The trial's start has been delayed over and over, often due to requests from Hasan. Any of the hundreds of decisions large or small could be fair game on appeal. The entire record will be scrutinized by military appeals courts that have overturned most of the death sentences they've considered.
"A good prosecutor, in military parlance, would be foolish to fight only the close battle," Corn said. "He's got to fight the close battle and the future battle. And the future battle is the appellate record."
The last man executed in the military system was Pvt. John Bennett, hanged in 1961 for raping an 11-year-old girl. Five men are on the military death row at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., but none are close to being executed.