Civil Liberties

Hutaree Defendants Released on Bond

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A big development in the Hutaree case:

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 decision this morning. "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.

Needless to say, this has substantial implications for how the trial itself may play out.