Constitutional Law

Another Twist in Ft. Hood Shooting Spree Suspect Beard Dispute: Shaving Appeal Premature, Court Says

In what could be interpreted as an opportunity for a military judge to save face by taking another approach, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces ruled Monday that an appeal of a beard-shaving showdown concerning the defendant in the capital murder case over the 2009 Fort Hood shooting spree is premature.

While the court-martial will now proceed, the Associated Press reports, Army Maj. Nidal Hasan can appeal the trial judge’s threat to have him forcibly shaved for trial if and when the shaving order is actually put in writing, the appellate court ruled.

Col. Gregory Gross has previously banned the psychiatrist from court hearings, and at last report had held Nidal in contempt and fined him $5,000 for violating military regulations that require personnel to be clean-shaven. Hasan’s lawyers say the beard is an expression of his Muslim faith and have sought a religious exemption.

The Austin American-Statesman’s Austin Legal blog and CNN’s Security Clearance page also have stories.

Earlier coverage: “Denied Religious Exemption, Defendant in Fort Hood Shootings Must Shave Beard Before Court-Martial” “Military Appeals Court Halts Fort Hood Shooting Case Over Beard Dispute”

Statesman: “Hasan’s beard a ‘direct challenge’ to judge’s authority, petition says’

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