The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

World, nation, state

July 25, 2013

Convicted Ohio Amish leader loses bid for release

CINCINNATI — The leader of a group of 16 Amish men and women found guilty of hate crimes for cutting the hair and beards of fellow members of their faith on Wednesday lost his latest request to be released from prison pending an appeal of his conviction.

A three-judge panel of the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati rejected Samuel Mullet Sr.’s request, ruling that he hasn’t proven that he’s not a threat to his eastern Ohio Amish community and that the arguments in his appeal at this stage are unlikely to succeed.

Mullet, 67, is serving 15 years in prison stemming from the 2011 attacks, meant to shame fellow Amish accused of straying from strict religious interpretations. Fifteen others convicted in the case were sentenced to between one to seven years in prison.

“(Mullet) is the leader and exercises control over the members of his community,” wrote the judges, saying that Mullet could still pose a danger to them.

The judges also found that the legal arguments Mullet will be making in his upcoming appeal “are not likely to result in reversal, a new trial, a sentence that does not include a term of imprisonment, or a sentence less than the total time he has already served.”

Mullet’s attorney, Edward Bryan, said he expects to file Mullet’s appeal within the next couple of months and that the court’s ruling Wednesday doesn’t necessarily indicate that it will be unlikely to succeed, considering they haven’t heard all the arguments.

“I still feel confident that we’re going to prevail ultimately, if not before the 6th Circuit then before the Supreme Court of the United States if need be, because Sam Mullet hasn’t received the treatment he deserves,” Bryan said.

He said it “borders on ludicrous” that Mullet poses a danger to others.

“The government has presented a false narrative that he was this Svengali-like cult leader, and he’s not. He never was, he isn’t now and he never will be,” Bryan said.

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