A federal judge in Detroit today ordered the release of nine members of a Lenawee County Christian militia group freed on bond over the objections of federal prosecutors.
“The United States is correct that it need not wait until people are killed before it arrests conspirators,” U.S. District Judge Victoria Roberts said in a 36-page decision. “But, the Defendants are also correct: their right to engage in hate-filled, venomous speech, is a right that deserves First Amendment protection.”
She said federal prosecutors failed to persuade her that the defendants must be jailed until trial.
It is unclear whether the U.S. Attorney’s Office will appeal the decision.
"We will be reviewing and weighing all of our options," said spokeswoman Susan Plochinski of the U.S. Attorney's Office.
Roberts said the defendants could be freed under house arrest on electronic tethers. They must surrender their concealed weapons permits, cannot apply for a license to purchase or carry guns and cannot drink alcohol or take drugs.
She said they must continue to work and report to pretrial services on a weekly basis.
Robert said the defendants also must provide a list of names, addresses, and phone numbers for all Hutaree members and members of any other militia groups they associated with. FULL STORY