Wednesday, June 5, 2013

More delay on Hasan’s motion to continue

"You can't create an issue and then use the issue as a challenge for cause," Col. Tara Osborn admonishing Maj. Malik Hasan on rules of courts martial

Ft. Hood - Prosecutors and defense attorneys won’t find out until next Tuesday if the judge will give Maj. Abu Nidal Malik Hasan an additional 3 months to prepare his self defense for the murder of 13 fellow soldiers and the attempted premeditated murder of an additional 32 wounded on November 9, 2009.

Maj. Hasan has until 10:30 a.m. on Monday, June 10, to produce a supplemental statement of the facts in support of his motion to continue the case so he can revise his witness list in order to prepare a defense of acting to defend others’ lives against the intended hostilities of unarmed U.S. Army servicemen being readied at the Ft. Hood Soldier Readiness Center for deployment to Afghanistan.

Court will re-convene at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, June 11, so the judge can make her decision known.

The day’s proceedings regard a hearing to consider the continuance motion based on a defense strategy the former psychiatrist, a Palestinian-American and devout adherent to Islam, was attempting to save the lives of the leadership of the Taliban in the Emirate of Afghanistan.

The court session began a half hour late when Col. Tara Osborn dressed down the lead prosecutor because she did not get the government’s reply to Major Hasan’s brief until nearly half past 11 a.m. - just minutes before the scheduled time for the hearing.

“This is a court of law,” she said in a tired, matter-of-fact tone of voice. “I hve to consider with thoughtful deliberation...It’s obvious to me that both sides need more time to prepare.”

The lead prosecutor bounded to his feet, saying, “Your honor, we sent those to you at 10:22 a.m...The transmission across post is the problem.” He said he thinks there may be some confusion over the difference between eastern standard time and central time.

“I think we have gotten the cart before the horse,” the judge replied. She announced her finding that Maj. Hasan does not have the tools in place to prepare his proffer of motions he has made; and secondly, there is ample confusion among the three defense attorneys he dismissed as to the scope of their role as standby counsel.

There followed a lengthy, rambling discussion about the unavailability of internet access at the Bell County Justice Center, a hurdle that the judge told the lead defense lawyer, Col. Poppe, he and his two other colleagues will just have to work to overcome.

She ordered the three to stay on the job after turning down a motion to withdraw as defense counsel by Col. Martin, who has been banished to the spectator seats on a motion to dismiss him from the case, even as a standby counsel.

The three defense lawyers expressed a gloomy outlook as to what the licensing authorities in the three separate states where they have been admitted to the bar will say about their providing legal advice to a client who has obtained a favorable ruling on a motion to release them from his case.

Considering the fact that the Major has changed his mind three times in the matter of defense counsel, the judge ordered them to stay on the job and find a way to work with the licensing authorities.

The Major first decided he did not wish to be represented by Col. Tom Galligan, a former judge of the Army’s Third Judicial Circuit. After obtaining the representation of Col. Poppe and his two colleagues, the judge pointed out, he changed his mind for the second time and made a motion to relieve them.

Upon her advice to retain them as standby counsel, he changed his mind for the third time and chose to have them serve as his standby counsel.

Col. Poppe continued to beseech the judge, saying that they need time to research the legal propriety of allowing a former client to obtain legal advice following their release.

He asked her to either modify or rescind her order.

The judge countered his argument by pointing out that paralegals and law students constantly perform legal research for clients of law offices with no repercussions.

“Your honor, we have a disagreement...When a paralegal or an intern provides legal research, it is given through an attorney who says, ‘This is it.’”

The judge further ordered defense counsel to provide her with assurance that Maj. Hasan has all legal materials necessary to conduct his own defense, including making arrangements to have internet access at a special office provided in a trailer adjacent to the courthouse and their assurance that they will bring hard copies of materials he cannot obtain at the jail due to the internet blackout policy there by the end of business hours today, Wednesday, June 5.

As visitors filed out of the courtroom, they were greeted with soldiers holding loaded M-16 assault rifles on one-point slings, at the ready, in case of any breach of security as they started their march back to the media staging area a half-mile distant.

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