Tomorrow begins the Article 32, UCMJ, hearing, prefatory to a general court-martial.
NPR leads with:
Dozens of people will take the witness stand in a military courtroom over the next few weeks to describe the pain of bullets piercing their bodies and the sight of fellow soldiers lying in pools of blood.
But this hearing is not about an attack in Iraq or Afghanistan. It’s a key step in the case against an Army psychiatrist accused of gunning down more than 40 fellow service members and civilian workers last year in a rampage at Fort Hood.
Nearly a year after the shootings, fundamental questions linger. Was Hasan another ”workplace” violent offender? Was he a radicalised extremist who should have been removed from the military? Was he a tool of radical Islamic leaders abroad who reportedly were in contact with him and spurred him on, and who immediately applauded the shootings?
The Article 32, UCMJ, hearing may not tell us this.
A defense attorney on Thursday blocked a mental evaluation for the Army psychiatrist accused in last year’s shooting rampage at Fort Hood, saying it should not be conducted before a hearing to determine whether his client will stand trial.
John Galligan, the lead defense attorney for Maj. Nidal Hasan, said Thursday that he gave a three-member military mental health panel written objections about the exam.
The panel must determine whether Hasan is competent to stand trial, and also will determine Hasan’s mental status the day of the Nov. 5 shooting that left 13 dead and nearly three dozen wounded on the Texas Army post.
Galligan said after he gave the panel his objections, they went inside the jail to see Hasan, who signed a document that said: "I do not wish to voluntarily participate in this exam under the current conditions and time frame." The panel signed the document and left, Galligan said.
There’s a similar piece in the Houston Chronicle.
R.C.M. 405 deals with Article 32, UCMJ, hearings.
R.C.M. 405(j)(2)(D) requires the IO to make:
A statement of any reasonable grounds for belief that the accused was not mentally responsible for the offense or was not competent to participate in the defense during the investigation[.]
R.C.M. 706(b)(1) provides the basic guidance on the what, when, where, and how of pre-referral inquiries into an accused’s mental health.