Saturday, February 9, 2013
Amish Sentencing Complete
Trip Gabriel reports in today's NYT
"The leader of a dissident Amish sect was sentenced on Friday to 15 years in prison for a series of bizarre beard- and hair-cutting attacks on other Ohio Amish that drew national attention.
Samuel Mullet Sr., 67, the leader, was sentenced in Federal District Court in Cleveland for coordinating assaults that prosecutors argued were motivated by religious intolerance. Fifteen of his followers, including six women, were given lesser sentences, ranging from one year and one day to seven years.
The breakaway Amish were convicted last year of multiple counts of conspiracy and hate crimes, which carry harsher punishment than simple assault.
Prosecutors had asked for a life sentence for Mr. Mullet. Defense lawyers claimed the government was blowing out of proportion personal vendettas that Mr. Mullet harbored against former followers and other critics, and thus did not deserve a long sentence.
But in passing sentence Judge Dan Aaron Polster told Mr. Mullet and his co-defendants that they were being punished for depriving victims of a constitutional right, religious freedom, whose fruits they enjoyed themselves as Amish through exemptions from jury service and other laws.
“Each of you has received the benefits of that First Amendment,” Judge Polster said."