Amish leader Mullet appeal for release denied by court

3:00 PM, Jul 24, 2013   |    comments
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CINCINNATI -- The U.S. Court of Appeals has again denied release for the convicted ringleader of the Amish cult Samuel Mullet Sr.

The court said the "exceptional circumstances" that Mullet cited in his appeal were "not exceptional."

Mullet and several other members of his group in Bergholz were convicted in five 2011 attacks against fellow Amish in apparent retaliation against those who defied Mullet's authoritarian style.

Mullet, 67, was sentenced to 15 years in prison February 8, while the others convicted of carrying out the beard-and-hair cuttings received sentences ranging from one to seven years in prison.

Thirteen of the sixteen defendants in the case have appealed their convictions.

Related story: Samuel Mullet Sr: 'I am being blamed for being a cult leader'

In its ruling, the appeals court wrote "...Upon review, Mullet's arguments are unexceptional...."

"...his claims that the federal courts did not have jurisdiction...yet this was a Hate Crimes Act...where there is jurisdiction..."

"Second, Mullet argues for a new jury instruction stating that if he were only partially motivated by prejudice, but still would have committed the act regardless of that prejudice, he cannot be found guilty. He contends that the acts in question were merely domestic-violence incidents with no religious undertones and that the prosecution failed to prove religious animus as a result. Such an argument is meritless."

"The victims in this situation had their hair and beards cut because of their unwillingness to abide by Mullet's commands as Bishop of the Bergholz Amish community."

"Third, Mullet argues that the definition of kidnaping used at trial was erroneous because "Congress [never intended to] subject someone who failed to stop others from cutting beards and hair to the same punishment as someone who heartlessly takes human life."

"Assuming...that Mullet is correct, Mullet has failed to present concrete evidence that a new sentence he would receive after a trial with his proposed instruction would be less than the total of the time already served plus the expected duration of the appeal process. Even if Mullet received a jury instruction with a more lenient kidnaping definition, he could still receive a maximum sentence of ten years of imprisonment..."

"...Mullet does not meet the burden that he will not pose a danger to the community. Whether or not Mullet is likely to flee, he has not proven by clear and convincing evidence that he will not be a danger to his community upon returning. He is the leader and exercises control over the members of his community, as evidenced by the actions of the fifteen other co-defendants in this hair- and beard-cutting crime."

"....his motion for release on bail pending appeal is DENIED..."

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