Mullet jailed for cutting hair

Amish sect leader Samuel Mullet was sentenced to 15 years imprisonment for ordering attacks on other Amish people in which their hair and beards were forcibly cut off. [BBC]


    1. “I do my best work when you’re oblivious!” Also, Naboo at the end… even just sitting there reading a paper, he’s awesome… Man, I love that show.

  1. What, 3 hours old and nobody has jumped in on this story that’s just *begging* for crappy hairstyle jokes?   

  2. Certainly these were bad guys and deserved some prison time, probably about what they got from the judge for beard-snipping (1-7 years each, with 15 years for the ringleader). But the prosecutors were seeking life.  A life sentence in federal prison.  For beard-cutting!

    Clearly, the feds have learned nothing about overreach from the Aaron Swartz debacle.  Appalling. 

    (On a less serious note, with an established crew of 15 Amish going to a federal prison, we’re in for some entertaining future episodes of MSNBC’s Lockup: Raw.)

    1. NYT says: “Followers of Mr. Mullet broke into homes, restrained men and women and forcibly sheared their victims,…Testimony also detailed how Mr. Mullet pressured married female followers to have sex with him, including a daughter-in-law. Moreover, the prosecutor argued and a jury agreed that the attacks involved kidnapping under federal definitions, allowing for a sentence up to life in prison.”

      Thats more than “beard-snipping”.

      1. I’m not defending Mullet –the 15-year sentence imposed by the judge is a tough but appropriate one –I’m condemning federal prosecutors’ tactics, the same ones which contributed to Aaron Swartz killing himself.  

        When’s the last time someone received a life sentence in federal court for encouraging alleged followers to kidnap someone?  There was no reasonable basis to believe such a sentence would be imposed, but the prosecutors pushed for it anyway.  Puffery is one thing in advertising or sports boasting or whatever.  But it shouldn’t be part of how the Department of Justice conducts business.  There was a big hue & cry over this after Swartz’s suicide, about how federal prosecutors should refrain from the unethical practice of overreach.  Apparently the ones in Cleveland didn’t get the memo.

        1. When’s the last time someone received a life sentence in federal court for encouraging alleged followers to kidnap someone?

          You know who else gave orders for other people to commit crimes?

      2. Not to defend Mullet, but I generally agree with John. Overcharging is rampant. And though it’s more than “beard snipping” I think calling some of these actions kidnapping (at least as I understand them) is a bit of a stretch. 

        When we think of kidnapping we think of prolonged forced imprisonment, maybe of some kind of ransom, maybe even torture. In other words, real Lindbergh baby/Jaycee Dugard/Elizabeth Smart kinda stuff. But a lot of times that people are charged with kidnapping under Federal law the facts don’t even approach that level – it’s often the charge thrown at folks when they’ve forcibly restrained someone, even briefly.

        Prosecutors routinely over charge defendants (they would call it charging to fullest extent of the law) in order to threaten people in to a plea bargain. They charge not what they should according to justice or what they can actually prove in a court of law, but the maximum that they are allowed to charge. And that’s not justice.

        1.  “When we think of kidnapping”, we are often laypersons who don’t know much about what the actual law is, only what we see on TV.

          I also don’t know much about what the actual law is, not being a lawyer, but when you’re talking about whether something fits a term of art (kidnapping is a legal term of art) you don’t ask laypeople.

          Over-charging is a separate question, but I’m quite sure “kidnapping” doesn’t require torture or ransom. Those are separate charges: assault, assault causing bodily harm, extortion, and probably a bunch others.

          Because kidnapping someone, torturing them, and calling a ransom for their release is worse and more complex than just grabbing someone and hauling them off to lecture them about their sins, beg them to take you back, or force them to look at your vacation photos. Whatever.

          There’s a huge gulf between those two. The first is actually somewhat rare. The second is more common – usually in domestic disputes. Literal kid-napping is of course the most common, by one parent out of an estranged couple – and there there’s almost never any violence at all.

          1. Kidnapping is the removal against their will and false imprisonment of a person. Nothing more.

            Whether the victims were simply falsely imprisoned or kidnapped is a question for lawyers.

            It doesn’t seem that there was gross over-charging in this case.

            You don’t need to be a lawyer to work that much out.

          2. That’s where you’re wrong. Removal isn’t a part of the crime; all that is required is simple “confinement” or even restraint. Prosecutors routinely use the charge in cases where a person is obstructed from leaving, even briefly. It’s a very broad statute that is easily abused.

      3. “Mr. Mullet pressured married female followers to have sex with him”

        As in, raped multiple women.  That’s multiple Class X felonies right there.

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