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The trial of Army psychiatrist Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, the soldier charged with 13 counts of premeditated murder and 32 counts of attempted murder in the Fort Hood shootings, will put a spotlight on the difference between the military and civilian criminal justice systems. Specifically, it will highlight the important distinctions between a military court-martial panel (as military juries are called) and a federal or state jury. Hasan’s most likely will be referred by the convening authority (commander) as a capital case, making it an exceptional situation within the unique rules of the Uniformed Code of Military Justice (UCMJ).

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