FORT HOOD, Texas - In an opinion dated Dec. 3, the highest military appellate court ordered the removal of Col. Gregory Gross, trial judge in the Maj. Nidal M. Hasan court martial, here for the appearance of bias.
The Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces, which sits in Washington, D.C., said in its 10-page opinion that because of a variety of factors, a reasonable person “would harbor doubts about the military judge’s impartiality.”
The court did not say that the trial judge was actually biased, but instead ordered the removal for the appearance of bias. The court also set aside the six previous contempt convictions against Hasan.
The CAAF did not issue any ruling concerning whether Hasan has a right to wear his beard under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
The court reasoned that given their order to remove the trial judge, “We need not and do not decide if and how RFRA might apply to Appellant’s [Hasan’s] beard.”
Given the appellate court’s ruling, a new trial judge will be detailed to the court martial for Hasan. That judge will then decide when the case goes back on the record in open court.
As of this time, a new judge has not been detailed.
The accused, Hasan, is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.