Court ousts judge, shaving order in Fort Hood case

8:36 AM, Dec 4, 2012   |    comments
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By Angela K. Brown, Associated Press

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) -- The military judge who ordered the Fort Hood shooting suspect's beard to be forcibly shaved has been thrown off the case, upending the trial of the Army officer charged with the 2009 rampage that killed 13 people.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces ruled Monday that Col. Gregory Gross did not appear impartial while presiding over the case of Maj. Nidal Hasan. Hasan faces the death penalty if convicted in the Texas Army post attack that also injured more than two dozen people.

The court didn't rule on whether Gross' shaving order violated Hasan's religious rights.

Hasan says his beard is a requirement of his Muslim faith, but facial hair violates Army rules.

The court says the command, not the judge, is responsible for enforcing grooming standards.

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