Army prosecutor Lt. Col. Michael E. Mulligan’s closing arguments are what anyone would call thinly veiled religious bigotry. Mulligan declared, “He is the enemy,” calling his murders “Akbar’s war,” and that “this is the hatred that lies in his heart.” He displayed, according to media accounts, excerpts from Akbar’s thirteen-year-old computer diary on two screens along with pictures of his victims. “
The hullabaloo about whether the identity of the jurors in the Hasan case should be disclosed warrants close scrutiny, particularly when so much else associated with the case has been withheld from public disclosure.
“Knowledge of juror identities allows the public to verify the impartiality of key participants in the administration of justice, and thereby ensures fairness, the appearance of fairness and public confidence in that system,” a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals in Boston (1st Cir.) said in 1990. The court overturned a federal judge’s refusal to give reporters the names and addresses of jurors who sat on a high-profile criminal trial.
When the case of United States v. Nidal Hasan is finally litigated, it should not be forgotten that the US Army and its failings will also be on trial. Senator Cornyn now joins the chorus of other senior government officials who have properly concluded that the US Army is also at fault for this tragedy. Those governmental failings alone should have been a basis for not referring the case for capital disposition. As Senator Cornyn recently noted,
Our government failed the brave Americans who were killed and wounded at Fort Hood that day. The devastation inflicted on them was preventable, and we must make it a high priority to ascertain exactly where the system broke down . . . .
Read his full letter to the FBI http://texasgopvote.com/issues/restore-families/senator-cornyn-fbi-make-fort-hood-report-public-004428
Numerous recent news articles have contained the following commentary concerning the panel selection in the Hasan case,
Army officials had already decided that the jury pool would not come from Fort Sill, Okla., as initially planned, because that fact had been publicized. Defense attorneys said that 1,133 officers were available as jurors from Fort Hood but nearly 250 more were sought from other Army posts, and Fort Hood’s leader whittled the jury pool to 147 — none of them Muslims.
The suggestion seems to be that there was some sort of impropriety in publically releasing the fact that the original court-martial convening order (CMCO) was composed entirely of officers from Fort Sill, Oklahoma. As readers are aware, there is nothing secretive about court-martial convening orders. Court-Martial Convening Orders are not classified; they are public documents. Obviously, Army officials are not very comfortable with the panel selection procedures followed in selecting the panel members and, in that regard, they have reason to be concerned.
A federal judge yesterday ordered Vincent (Chin) Gigante to clean up his act, saying the reputed mobster had better shave and put on some nice clothes if he wants to attend his own trial.
Defendant’s exclusion from courtroom because of a beard would, without more, seemingly not rise to the level of disruptive behavior previously considered on this colorful topic.