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Archy Cary The ‘Hutaree Militia’ Case Starts To Unravel — On First Amendment Grounds

When the nine members of the Hutaree militia group were arrested in late March near Adrian, Michigan, the MSM ran hard with the story. Within 48 hours, the template was set: A “right-wing extremist Christian” militia group had been planning to wreak havoc by killing law enforcement officers as a way to engage a wider war against the government.

Soon the MSM had the Hutarees tried, convicted and jailed.

Hutaree militia

Throughout most of April, the story faded from the news and left behind the public assumption that the Hutarees’ diabolical plot had been thwarted by the FBI in the nick of time.

Then, at an April 27 court hearing concerning the group’s disposition as they awaited trial, the lead FBI agent in the case against the Hutarees was called to testify before U.S. District Judge Victoria A. Roberts. That’s when, according to the Detroit News, the government’s case started showing some serious cracks;

A federal judge had harsh words for prosecutors Tuesday after an FBI agent called to testify in the Hutaree militia case told the court she learned she would take the stand only shortly before the hearing began.

Special Agent Leslie Larsen, the agent in charge of the case in which nine people are accused of plotting to kill police officers and wage war against the U.S. government, did not know the answers to many of the questions she was asked and did not have her notes with her.

“I share the frustration of the defense … with all of the responses that are coming from this witness that she doesn’t know anything,” said U.S. District Judge Victoria A. Roberts.

hutaree

A few days later, the fissures in the government’s case against the Hutarees widened when, on May 3, Judge Roberts ordered the release on bond of the nine members of the Hutarees, over the objections of federal prosecutors. In her 36-page ruling, Roberts wrote:

The Government relies on the seriousness of the charges as well, to argue that Defendants must be held without bond, because they present a danger to the community. While the Government argues that the Defendants are also a flight risk, its reasons are not persuasive. Importantly, the Court’s Pretrial Services Agency concludes that the Defendants do not present such a risk. Dangerousness then, is the Court’s major concern in assessing whether Defendants should be released on bond.

While the Government contends that the crimes charged against Defendants go well beyond speech, there is no doubt that controversial, offensive and hate-filled speech is implicated. In their defense, the Defendants disagree that this case implicates anything other than speech, and, that whatever they said, did not amount to a conspiracy to commit illegal acts…

The United States is correct that it need not wait until people are killed before it arrests conspirators. But, the Defendants are also correct: their right to engage in hate-filled, venomous speech is a right that deserves First Amendment protection...

The Court reviewed all exhibits, testimony, and proffers, and finds that each Defendant produced sufficient evidence to rebut the presumption in favor of detention. The Government fails to persuade the Court, by a preponderance of the evidence, that there are no conditions that will reasonably assure the Defendants’ appearance in Court as required. The Government also fails to persuade the Court by clear and convincing evidence, that there are no conditions that will reasonably assure the safety of the community, if Defendants are released.

The release has been delayed until 5 p.m. tomorrow pending a possible government motion whether to appeal the ruling.

So, the nine members of group profiled by the Department of Justice and the MSM as representing an imminent right-wing extremist danger have been released on bond by a judge who surveyed the evidence and concluded that the government hadn’t made the case that the Hutarees represented a clear and present danger to “the safety of the community.” Instead, they appear to be most guilty of shooting off their mouths – a practice still protected, in most cases, by the First Amendment.

FirstAmendment

Here’s the question the MSM needs to ask, but won’t: Was this flamboyant raid primarily driven by political rather than law enforcement motives?

Was the arrest of the Hutaree militia Attorney General Eric Holder’s effort to manufacture an imminent right-wing extremist threat for political purposes?

Just asking.

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US takes early lumps in case against Mich. militia

By ED WHITE (AP) – 8 hours ago

DETROIT — Federal authorities touted the arrests of nine members of a Michigan militia as a pre-emptive strike against homegrown terrorists, declaring at an initial court hearing that the suspects with "dark hearts and evil intent" wanted to go to war against the government.

Five weeks later, prosecutors are scrambling to regroup after a judge questioned the strength of their evidence by ordering the so-called rebels released until trial and saying they had a right to "engage in hate-filled, venomous speech."

"The government is falling short," said David Griem, a former federal prosecutor who's not involved in the case. "The message that's been sent to the community is there are problems with this case."

During two days of hearings last week before U.S. District Judge Victoria Roberts, prosecutors tried to show how dangerous they perceived the Hutaree militia to be by playing secretly recorded conversations. Those talks, however, revealed no specific plot. Under questioning by defense attorneys, the FBI's lead agent on the case seemed unprepared.

Roberts ordered the nine released from jail under very strict conditions, including electronic tethers and curfews. They were supposed to go home Tuesday, but she froze her decision until Wednesday to give prosecutors time to consult the U.S. Justice Department about a rare appeal.

The indictment unsealed in March called Hutaree an extremist organization in southern Michigan preparing to wage war against the federal government by first mowing down police officers and bombing a subsequent funeral. Besides seditious conspiracy, the nine were charged with attempted use of weapons of mass destruction.

The militia is led by David Stone, 44, of Clayton, Mich. — "Captain Hutaree" — who was recorded saying he wanted to burn down homes of four police officers and "just start huntin'" others along the road. His attorney, William Swor, has dismissed it as "stupid, hateful talk."

The judge's task was to determine if the eight men and one woman — Stone's wife, Tina — were too dangerous to be released. Roberts found that the secret recordings of militia members by an undercover agent contained "offensive and hate-filled speech," but nothing that signaled a conspiracy to levy war against the government.

"The defendants laugh, make sounds and appear to talk over one another," Roberts said, referring to a Feb. 20 recording. "There is also a discussion of strippers."

She was not ruling on anyone's guilt or innocence. The legal threshold to keep people in jail, especially with major allegations of weapons violations, is not high, which raises questions about the broader case and why prosecutors didn't have evidence to persuade the judge.

"They weren't prepared," said John Freeman, a former federal prosecutor. "What strikes me is the appearance that the government took detention as a given based strictly on the nature of the allegations."

At last week's hearing, the FBI's lead case agent, Leslie Larsen, said she was hastily told by prosecutors that she had to testify. Defense lawyers pressed her for information about each defendant, but she said she hadn't lately looked at her reports and couldn't answer many questions.

The judge found her testimony "vague," noting the agent said militia members "may have been planning something."

A firearms agent was quickly summoned from Grand Rapids, 150 miles west, to testify about four weapons seized by investigators. But Roberts removed him from the witness stand when defense lawyers said they had no notice.

"It's fair to classify this as sandbagging," attorney Mark Satawa complained.

U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade said a detention hearing is a limited stage for evidence. She expressed confidence about her office's handling of the case.

"Trial is another forum. We'll present all our evidence," McQuade said. "It's our position that they pose a danger to the community and detention is appropriate."

Freeman, the former prosecutor, said appealing the release of the militia members to the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati is risky for the government.

"You don't go unless you really think the judge made a serious error and you're fairly certain you will prevail," he said. "You're elevating this thing to a much higher level."

He cautioned that while government lawyers may be taking some lumps, the nine defendants still face serious charges.

"It's a big leap to say somebody's released on bond and that means the government has a poor case. These are seasoned prosecutors," Freeman said. "Hate speech alone is probably not going to get the government where it wants to be."

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MICHIGAN
SOUTHERN DIVISION

http://www.freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll/misc?URL=/templates/ArticleMultiMediaPopup.pbs&dato=20100503&lopenr=100503031&Category=NEWS06&Params=Id=156964


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Added: May-5-2010 
By: jumpingforJoy
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Tags: , Archy, Cary, The, ‘Hutaree, Militia’, Case, Starts, To, Unravel, , On, First, Amendment, Grounds
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  • Everybody who read up on this case knew from the start that it was going to unravel bit-by-bit. The FBI had a plant within the group who was instrumental in guiding and pushing the group toward the conspiracy that it is accused of, and the government would have a hard time showing that the undercover FBI agent didn't incite and entrap the defendants. On top of this, there is the myriad of problems with charging someone who has, so far, done nothing except speak. The FBI is going to need some More..

    Posted May-5-2010 By 

    (12) | Report

  • Misguided, harmless haters, whatever...we need to worry and act on the real & deadly haters: islamic extremists, like that dumb bastard who tried to set off a bomb in Times Square... the Obama admin is pathetic.

    Posted May-5-2010 By 

    (8) | Report

    • Yes, the bomber who walked straight through airport security and actually boarded the plane in spite of being on a 'no fly list'.

      The FBI need do do the job they are paid for instead of infiltrating and enticing some hill-billy's to commit crimes.

      Posted May-5-2010 By 

      (5) | Report

    • Why aren't you at home protecting them G.I. Joe ? lol Oh that's right, your "protecting" them over in the Middle East. Were you either that hard up or stupid you had to join the armed forces ? Just curious.

      Posted May-5-2010 By 

      (-4) | Report

    • WOW, if that is not an anti-military slam, i have never heard one, you (in my opinion) are;
      liberal
      ignorant
      anti-American
      hater
      loud mouth
      stand for nothing good (unless its for YOU)
      chuck of crap.
      the reason i know that "hard up or stupid" are not the only reason people join the military is because you werent in it.
      could it be you are just a coward?
      you are welcom for all the Heros that gave their lives so you can spew your stupidity in public.

      ass hole

      Posted May-5-2010 By 

      (4) | Report

    • Agreed,obama is not worried about Islamic terrorists,he wants to start trouble with Americans so he can pass gun legislation and enlarge government reach.

      Posted May-5-2010 By 

      (0) | Report

    • Hey, idjit! I'm not in the military, I'm a contractor...besides, why don't you go back to youtube, it seems you can't handle this site...you need to think about what you're writing instead of trying to insult people. You remind me of people who are all talk, and no action- go back to your hole.

      Posted May-5-2010 By 

      (0) | Report

  • Wacko separatists on the one hand, incompetent government agents and prosecutors on the other...
    while jihadis slowly build their strength in this country.

    It's seriously stupid.

    Posted May-5-2010 By 

    (6) | Report

  • Good for them! Innocent until proven guilty. And the prosecution needs to get thier heads out of thier asses it seems. While i might not agree with even 1 word these 9 might have said about our law enforcement. I will fight to the death to protect thier freedom to do so. Stoopid Geshtapo got it handed to them. And this judge should get a raise.

    Posted May-5-2010 By 

    (6) | Report

  • In the 80's and 90's I met hundreds if not thousands of Militia/Patriot types at survivalist expos we had organized and invested in. A lot people came to sell guns, supplies but mostly there were lectures that people wanted to attend to. I have never met a more strait walking, honest, literate, educated in the law, righteous individuals. Americans that could walk the walk unlike you sheepish fucks here. You would'nt know HOW to assert your rights much less defend yourselves from Gov encroachmen More..

    Posted May-5-2010 By 

    (3) | Report

  • same as it ever was with any fascist left wing government...boot on the throat of its own citizens.

    Posted May-5-2010 By 

    (3) | Report

  • But it's perfectly OK for BLACK PANTHER'S to intimidate Voter's at polling station's.
    America, you have been had.
    You have been sold out be guilt ridden Lib's who hate their own race, and America and who don't deserve to live in this great country,
    A country they're trying their best to destroy.
    Save America, maroon some Libs in the middle of nowhere on voting day.
    They're too fucking dumb to be trusted to vote anyway.

    Posted May-5-2010 By 

    (3) | Report

  • The question is, does planning and practicing fictitious scenarios or attacks justify a crime?

    Posted May-5-2010 By 

    (2) | Report

    • Comment of user 'redmanti' has been deleted by author (after account deletion)!
  • The original reports said these folks had a specific plan to stage an ambush first upon a single patrolman and then upon a police funeral procession. If they did make such a plan, then they've committed conspiracy to commit murder and acts of terror and are not protected by the First Ammendment. If they were just mouthing off about how they wanted to kill cops, then there is a legal reason to keep them under surveillance, but no reason to arrest them. Are we to understand that the ambush plan wa More..

    Posted May-5-2010 By 

    (2) | Report

  • lets spend thousands of dollars building a case against these weekend warriors, paint them with a wide extremist stroke to set the stage for political federal theatrics while our border guards are being shot at by real bad guys.

    Posted May-5-2010 By 

    (1) | Report

  • Can't we call them Christian terrorists or would that be racist? (This refers to an earlier post so don't bomb me with Christian not being a race, it's called sarcasm)

    Posted May-5-2010 By 

    (1) | Report

    • They are Christian Terrorists.

      Posted May-5-2010 By 

      (-5) | Report

    • ignorant asshole!

      Posted May-5-2010 By 

      (3) | Report

    • with that statement..it seems that you support terrorism

      Posted May-5-2010 By 

      (-5) | Report

    • are your statements confirm your blatant ignorance
      of the subjet or even critical thinking.
      just another mindless troll. at ease, Weasel.

      Posted May-5-2010 By 

      (-1) | Report

    • since you're blabbering, i'm going to say this nice and simple. If the shit were to hit the fan..are you going to rely on some rednecks living in beat up trailers that spend all their money on guns and don't spend a dime on their children? Or are you going to take sides with a real American Mililtia?

      Those fucks are American Christian Terrorists! They got caught red handed.

      No one is calling them Terrorists because they are not Muslim, which is total bullshit. If they were, then you would be More..

      Posted May-5-2010 By 

      (-3) | Report

  • it's pathetic that the comments here reflect only what was spewed out about militias and their make-up in the Fuqsnews and such.
    the news chose the wackiest, most racist down south militias to portray what militias are. so wrong.
    anybody remember the Michigan militia? there were black
    members as well. more than 15 years ago.
    they mostly are well rounded down to earth survivalist who believe in the meaning of Freedom.
    its easy to go pick the nuttiest group and put them all in the same sack.

    Posted May-5-2010 By 

    (0) | Report

  • Damn that First Amendment, gets em' every time.

    Posted May-5-2010 By 

    (0) | Report

  • great post. seems like the post that gets the most comments and or debates gets the least votes. weird huh? voted

    Posted May-5-2010 By 

    (0) | Report

  • looks like a paintball/airsoft club meet

    Posted May-5-2010 By 

    (0) | Report

  • I bet there is a bad case of red ass rash amongst the prosecutors right now.

    Posted May-5-2010 By 

    (0) | Report

  • Look no further than this comments section to see why stupid shit like this is allowed to happen in a supposedly free nation.

    Posted May-6-2010 By 

    (0) | Report

  • obviously militias from the south, say...yeah there are racists there but its regional and cultural, but Californian militias, not so, just believers in Constitutional laws and rights. Quite a few lawmen and firefighters. we even have a judge who has logged, get his 800,000 miles on his touring bike, and he's still actively on the bench, a super guy, honest to a fault...
    cant say that about too many judges!

    Posted May-5-2010 By 

    (0) | Report

    • some of the most racist people ive ever met in my life were california liberals that live in gated communities near San Francisco. you have probably never even been to the south, you just parrot what your media masters have told you to.

      slurrrrp it up little lemming.

      Posted May-5-2010 By 

      (1) | Report

    • Ignoramus,are taking wild blind shots in the dark your "forte"?
      try aiming next time. it's safe.

      Posted May-5-2010 By 

      (-1) | Report

    • is that where you are from?

      Posted May-5-2010 By 

      (0) | Report

  • It's unconstitutional and downright TREASON to form a militia when your own government is screwing you ! lol

    America, land of the politically correct domestic terrorist.

    Posted May-5-2010 By 

    (-1) | Report

  • ..Isn't joining the army and getting shot at one way to secure an education ?

    Posted May-5-2010 By 

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  • ..I mean once you guys leave basic training your so brainwashed you sound like an answering machine for the pentagon during non-working hours.

    Posted May-5-2010 By 

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  • ..Somehow all right-wing republican-nutcase militias suddenly become born again liberals when the word "police" is mentioned BWHAHAHAHAH

    Posted May-5-2010 By 

    (-5) | Report

  • look like a bunch of fools. GI-Joe wanna be's. aww they are so tough...lmfao ;)

    Posted May-5-2010 By 

    (-8) | Report