The Volokh Conspiracy

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Death Sentence of Nidal Hasan, the Fort Hood Multiple Murderer, Affirmed by U.S. Army Court of Criminal Appeals


The opinion, handed down Friday, is here. The issues are outside my core expertise, but the case seemed interested enough that I thought I'd note it, especially since I haven't seen it covered elsewhere. Here is the introduction and conclusion:

On 5 November 2009, at Fort Hood, Texas, appellant fired into a crowd of soldiers attending a pre-deployment Solder Readiness Processing (SRP) in a building dedicated to that purpose. Appellant's attack killed thirteen individuals and wounded thirty-two.

On 23 August 2013, an officer panel sitting as a general court-martial convicted appellant of thirteen specifications of premeditated murder and thirty-two specifications of attempted murder in violation of Articles 118 and 80, Uniform Code of Military Justice, 10 U.S.C. §§ 918 and 880 (2006 & Supp. II 2009) [UCMJ]. The panel sentenced appellant to death, dismissal, and forfeiture of all pay and allowances. The convening authority approved the adjudged sentence. Appellant was represented by military counsel for most of the pretrial proceedings, but appeared pro se during the merits and sentencing portions of the trial. This case is now pending automatic appellate review, pursuant to Article 66, UCMJ.

Appellate defense counsel raise fourteen assigned errors on appeal. We find all claims lack merit and affirm the findings and sentence. Nonetheless, the following seven assigned errors bear discussion: (1) whether the military judge erred in allowing appellant to represent himself; (2) whether the military judge erred in allowing appellant to represent himself at sentencing in a capital case; (3) whether the military judge erred in denying standby counsel's motion for the independent presentation of mitigation evidence; (4) whether the Staff Judge Advocate was disqualified from providing the Article 34, UCMJ, pretrial advice; (5) whether the military judge should have sua sponte excused certain panel members; (6) whether the military judge erred in denying appellant's motions for change of venue due to pretrial publicity and heightened security measures; and (7) whether this court can conduct its review pursuant to Article 66, UCMJ, because appellate defense counsel could not access the entire record of trial….

On consideration of the entire record, we AFFIRM the findings of guilty and the sentence.