The verdict in the Fort Hood shooting case is not surprising, given the fact that the case was never a whodunit. It was always a “what will he get” case. The “what” is either the ultimate punishment or life without the possibility of parole. In the military justice system, the sentencing phase of the trial begins immediately after the findings. The government and defense each is allowed to call witnesses. The court members (jury), will then vote on a sentence; if they cannot reach a unanimous decision as to the death penalty, then the accused will be sentenced to life without the possibility of parole. His case will be appealed automatically, first going to the Army Court of Criminal Appeals, then the top military court, and perhaps even to the U.S. Supreme Court.
— Cully Stimson is manager of the National Security Law Program and senior legal fellow at the Heritage Foundation.