The accused Fort Hood shooter is back in court for two pretrial hearings this week.
It's the first time since a new judge was assigned to the case last month.
Tomorrow she'll begin hearing what the lawyers have to say about the first five of 20 previous motions the defense wants her to reconsider.
They're being revisited, because the judge who originally ruled on them was removed from the case for appearing to be biased.
The defense wants another shot at removing the death penalty as punishment, and allowing Hasan to plead guilty, to name a few.
Judge Tara Osborn's decisions could affect whether Hasan lives or dies, or even gets off the hook according to military law expert Brad Glendening.
"I'm certain that's her immediate short term goal is to prevent the defense from having the ability to file appeals in the middle of trial and then, secondarily, to win appeals after the trial," Glendening said.
On her first day in court, COL Osborn side-stepped one of those potential appeals by allowing Hasan to keep his controversial beard, which he says is a sincere religious expression although it violates Army dress standards.
On December 18, she told him, "I'm not going to hold it against you, but some people on the panel may have an adverse opinion of you appearing in a beard."
Time will tell whether that first major decision means she's inclined to give the defense much of what they want, in order to ensure the fairness of the trial isn't questioned again.
"What it does appear is that she's not going to do anything to obstruct the trial process. In other words, force the defense to file motions to appellate courts, because that's what really delays things," said Glendening.
This week's hearings will be Wednesday and Thursday at 10 a.m.
KCEN HD will have a crew and a live blog from Fort Hood for the entire hearing.
That will be on our home page.
Reporter: Sophia Stamas email@example.com
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