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Old 04-12-2013, 05:43 AM  
Comrade Crapski Comrade Crapski is offline
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15 years for cutting off a beard?!

The thing that sticks in my craw is the FBI made this a federal case because the accused “took scissors across state lines”. I mean c’mon, this couldn’t be handled on a local level?

I’m also concerned that this sets a bad precedent because recently the US Army (heavily infiltrated with an Obamunist 5th column) declared Evangelicals and Catholics as “extremist groups”.

Scary times we live in. This country is fast becoming East Germany.

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(AP) CINCINNATI - Attorneys for a group of Amish men and women found guilty of hate crimes for cutting the hair and beards of fellow members of their faith are arguing that the group's conviction, sentencing and imprisonment in separate facilities across the country violates their constitutional rights and amounts to cruel and unusual punishment, according to recent court filings.

Pictures: Amish members convicted in beard-cutting attacks

The filings in federal court in Akron seek the release of seven of 16 Amish convicted in September in the 2011 attacks that were meant to shame fellow Amish they believed were straying from strict religious interpretations.

Although six of the requests were denied by the trial judge, one is still pending, and the judge could at any time order any of them released as they await the outcome of their appeals, expected to be filed this summer. Defense attorneys may also appeal denials of the release requests to the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati.

The Amish group's leader, Samuel Mullet Sr., was sentenced to 15 years in prison, while the rest of the group got sentences ranging from one to seven years.

The Amish have been sent to different prisons across the country, placing an overly harsh burden on their families who - because of their religion - cannot travel by plane and have to hire drivers for car travel, the group's attorneys argue.

For instance, in order for Mullet's wife to visit him and three sons convicted in the case, she'd have to travel to Oklahoma, Louisiana and two different prisons 160 miles apart in Minnesota.

The Amish "are being treated much more harshly than the typical federal prisoner, including those with much worse criminal histories and offense conduct," Mullet's attorney, Edward Bryan, wrote in a March 29 filing. "The manner in which their sentences are being carried out by the Bureau of Prisons is cruel and unusual."

Michael Tobin, a spokesman with the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Ohio, declined to make prosecutors in the case available for comment and declined to talk about the filings except to say: "We'll respond to them in our response filed with the court."

Other arguments in the filings from the defense are far broader, largely uncharted territory in the courts and could eventually land in the U.S. Supreme Court, according to attorneys in the case and constitutional law professors contacted by The Associated Press.

Defense attorneys for the Amish are attacking the group's prosecution under the federal hate crime statute, passed in 2009. The statute stipulates that to constitute a federal violation, the crime has to involve crossing state lines or using "an instrumentality of interstate or foreign commerce."

In this case, government prosecutors successfully argued that the scissors and hair clippers were an instrumentality of interstate commerce.

That argument is an abuse of federal power and is unconstitutional, the defense attorneys argue.

Bryan pointed to last year's landmark decision by the U.S. Supreme Court over President Barack Obama's federal health care law. The court found that the individual insurance mandate at the heart of the law was not enforceable under Congress' power over interstate commerce but rather as a tax.

Bryan said that case, decided after the Amish were indicted, shows a willingness by the nation's highest court to narrow Congress' authority over interstate commerce, and could guide the 6th Circuit in its consideration of the Amish group's appeal.

Bryan and the other defense attorneys in the case also argue that the assaults didn't amount to a hate crime under the federal statute, arguing that the law wasn't meant to prosecute a given religious group's dispute among its own members.

Two constitutional law professors agree that the new filings contain interesting arguments that could eventually make it to the Supreme Court.

Vikram Amar, a constitutional law professor at the University of California-Davis, said that largely depends on how prosecutors argue that taking scissors across state lines to commit a crime amounts to a violation of the federal hate crime statute.

For instance, if the scissors were bought 20 years ago, "I could see a lot of appellate judges and Supreme Court judges say, 'That's too loose a test and gives Congress too much power."'

Noah Feldman, a professor of international law at Harvard Law School, said the defense's argument is plausible, although he "wouldn't put the odds in their favor."

The argument that Feldman finds most interesting is one that the defense isn't even making: that the prosecution of the Amish for a hate crime is an overly broad interpretation of the federal statute.

"If you accept the interpretation that this is a hate crime, then any dispute within a religious group could be called a hate crime," Feldman said. "If I think my wife should obey me and my religion teaches me so and I take a swing at her, then I've committed a hate crime," rather than domestic violence.

Before trial, the Amish all rejected plea agreements that offered leniency, with some young mothers turning down a chance to avoid prison altogether.

Prosecutors argued that the group cut the beards and hair of other members because hair carries spiritual significance, hence the hate crime. The Amish argued that they're bound by rules guided by their religion and the government should never have gotten involved in what amounted to a family or church dispute.

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-504083_1...t-for-release/
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Old 04-12-2013, 10:47 AM   #16
underEJ underEJ is offline
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Originally Posted by KC native View Post
I read about this story when it happened and this article doesn't really get into the background.

Apparently this guy was the ring leader for some extremist Amish group within a community. They were supposedly harassing the shit out of people and ended up cutting the beards of those they felt weren't Amish enough for them. Cutting their beards is supposedly a huge affront to them.
This. And they didn't just casually walk up and trim a beard or two. These were violent home invasions. Only the leader got 15 years, the rest are mostly one year and a couple of 6 and 7 year. I am not a fan of the hate crime concept, as it is seems to be punishing thought, but even without the hate aspect, these were serious offenses.
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Old 04-12-2013, 10:48 AM   #17
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The Bureau of Prisons isn't interested in giving them some extra location punishment. They don't care. If they're spreading them around it's because they realize they're a different breed of cat and they need to put them in some kind of special housing, and they might not have space for them in one spot.
They have thousands and thousands of prisoners; they don't give a shit about making an example.
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Old 04-12-2013, 10:52 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KC native View Post
I read about this story when it happened and this article doesn't really get into the background.

Apparently this guy was the ring leader for some extremist Amish group within a community. They were supposedly harassing the shit out of people and ended up cutting the beards of those they felt weren't Amish enough for them. Cutting their beards is supposedly a huge affront to them.
Quote:
Originally Posted by underEJ View Post
This. And they didn't just casually walk up and trim a beard or two. These were violent home invasions. Only the leader got 15 years, the rest are mostly one year and a couple of 6 and 7 year. I am not a fan of the hate crime concept, as it is seems to be punishing thought, but even without the hate aspect, these were serious offenses.
Thanks, guys. I don't like the idea of hate crimes either, I question the basis for federal intervention, and I don't understand the rationale for sending these guys to such widely dispersed prisons, but the sentences and the seriousness of the prosecutions make more sense now.
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Old 04-12-2013, 10:54 AM   #19
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Being charged by the Feds might be the best thing that could have happened to them. They'll be taken care of better in a Fed joint than a state one.

Only thing is, once you're in the Fed, you're in. No parole.
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Old 04-12-2013, 11:34 AM   #20
Comrade Crapski Comrade Crapski is offline
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Originally Posted by Amnorix View Post
It's a religious persecution hate crime. Dunno about 15 years, but if religious persecution hate crimes violate federal law, then that's fine.
The federal law that was violated was the weapon ie a pair of scissors crossed state lines.

That's the reason this was tried in a federal courtroom and not the local municipality.
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Old 04-12-2013, 11:37 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by underEJ View Post
This. And they didn't just casually walk up and trim a beard or two. These were violent home invasions. Only the leader got 15 years, the rest are mostly one year and a couple of 6 and 7 year. I am not a fan of the hate crime concept, as it is seems to be punishing thought, but even without the hate aspect, these were serious offenses.
I only posted one link, but almost everything i could find on this case said the same thing.

Do you have a link where I can read more details like the one I bolded? Thanks.
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Old 04-12-2013, 11:43 AM   #22
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You think people who advocate attacking Westboro protestors don't understand that that would be a crime?

Sure. You don't? I'd bet a lot of people would find it to be justifiable. You seriously oversestimate people if you disagree. And if you really believed it, there'd be no need for cop protection at many of their protests.
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Old 04-12-2013, 11:44 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by Comrade Crapski View Post
The federal law that was violated was the weapon ie a pair of scissors crossed state lines. .

How long until the Democrats unveil their "scissor control" plan?
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Old 04-12-2013, 11:47 AM   #24
Comrade Crapski Comrade Crapski is offline
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BL this could have/should have been handled on a state/municipal level. IMO the feds went above and beyond manufacturing ways to make this their jurisdiction.

And the punishment is cruel and unusual.

I don't like the precedent being set here at all.
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Old 04-12-2013, 11:57 AM   #25
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Sure. You don't? I'd bet a lot of people would find it to be justifiable. You seriously oversestimate people if you disagree.
I disagree so maybe I overestimate people. OTOH, maybe you underestimate them.

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And if you really believed it, there'd be no need for cop protection at many of their protests.
Cops wouldn't be any protection from a person who doesn't think they're breaking a law. I do lawful things in front of cops all the time without any hesitation. The presence of cops at Westboro protests is intended to deter people who might knowingly break the law if they thought they could get away with it.
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Old 04-12-2013, 12:05 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by Comrade Crapski View Post
I only posted one link, but almost everything i could find on this case said the same thing.

Do you have a link where I can read more details like the one I bolded? Thanks.
I am trying to find the one I read that had a woman's actual testimony in it against her son. Read it back during the trial. So sad, she was clearly heartbroken testifying against him, but from her POV, he had assaulted his own father with others in the night in their home, and that it was at the instruction of the leader they prosecuted. Her head had been shaved too, but she hadn't fought back.

http://www.fbi.gov/news/stories/2013...d-cutting-case
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Old 04-12-2013, 12:10 PM   #27
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I am trying to find the one I read that had a woman's actual testimony in it against her son. Read it back during the trial. So sad, she was clearly heartbroken testifying against him, but from her POV, he had assaulted his own father with others in the night in their home, and that it was at the instruction of the leader they prosecuted. Her head had been shaved too, but she hadn't fought back.

http://www.fbi.gov/news/stories/2013...d-cutting-case
Thanks. I'm certainly not of the opinion that Samuel Mullet Sr. didn't commit a felony here, I just don't see why the FBI got involved.
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Old 04-12-2013, 12:11 PM   #28
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This isn't the same article, or the direct testimony, but the woman quoted in the second half of the article is the same one in the article I've been trying to find.

"Earlier, Nancy Miller's mother, Barbara, testified about the attack.



"My husband was held down. They were cutting his beard and yelling. They were just screaming, the six boys were. It was horrifying for me to see my boys treat their dad like that," Barbara said.



The mother also testified that during the attack on her husband she cried out "don't shear me."



Barbara said the men used scissors and clippers to cut their hair, leaving them bruised and bleeding. Even her own daughter stood by and watched, she said."

http://www.newsnet5.com/dpp/news/loc...about-her-role
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Old 04-12-2013, 12:12 PM   #29
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Thanks. I'm certainly not of the opinion that Samuel Mullet Sr. didn't commit a felony here, I just don't see why the FBI got involved.
I am unclear on the federal involvement too.
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Old 04-12-2013, 12:19 PM   #30
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I The presence of cops at Westboro protests is intended to deter people who might knowingly break the law if they thought they could get away with it.
Right, which was my point: people would LIKE to harm the protestors but they don't want the cops to catch them. Others want to harm them and would feel justified by doing so, but are too lazy to act. These people feel a moral acceptance to harming them.


Then there's everyone else: who know it's wrong to harm them and don't think about doing so or justifying any type of violence in anyway.
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