For several months, the Hasan Defense Team has been requesting the expert assistance of Ms. Juliet Yackel as a defense mitigation specialist. However, the Defense has been frustrated in its efforts to get this important segment of the Defense Team finalized so that we can begin preparing for the Article 32 Investigation. The Special Court-Martial Convening Authority, Colonel Lamb, initially denied the request for Ms. Yackel, arguing inter alia that because she also happened to be an attorney (as are many of the foremost mitigation specialists in the United States), her appointment would run afoul of restrictions on funding a civilian attorney for a military defendant. Efforts to get the Commanding General at Fort Hood to reverse Colonel Lamb’s decision were unsuccessful and so the Defense provided Colonel Lamb with additional information related to the issue in a request for reconsideration. For example, he was reminded that both government and defense military counsel frequently retain the assistance at government expense of experts in various fields and who also happen to be attorneys. More significantly, he was advised that the US Army had approved Ms. Yackel as a defense requested mitigation specialist in the on-going capital murder case United States v. Davila, at Fort Lewis, Washington.
Today, Colonel Lamb on again denied the defense request. A copy of his decision can be seen here. Hasan – CA Action on Defense Re-Request for Mitigation Specialist – 23 Mar 10
Colonel Lamb seems transfixed on the notion that the Defense is trying to retain another attorney. He obviously overlooks several important facts and continues to premise his decision on questionable legal norms. Let’s not forget that he is being advised by several prosecutors. The bottom line is that the prosecutors are trying to dictate the composition of the defense team.
Colonel Lamb’s position in this important matter is best described as unreasonable and discriminatory. There is simply no basis for distinguishing the Defense Requests for Ms. Yackel as a Mitigation Specialist in the courts-martial of Davila (Fort Lewis) and Hasan (Fort Hood). A General (with the advice of a Staff Judge Advocate) approved the request at Fort Lewis and a Colonel at Fort Hood (advised by prosecutors) has denied what is virtually the same request. The US Army should be expected to speak with one voice.
Against this backdrop, it is not surprising that many outside observers will invariably conclude that the reason Major Hasan is not being provided the services of Ms. Yackel is because he is Muslim.