The Army has specific guidelines on forced shaving. A team of five military police officers restrains the inmate "with the reasonable force necessary," and a medical professional is on hand in case of injuries. The shaving must be done with electric clippers and must be videotaped, according to Army rules.
Last week the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces ruled that Hasan's appeal was premature because Gross has not issued a definitive order. But the court said that if Gross issues that order, Hasan would be able to appeal first to the Army Court of Criminal Appeals. That would halt proceedings in the case before he has entered his pleas to any of the charges.
Gross is expected to rule Thursday that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993, which is aimed at preventing laws that hinder the exercise of religion, does not trump Army regulations designed to maintain order and discipline — including the ban on beards. However, if Gross rules the federal act takes precedence and doesn't order the shaving, Hasan would enter his pleas and a trial date would be set, according to Fort Hood officials.
The judge cannot accept a guilty plea for the premeditated murder charges, because the government is seeking the death penalty against Hasan. At a hearing last month, Hasan indicated he wanted to plead guilty to the attempted premeditated murder charges, according to discussions about a defense motion.
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