services in Jail J-57 (May 1999); Commission of Accreditation for Corrections, Certification Standards for Health Care Programs (HC-077 (1989).  Failure to provide handicapped-accessible facilities can also result in liability.  LaFaut v. Smith, 934 F.2d 389 (4th Cir. 1987)(Justice Powell); Weeks v. Chaboudy, 984 F.2d 185, 187 (6th Cir. 1993); Hicks v. Frey, supra ( officer in charge of jail liable because he received daily reports of conditions).  It is clear that, in an appropriate case, discrimination against disable inmates could violate the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.  See also Rainey v. County of Delaware, 18 Nat’l Disability Law Rep. para 208, 2000 WL 1056456 (E.D. Pa. 2000)county and corporate owner of the prison could not assert an Eleventh Amendment or qualified immunity defense because it is well-settled that a paraplegic confined to a wheelchair has a serious medical condition that warrants recognition under the Eighth Amendment).  The Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits discrimination against disabled people and does apply, in appropriate cases, to inmates.  Additionally, The Rehabilitation Act also prohibits discrimination against disable people in a federally funded “program or activity.”  The Rehabilitation Act has been held to apply to prisons and, in 1998, the Supreme Court unanimously held that the ADA also applies to state prisons.  See Pennsylvania Department of Correction v. Yeskey, 524 U.S. 206 (1998).

Need we say anything more?

Reporting and Reacting to Suspected War Crimes

The soon to be released AR 15-6 investigation will hopefully document how the US Army responded to Major Hasan’s reports of suspected war crimes.   

What should a person do when they either hear about or observe suspected war crimes?   All of us probably will react differently – indeed, some might not even react at all.   Is is, however, a very perplexing issue that has profound legal and moral dimensions.  It undoubtedly will have a significant impact on an individual’s state of mind. 

For example, what is your reaction upon seeing the following recently disclosed combat footage – http://www.collateralmurder.com/  ?  Should persons knowledgable about it have reported the matter to superior military authorities?  Should it have been investigated by military legal authorities?  If it was not earlier investigated, should it be investigated now?

Army Spends $207,000 to Jail Hasan – But Lightly Dismisses Serious Medical Issues

After initial complaints were raised with Jail officials concerning the very troubling appearance of a bedsore very shortly after Major Hasan was moved from an Army hospital to the Bell County Jail, the Army dispatched a physician to the jail.  A photo of the sore was taken and presumably a report was made – but the doctor has not returned to the Jail.   So much for continuity of care.  And, although the unit commander made a perfunctory visit, he too has not been seen nor heard from. 

In addition to the bedsore, the Defense has repeatedly complained that Major Hasan is suffering from chills.  Efforts to get the temperatature increased in his jail infirmary room (as was done at BAMC) or to permit a space heater, as well as to secure another blanket – well, these efforts have thus far been unsuccessful. 

The health concerns are well-placed.  Spinal cord injury patients often have difficulty maintaining a stable core body temperature. They tend to take on the room temperature; if it is hot, they are hot, and conversely if it is cold, they will be cold. Patients commonly arrive at the acute care setting with hypothermia or hyperthermia, and must be managed by someone skilled in the rehabilitation of acute spinal cord injury.  The chills Major Hasan is experiencing may very well also reflect other internal medical problems.  It is sad that the US Army has seen fit to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars for a round-the-clock guard to watch over an inmate who is virtually immobile, but seems to dismiss his valid health-related complaints.

Senator Susan Collins Blasts Obama and DOD for “an inexplicable determination to stalemate and slow-walk our investigation.”

There should  be no doubt as to why Army prosecutors have resisted or refused to disclosure important evidence in the Hasan case.  The Washington Post recently reported that, in an April 12 letter, lawyers for the Justice and Defense departments said some of the requested materials could compromise Hasan’s prosecution.   Both Senators Lieberman and Collins have correctly stated that position is total nonsense. 

Shortly we will request government lawyers to provide the Hasan Defense with a copy of the referenced letter.   We are willing to bet that prosecutors will similarly stall on dislosing even this letter of so-called explanation for nondislosure of relevant evidence.

Febbo-Hasan Investigative Report Expected Shortly

A forgotten story in the Hasan case is that the current senior legal advisor (LTC Febbo) at Fort Hood, Texas, already has acknowledged that he cannot participate in any legal advice associated with this controversial case.  Of course, that leaves open the question about how any of his subordinates can be expected to be impartial against this backdrop.  Fairness, however, does not seem to have been a controlling purpose in the investigation and/or prosecution in this case. 

It is expected that the US Army will release the AR 15-6 investigation associated with the Febbo-Hasan connection.   Like much of the other requested discovery in this case, the disclosure of this important information comes far too late in the pretrial process.  As readers know, the Defense still has not been in receipt of associated FBI reports. 

For an earlier national news media report about the Feebo connection, see the following:  Febbo and Hasan’s Mindset

Justifiable Outrage – Issue Subpoenas Now!

I regret to say our efforts to obtain this information necessary to conduct a thorough investigation of this homeland terrorist act have been met much foot dragging, very limited assistance, and changing reasons why the administration cannot provide us with the information that we have requested”                                                                      Senator Joe Lieberman

He added, “The response of the executive branch … has been inadequate and unreasonable.” 

Senator Collins, who also joined Lieberman at the recent news conference, accused the administration of “spoon feeding us selected facts rather than giving us information to the data and individuals that we need.”

“The president said that he not only welcomed a congressional investigation; he said that Congress should investigate. And we took him at is word,” Collins said. “The administration has prevented us … from gaining access to the information that we need to effectively carry out our constitutional role.”

Collins said it was “most disturbing” the information her committee seeks has been given to three groups that have been conducting investigations on the administration’s behalf.

Sounds like the same complaint the Hasan Defense Team has been making over the past several months. 

Newsweek Reports Obama Administration is Stonewalling on Disclosure

Although we have been complaining about this for months, national news media now realize that there is a deliberate plan not to disclose important information.  See the following recent articles for more details:

Senators Accuse Obama Administration of Stonewalling Ft. Hood Probe

http://blog.newsweek.com/blogs/declassified/archive/2010/04/15/senators-accuse-obama-administration-of-stonewalling-ft-hood-probe.aspx

http://messageboards.aol.com/aol/en_us/articles.php?boardId=537732&articleId=413181&func=6&filterHidden=true&filterUnhidden=false&filterRead=false

http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE63E5OX20100416

This recent development should come as no surprise – the Administration early on opposed Congressional inquiry – see the report below:

http://ncaabbs.com/showthread.php?tid=400189

http://hotair.com/archives/2009/11/19/senate-demands-answers-from-obama-administration-on-ft-hood-failures/

Of course, the original White House and DoD position was that there would be open and full disclosure.  See http://www.politicsdaily.com/2009/11/19/defense-secretary-robert-gates-pledges-full-disclosure-of-fort-h/     Turns out that was a lie.

The List of Undisclosed Classified Information Grows

Displaying unparalleled skill in a game they play too often, various agencies of the federal government appear to be conspiring to cover up research that was conducted . . . . . 

Study of Military Extremism – Could Hasan Have Been Stopped

http://thenewamerican.com/index.php/usnews/crime/2369-study-of-military-extremism-could-hasan-have-been-stopped

The Obama-Gates Plan – Hide The Ball and Help Prosecutors

Confronted with long overdue Senatorial requests for information and now faced with the threat of subpoenas being issued next week, President Barack Hussein Obama and his minions are frantically attempting to placate US Senators and the public-at-large.   They are doing a poor  job!

As readers already know, US Senators Lieberman and Collins have requested access to the same information that the Hasan Defense Team has been demanding since December 09.  Sadly, the esteemed Senators and Hasan Defense Team members have been stymied in their efforts to secure disclosure of this information.  Indeed, the Washington Post article cited below,  characterizes Commander in Chief’s obstinance in no uncertain terms, i.e. “stonewalling in requests for access to FBI agents, documents or Hasan’s personnel file from the Defense Department.”

Nondisclosure to the Hasan Defense Team and to the US Senators violates every sense of fairness.  As stated in the Washington Post article, “The [Obama] . . . . administration “wants to avoid a barrage of defense lawyer requests that could force the government to reveal information it wants to save for a criminal trial.” 

Just who is playing games?  The Distinguished US Senators?  The Hasan Defense Team?  Or the Army-Obama Administration?    Readers certainly should not fault the Hasan Defense Team for requesting the same information solicited by these US Senators. 

Within the next several weeks, developments on these important matters will determine whether  a fair  military justice proceeding can be had in the Hasan case.  “Administration lawyers” – not otherwise identified – are said to have argued, “Disclosure of some of the material . . . . could compromise the pending prosection.”    Have they forgotten that the Defense is entitled to pretrial discovery?   

Against this background, it appears that nobody in this Administration or at Fort Hood care about conducting fair proceedings.  We therefore hope these valiant US Senators will stand by their word and issue their subpoenas on Monday!  Our right to a fair trial is at stake.         

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/04/15/AR2010041504298.html

Gates-Obama Will Not Share Fort Hood Evidence With US Senate

 

In the next several weeks, we will have an opportunity to see how much President Barack Hussein Obama and senior officials in his Administration believe in a fair trial.  News media reports, both here and abroad, have highlight the standoff between the Obama administration and the US Senate.

Apparently, the Obama Administration has been given “until [this coming] Monday to provide the information or face legal action.”  Kudos to Senators Lieberman and Collins for demanding release of the same information that the Hasan Defense Team has been requesting since December 2009. 

The Obama-Gates playbook is clear – Army prosecutors will have their complete support and neither the Senatorial requests for information nor the Hasan Defense Team’s repeated requests for this same information and legitimate pretrial discovery will stand in their way. 

If  these events convincingly demonstrate that are getting rather ugly between the White House and Senate, you might begin to understand why the prosecution-defense scenario at Fort Hood is even worse.   

http://www.euronews.net/newswires/218615-us-wont-share-ft-hood-evidence-with-senate-gates/

Siding Only With Prosecutors, Secretary Gates Refuses Disclosure to US Senators and Hasan Defense

Nobody should have any doubts now that Army prosecutors have been stonewalling on providing important pretrial discovery.  Recent comments by Secretary Gates – see below – are clear evidence that the Hasan case continues to be choreographed out of Washington.   His comments also provide a clue as to why the Defense request for the security investigation directed by President Barack Hussein Obama likewise has not been disclosed.  That latter report, prepared by White House Security Advisor John Brennan, was supposedly completed last November.   The list of outstanding defense discovery requests goes on and on and on . . . . .

However viewed, it is patently clear that Major Hasan is being denied pretrial predural due process. 

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/us/Pentagon-not-hiding-information-on-Fort-Hood-case-Gates/articleshow/5822967.cms

http://www.nytimes.com/reuters/2010/04/16/world/international-uk-usa-security-forthood.html

http://www.euronews.net/newswires/218615-us-wont-share-ft-hood-evidence-with-senate-gates/

Senators Lieberman & Collins Share Hasan Defense Frustration!!!

As many readers know, the Hasan Defense Team has now for many months requested disclosure of material and important information associated with the law enforcement investigation in this important case.  But repeatedly, the Hasan Defense Team has ben stymied in its reasonable efforts to get access to this information – i.e., associated investigations; the classified inquiries directed by the White House and others; and even, yes, a complete copy of  the DOD-directed investigation. 

While the Hasan Defense Team has been held in the dark, it now appears that senior Congressional officials have suffered a similar fate.  Just today, senior Senators Joe Lieberman and Susan Collins expressed their frustration about how “the administration has prevented us . . . . from getting access to the information that [we] need to effectively carry out our constitutional role.”  

Thank you, Senators Lieberman and Collins for reinforcing what the Hasan Defense Team has consistently been complaining about since December.  We agree with the Senators in condemning the government response has been “inadequate and unreasonable.”  We agree with the Senators’ public statement, reported in national news media (see Hasan – Lieberman Threatens Subpoena) that there has been “much foot-dragging, very limited assistance, and changing reasons why the administration cannot provide us with the information that we have requested.”       

Senators Lieberman and Collins – Thank Y0u – indeed, the Hasan Defense Team has been voicing the same complaints to senior US Army officials at Fort Hood, as well as with the special appointed US Army prosecutors.   But, like you, they have been unresponsive and we too have been left in the dark.  

Senator Collins complains that she finds particularly “disturbing” that the same requested information has been “given to three groups that have been conducting investigations on the administrations’ behalf.” Senator Collins can rest assured that no information has been provided to the Hasan Defense Team. Like Senators Lieberman and Collins- well. we too, have been deprived of proper discovery and, like here and others, been left in the dark. 

The Senators look for information, now long overdue.  By comparison, the Hasan Defense Team simply looks for a a fair hearing and trial.  It appears, however, that neither of our objectives will be served by the current Administration or specially designated prosecutors in the Hasan case.   The evidence continues to mount that Major Hasan is not being treated fairly. 

From this blog site – Thank You!

Magistrate Court Gives Prosecutors Time To Respond On Why Major Hasan Should Be In Pretrial Confinement

The Defendant can’t walk or crawl, but the US Army feels compelled to keep him in pretrial confinement at the exorbitant cost of almost $1500.00 per day.  Sadly, that heavy price tag did not prevent the Major from developing a bed sore within 24-hours of his incarceration.  Seems like it is all part of a big show by the government to portray the Major as a flight risk and/or danger to others.  Sadly, the most immediate threat is getting the Defendant proper medial treatment.  After complaining about the lack of command involvement, the Major’s unit commander made a perfunctory jailhouse visit today.

Army Prosecutors Ask For A Delay Before Responding

Army Prosecutors have asked for a delay until 21 April before responding to the Defense Request for Reconsideration of the the decision to place Major Hasan in pretrial confinement. 

Yesterday, the US Army finally dispatched medical personnel to examine and evaluate the bedsore that Major Hasan developed within 24-hours of being “housed” in the Bell County Jail.  He has received no visits from his chain of command – for them, it appears, he has become a forgotten soldier.  It is a sad commentary on the current status of Army leadership.