Militia members indicted in plot to attack Michigan police

A federal grand jury in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan on March 29 returned a five-count indictment against nine suspected members of the "Hutaree" militia group accused of plotting to kill police officers. The group members allegedly planned to kill Michigan law enforcement officers by, among other methods, making phony 911 calls and ambushing those who responded. The members then planned to attack the funeral processions of the fallen officers.

The charges against the nine include seditious conspiracy, attempted use of weapons of mass destruction, teaching the use of explosive materials, and possessing a firearm during a crime of violence. The FBI announced that eight of the nine are in custody, and the ninth is currently at large. Special Agent in Charge Andrew Arena said, "The FBI takes such extremist groups seriously, especially those who would target innocent citizens and the law enforcement officers who protect the citizens of the United States." One of the counts, attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction, carries a possible sentence of life in prison.

From Jurist, March 29. Used with permission.

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Federal judge orders release of three Michigan militia suspects

A federal judge on May 18 ordered the release of three individuals accused of crimes committed as part of the "Christian warrior" militia called Hutaree. Judge Victoria Roberts of the US District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan ordered the release of the suspects, two men and one woman, after prosecutors withdrew their objections. Roberts originally granted bail to all nine militia suspects, but the US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit granted an emergency stay blocking their release. The appeal on the release of the other six members is still pending. The nine members have been indicted on charges of seditious conspiracy, attempted use of weapons of mass destruction, teaching the use of explosive materials, and possessing a firearm during a crime of violence in connection with a plan to kill Michigan law enforcement officers. The suspects being released will be monitored electronically and their freedom of movement will be severely restricted. (Jurist, May 18)

New charges against Michigan militia members

Federal prosecutors on June 2 filed additional charges against four members of the "Christian warrior" militia, Hutaree, alleging possession of machine guns and unregistered rifles, as well as use of firearms during a violent crime. Nine members of the militia were originally indicted in March on charges of seditious conspiracy, attempted use of weapons of mass destruction, teaching the use of explosive materials, and possessing a firearm during a crime of violence in connection with a plan to kill Michigan law enforcement officers. Four members of the militia, including one of the men named in the new indictment, were released on bail last month. Judge Victoria Roberts of the US District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan originally granted bail to all nine militia suspects, but the US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit granted an emergency stay blocking their release. A hearing is scheduled to be held next week to determine if the five remaining militia members should be released on bail. A lawyer for one of the defendants has indicated that he believes the additional charges were filed in order to influence the bail hearing. (Jurist, June 3)

Federal judge dismisses charges against US militia group

Judge Victoria Roberts of the US District Court in the Eastern District of Michigan on March 27 issued an order dismissing the case against Hutaree militia members before it was submitted to a jury. Roberts held that the government did not sufficiently prove the elements of the charges of seditious conspiracy, conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction and other weapons related charges in the case of United States v. Stone [case docket]. The government asserted that the Hutaree militia's primary aim was to fight law enforcement authorities who belonged to the "New World Order" with the goal of drawing federal law enforcement into a war. Lawyers for the Hutaree militia maintained that the anti-government statements made by militant members were not serious threats and were made only in frustration. In her order, Roberts wrote:

The Government has consistently maintained that this case is not about freedom of speech or association, but about the specific acts of violence alleged in the Indictment... However, much of the Government's evidence against Defendants at trial was in the form of speeches, primarily by Stone, Sr., who frequently made statements describing law enforcement as the enemy, discussing the killing of police officers, and the need to go to war.

The order reiterated the various charges and explained the shortcomings of the government's prosecution. (