May 29, 2013

Define "Speedy"

The sixth amendment to our Constitution guarantees the right to a speedy trial.  Granted, the clause was written with the emphasis being to get the wheels of justice turning and prevent people from being jailed for long periods without formal charges or indictments.  There are prescribed time periods in which things are supposed to happen, with exclusions for pretrial motions and hearings, and other legal wrangling that occurs before an actual trial.

The Uniform Code of Military Justice has stronger language in regard to speedy trial, with language that dictates that "immediate steps shall be taken" to inform the accused of the charges and to either bring the accused to trial or dismiss the charges.

So why in the hell, three years and six months after the terror attack on Fort Hood, has Nadal Hasan not been convicted yet?

Adding insult to collective injury, the American taxpayer has been footing the bill, not only for his confinement, not only for the untold amount of medical care he has received, but also for the $278,000 of pay Hasan has received while jailed.
The Uniform Code of Military Justice requires that servicemembers accused of crimes continue to receive their pay until convicted, Army officials said.
“He’s an active duty major in the United States Army and he’s being paid as such,” said Chris Haug, a Fort Hood spokesman. “He’s innocent until proven guilty.”
Even if convicted, the military court will not require him to forfeit pay received after the attack, Army officials at the Pentagon said.
Yes, you read that right, the military continues to pay accused members until their conviction.  And that is money that no one is getting back.  I am not sure why there isn't at least an "inactive/confined" duty status that can be conferred upon jailed service members, with provisions for, at least, decreased pay, as they aren't serving our country in any way.  Do other government jobs continue to pay people who are sitting in jail?

I love my country.  I appreciate, usually, our justice system (just watch Midnight Express or read this recent story for a reminder of how it could be).  I even understand the premise of innocent until proven guilty.  Except that there is really no question of guilt in this case.  There are, what, a hundred eye witnesses? His own family has acknowledged his guilt.  And Hasan himself, in September of last year, tried to plead GUILTY, twice.  (UCMJ rules prohibit a guilty plea in a death penalty case).  

There has to be a better way to do this.

1 comment:

CenTexTim said...

Yeah, there's a better way. Dress the SOB up in Crip colors and turn him loose in a Bloods neighborhood up in Chicago. He'll be perfectly safe.

After all, Chicago is a gun free city...