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Hutaree Militia Members May Be Released. And It’s Not A Bad Thing

Hutaree Militia Members May Be Released.  And It’s Not A Bad Thing

Federal prosecutors have until 5 p.m. today to confirm whether or not they are appealing an order that granted bond to the nine Hutaree militia defendants.  The appeal would force the government to detail the reasons why the members should remain behind bars pending the government’s appeal of the release of the defendants to home detention with electronic monitoring and other means of control.

On Monday U.S. District Judge Victoria A. Roberts had ordered the release of the defendants after two days of hearings.  The defendants are charged with seditious conspiracy and attempted use of weapons of mass destruction and plotting to kill police officers as a way of sparking a general uprising against the U.S. government.  In ordering the release of the defendants Judge Roberts expressed serious doubt about the weight of the government’s evidence against the defendants, that seemed to echo some of the criticism of the case to date.  That criticism has been, essentially, that the defendants lacked the sophistication, skills, and means necessary to carry out the acts they’ve been charged with.  If the defendants are successful they could be fully released pending trial as early as Thursday.

Of course, that raises the question of just when should the government act against these kinds of tips.  We see the same questioning underway in the arrest and interrogation of New York Times Square bombing suspect Faisal Shahzad right now.  When is too soon and when is too late?

I’d argue it’s a red herring question.  We have the answer, and least in a hind-sight kind of way in the Constitution.  The government needs probable cause, or in some cases, the lower standard of reasonable suspicion.  Volumes of case law detail acts and suspicions that rise to these standards, and government action gets appropriately scrutinized in a court of law.  Which, in both the Times Square case and this one, is underway and underscores the need to respect our constitutional protections, not, as Senators McCain and Lieberman have suggested, abandon them.

In the Hutaree militia case this kind of procedural move is nothing to be celebrated or alarmed by.  It’s standard review of habeas corpus– can the government ultimately justify the denial of the individual liberty rights of its citizens.  We want the government to be forced to meet this standard in all criminal cases.  When we create that kind of accountability we demonstrate the very best of our democracy.

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photo courtesy of mrbill via Flickr

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28 comments

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3:54PM PDT on Aug 23, 2012

Thank you.

3:54PM PDT on Aug 23, 2012

Thank you.

3:53PM PDT on Aug 23, 2012

Thank you.

3:53PM PDT on Aug 23, 2012

Thank you.

3:50PM PDT on Mar 31, 2012

Oh by the way you were just drunk and did not know what you were saying........................

So sorry........

3:49PM PDT on Mar 31, 2012

Locking people up just for THOUGHTS or terrorism what ever the government might condone as a plausible threat. And then keep these people in jail until the case can fit the crime no mater how long it takes to manufacture the evidence required to substantiate the claims.

Lets see ill call and have you arrested for bomb making and until the government can build its case and make its evidence you get locked up in a cell. How would you like that?

4:00PM PDT on May 31, 2010

thank-you

5:08AM PDT on May 12, 2010

Interesting, thanks!

11:38PM PDT on May 10, 2010

I do not know the in's and out's of the case, but I strongly suggest that sophistication should not be brought in as a defence!
We have the same thing in S.Africa. If you are a dumb white , you will be accused of "high treason".
A dumb black will only be accused of subversiveness!
It is all in the eye of the beholder.
Of course, the men accused could be completely innocent or completely guilty.
I would therefore not say that "it is a good thing to set them free".
Neither should the person writing the article!

7:11PM PDT on May 7, 2010

When I heard this I had Immediate Thoughts; As To Possible Agent Provocatuers Involvment...
Interestingly The FBI And Police Have Used Funerals Many Times to Observe &/or Corral More Suuspects Than They Could Catch Without Violating That Sacred Somber event...

So Whether it Came From the "Informaent/Provocatuers Mouth or From Members Remembering Past Gov Ops;
So as Despicable as They Want to Make the "Hutaree" Sound; Our Gov Has Used This Same Ploy of Attacking a group at a Funeral Many times Prior To Any Militia Group Thinking of it...

And The "Humour Defense" is a Valid one;
Drunken Redneck "AntiGov" Humour Being an even Better one...

The Question Is did They have ANY Evidence of them Continueing the Disscussion at a SOBER Later Date (Without the "Snitch/Provocatuer" Bringing it up?)...

Without That Evidence of Intent and follow Thru of Non Drunken Preparation or Actual Planning;
They Lack Intent for Even a True Charge of Conspiracy...

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