Today’s news: Shellie Zimmerman gets a slap on the wrist for perjury and Major Nidal Hasan commits slow motion suicide

August 28, 2013

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Good morning again.

Shellie Zimmerman is going to plead guilty to a misdemeanor with a 1 year probation recommendation from the prosecution.

Not surprising, given the acquittal of her husband, but this “deal” will do nothing to dispel suspicions that the acquittal was a prearranged outcome.

My comment: She committed perjury, the prosecution can prove it, and this is not even a slap on the wrist. Ridiculous outcome.

In other news today, the New York Times has a good article today on the ethical dilemma that Army lawyer, Lt. Col. Kris R. Poppe, is suffering through as he is forced to helplessly watch his former client, Major Nidal Hasan, commit suicide in slow motion by insisting on representing himself, which he has a right to do, and then doing nothing except passively watch the proceedings inevitably end in a death sentence.

After the judge allowed Major Hasan to represent himself, she told his former Army lawyers to remain his standby counsel. They offer him procedural guidance in navigating the military court system, but cannot supply him with legal advice. They remain by his side in case Major Hasan or the judge seeks their return.

The odd role — to sit by his former client while prohibited from actually representing him, and to watch him purposefully inch closer to a death sentence — has posed an ethical dilemma for Colonel Poppe, 50, a lawyer from small-town Ohio with more than 30 years of military service who has been working on Major Hasan’s case since May 2010. He has argued in court that assisting Major Hasan in any capacity was helping him reach his goal of a death sentence, and that such an arrangement violated his and the two other former lawyers’ professional and ethical obligations. He asked the judge to limit their role, but the judge ordered them to remain as standby counsel.

I feel for him. I have a pretty good idea what he is feeling. It’s a waking nightmare from which you cannot escape, an awful situation to be forced to helplessly stand by and watch, especially when you know that you might be able to change the outcome, if only you could speak.

No matter what happens, he will never forget this and he might even retire and abandon the practice of law in horror and disgust much as I eventually did.

Just another day’s work in America’s criminal justice sewer.


Major Nidal Hasan is already dead

August 26, 2013

Monday, August 26, 2013

Good morning:

Major Nidal Hasan, an Army psychiatrist and devout Muslim, was convicted last week by a military jury of killing 13 people during a shooting rampage at Fort Hood. The sentencing phase of his trial begins today. The jury that found him guilty has two options: death or life without parole. Since he is representing himself and only cross examined three of the 90 witnesses who testified against him, there is little doubt that he is passively seeking a death sentence. The only question is whether the jury will oblige and grant his wish.

Pursuant to Faretta v. California, 422 U.S. 806 (1975), a defendant has a Sixth Amendment right to represent himself, if he is competent and unequivocally demands to do so. Judges typically appoint stand-by counsel to be present and available to take over, if a defendant changes his mind and that was done in this case. However, Major Hasan has shown no inclination to change his mind.

He wanted to present a defense that he acted in defense of unnamed insurgents who would be killed by U.S. soldiers, but the trial judge, Colonel Tara Osborn, would not permit him to do so. As you all know from Trayvon’s case, a person cannot lawfully kill another person in self-defense or defense of another unless he reasonably believes that he or the person he is defending is in imminent danger of being killed or suffering great bodily harm. Major Hasan’s belief that some unidentified insurgents were in danger of being killed or suffering great bodily harm at some unknown time in the future as a result of actions taken by some unidentified soldier, even if true, cannot satisfy the imminent requirement. Therefore, the judge’s ruling was proper, as a matter of secular law.

Major Hasan did not care about secular law when he opened fire on the soldiers he killed and injured.

Major Hasan intended to die. No one killed him that day, but they will kill him some day and this trial is just a slow motion way to get there as he passively submits to the process and patiently awaits the inevitable execution.

As far as Major Hasan is concerned, he is already dead.


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