FORT HOOD, Texas — Military Judge Col. Gregory A. Gross announced his ruling on the defense continuance request in United States vs. Major Nidal M. Hasan. He partially granted the defense request for a delay to a new trial date of August 20th.
Incredibly, the military judge denied a well-based Defense request for appointment of a Defense Initiated Victim Outreach (DIVO) Specialist. Let’s not forget that Army prosecutors had no difficulty in securing a new Victim Witness Liaison Specialist who basically works for Government counsel. The sheer number of alleged victims in the case – together with the large number of other persons who responded to a survey at Fort Hood and claimed to be adversely affected by the events of November 2009 – should have been an almost per se justification to employ a DIVO. The use of DIVOs, particularly in the capital litigation context of several high profile cases, has been recognized by various court cases. This will be addressed in more detail in subsequent blog postings.
The nominal cost associated with the employment of a DIVO pales in comparison to the funding that the US Army has already expended to conduct a show trial in the Hasan case. By some accounts, several million dollars have been budgeted to try the case. Eventually, a full accounting of the taxpayer money spent to prosecute the case should be disclosed. For example, the US Army spent over $100,000 to upgrade the court facility; the Army continues to transport the defendant by helicopter from the Bell County Jail to Fort Hood; and the Army funded a prosecution-team with personnel, some of whom were PCS’d to Fort Hood for the sole purpose of prosecuting Major Hasan. More examples abound because, for several years, the US Army has lodged a full-press effort to pursue the death penalty in the Hasan case, never sparing a dime to support the prosecution. The US Government and US Army have withheld evidence from US Senators and the defense.
Clearly, it has been a one-sided effort . Bathrooms were renovated in the courthouse while the Defendant was deprived of basic sanitary essentials in pretrial confinement. Let’s not forget – the Army has deliberately chosen to make this a show trial. Sadly, the American public will soon learn that this trial process is not something we should be proud of. Indeed – we are now starting to see the first chapter in a sad story about how the US Army and the military justice system operated at the expense of justice and fairness in this particular case.
The importance of DIVO has been well-recognized. See:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
DATE: April 10, 2012 3:48:57 PM CDT
Military judge rules on April 10 pre-trial motions in Major Hasan case
FORT HOOD, Texas – In the case of U.S. vs. Maj. Nidal Hasan, the trial judge, Col. Gregory Gross, heard arguments from both sides regarding pending motions April 10 in the Lawrence J. Williams Judicial Center here.
The first motion was the defense’s request to appoint a victim outreach specialist. A Defense-Initiated Victim Outreach specialist was requested by the defense and would be appointed by the court to reach out to victim-survivors of capital crimes and act as the link between the victim-survivor and the defense team. After hearing from witnesses and argument from both sides, Gross denied the defense motion.
In the second motion, the defense counsel requested a continuance until October 9, 2012.
Defense counsel argued that the delay is necessary because of the large volume of documents and other evidence already delivered to the defense and the anticipated continued disclosure of additional documents and evidence by the prosecution.
Government counsel argued that the defense has had ample time to review the evidence and requested that the defense counsel file any further motions as soon as possible.
Gross did not make a decision on whether to grant the motion for a continuance. He indicated that he will schedule another hearing in the near future at which time he will issue his decision.
Gross also denied a defense motion for the production of discovery containing communications between the President of the United States and other parties. This motion had been filed and litigated at an earlier hearing.
The accused is considered innocent until and unless proven guilty.
For more information contact:
Fort Hood Public Affairs Office
fax: (254) 288-2750
Fort Hood, TX 76522