More insanity — allowing Hasan to represent himself will just give him a platform for his Islamic dawah. “Political ploy or crazy?,” by Philip Jankowski for the Killeen Daily Herald, May 26 (thanks to Kevin):
The impending court-martial for Maj. Nidal Hasan was already shaping up to be a historic trial, but now many in the legal community are shrugging at what could happen with Hasan wishing to represent himself.
The wide consensus from lawyers interviewed for this article is that military judge Col. Tara Osborn will have to grant the man accused of killing 13 people at Fort Hood on Nov. 5, 2009, his request to act as his own attorney.
A defendant representing himself in a criminal trial is uncommon, but not unheard of in all levels of offenses, including death penalty trials.
But no precedent has been set for a death penalty court-martial. Hasan places Osborn in an especially tough position, because he has previously stated he wishes to plead guilty to all charges.
That would be permissible in state or federal courts, but military justice rules prevent soldiers from pleading guilty to capital offenses when the death penalty is on the table.
“I am really glad I am not the person making that decision,” said New York attorney Ron Kuby, who was involved in a mass murder trial where his client decided to act as his own attorney in 1995.
Hasan has been called a self-radicalized Muslim, and could be acting with political motivations. He may be seeking martyrdom, and could use the trial as a platform to espouse his beliefs. Or he may just want to give up, said Richard Rosen, a former staff judge advocate at Fort Hood.
The trial could turn into “one long guilty plea,” placing Osborn in the precarious situation of essentially allowing the 42-year-old Army psychiatrist to plead guilty by not offering any defense, while upholding his constitutional right to act as his own attorney.
“I don’t think that is a box the judge can get out of “” I have to let him do what I am not permitting to let him do,” Kuby said. “Good luck, colonel.”
Osborn will take up the matter Wednesday. Though she will urge Hasan multiple times to rethink his decision, she is constitutionally bound to allow him to act as his own attorney as long as Hasan is determined to be mentally competent.
He is charged with 13 counts of premeditated murder and 32 counts of attempted premeditated murder….